1952 Fiat 500 C Topolino Transformable
Amelia Island - A Gentleman's Collection: The Pride & Passion of Orin Smith
- 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.