Ed Higginbotham
Ed Higginbotham UberDork
1/21/16 1:15 p.m.

[Editor's Note: This article was first published in our November 2015 issue. Some information may be different.]

In postwar Italy, the Fiat 500 was the answer to a call for cheap utilitarian transportation. They weren’t very quick, but they offered valuable mobility and practicality…

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Jordan Rimpela
Jordan Rimpela Digital Editor
9/20/19 10:39 a.m.

I really want to drive an original 500, now, especially after driving a new 500 Abarth recently. 

Zoldier New Reader
9/24/19 1:07 p.m.

Love driving our 500 around town (in the Sping and Fall, too hot otherwise). She's like a part of the family. :) Best souvenier I bought while living overseas. She stalled out on me last Spring and haven't driven her since. :(  Thanks for the tips. 

californiamilleghia HalfDork
9/24/19 1:12 p.m.

Anyone know what needs to be changed when you put a later 1971  12 volt motor into an early 500 ?

on a VW I know the flywheel teeth are not the same , but no idea on my Fiat.

My Fiat is still 6 volt  but the motor was taken apart 25 years ago , and pieces went missing :(

Jordan Rimpela
Jordan Rimpela Digital Editor
9/24/19 2:00 p.m.

Maybe give Carl a jingle? He seems like he knows his stuff. 

Eclectic Motorworks
(616) 355-2850

bosswrench New Reader
4/9/23 2:36 p.m.

I've driven FIAT 500s in Italy but I'm a little more familiar with the SEAT- the Spanish version made  under license and used as the cheapest rental car outsde the Navy bases in Spain. We called them "beer cans" because they were tinny and tiny. I once rode in a SEAT for 200 miles with my buddy and two nurses in the back. Could hardly believe the poor thing survived 4 people and flat-to-the-floor driving the whole way! Good memories- thanks.

Fiat New Reader
9/23/23 10:56 p.m.

Re: California...

I would not try to complete an engine rebuild someone else started 25 yrs ago.

The most common upgrade is the 126 drivetrain swap. You will have to find an older European mechanic who has the time to tinker.  I remember having to install 500 axleshafts in 126 transmission (126 is a bit wider). This requires some skill. New axle boots are needed. They don't exactly seal  anything,  just slow down the leak.  The trick is to keep the fluid level just under the flange and check / top up from time to time.

It is slow and fun to drive. Master the the original box and your friends will be impressed. Look up what "zwischengas" mean first.

 Old Mechanic

YELLOWRED1969 New Reader
1/12/24 8:49 p.m.

YELLOWRED1969 New Reader
1/12/24 8:53 p.m.

Hi. I have a 1969 FIAT 595 Abarth, shell is 1969, motor and transmission only have 300km (came from Italy) on it. Looking for someone who has experience with this car. She always took a while to start up but now she is not getting there anymore. I changed the battery, blew out the fuel line, cleaned the fuel filter, new spark plugs, still no luck. Any ideas would be very appreciated! If you happen to be in Central Florida, you are welcome to stop by!

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