Amelia Island

10-11 March 2017

A Gentleman's Collection: The Pride & Passion of Orin Smith

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Lot 161

1952 Fiat 500 C Topolino Transformable

  • Chassis no. 500C 477290

Sold for $46,200


16 hp, 34.9 cu. in. OHV inline four-cylinder engine with a single Weber Tipo 22 DRS carburetor, four-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with a transverse leaf spring and wishbones, live rear axle with radius rods and quarter-elliptical springs, and hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 78.7 in.

  • An exceptionally charming “Little Mouse”
  • High-quality, thorough, and detailed restoration
  • Wonderful example for any collection of historic Italian automobiles
  • Mille Miglia eligible


Produced between 1936 and 1955, the innovative Fiat 500 has frequently been called the most popular, stylish, and best-loved small car of its time. Its adorably tiny four-cylinder engine was mounted “backwards,” with the radiator aft, and by 1952 was capable of producing 16 horsepower, delivered through a modern four-speed transmission. A single carburetor fed fuel to the engine from a 6.1-gallon gasoline tank. The top speed was 59 mph, aided by a 4.875:1 rear axle and, perhaps, a sympathetically downward-sloping stretch of road. This year, a 500 C actually finished 1st in the enthusiastically crowded Turismo Nazionale 750 class in the Mille Miglia. It is hard to imagine this little creature racing alongside Ferraris and Alfa Romeos through Italian streets . . . but such a thing happened.

The example offered here is one of Stephanie Smith’s contributions to the collection, and, as with many of her personal cars, has a wonderful distinctive charm all its own. Equipped with the sliding black cloth “transformable” roof, it reportedly underwent a comprehensive professional restoration in previous ownership, completed in 2010, with all of the body panels being removed, stripped, repaired, and refinished in the original color scheme. The door and panel fit is excellent. Further, the chassis and every element of the running gear were disassembled, inspected, restored, and refinished, as well, and even the window glass is attractive. Carello headlamps are flanked by charming ivory-hued running lights on the fenders.

The interior utilizes matching original-style Fiat seat fabric and other materials. Two large, round dials dominate the minimally painted metal dashboard. The tachometer is on the driver’s side, along with the full complement of fuel, oil, and temperature indicators, which were inset into the face of the gauge, while the speedometer is set in front of the single passenger. The large two-spoke steering wheel is free of cracks.

Well-detailed and highly attractive, this is one of the nicest examples of the iconic Topolino that RM Sotheby’s has had the pleasure of offering – as well as a compelling example of mid-20th Century design, innovation, and enthusiasm.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more