Open Roads, June | Lot 162
1959 Fiat 500 Jolly by Ghia
$80,300 USD | Sold
| Stuart, Florida
23 - 30 June 2021
- An authentic and appealing U.S.-market Jolly with body by Ghia
- Red over wicker interior; silver wheels with chrome hubcaps
- Showing less than 8,500 miles at time of cataloguing
- Accompanied by service invoices documenting meticulous upkeep
The Jolly was the brainchild of Fiat chairman Gianni Agnelli, who desired a small car that could be carried aboard his 82-foot ketch, Agneta, and be easily lowered over the side for local transportation at various Mediterranean ports of call. Agnelli’s yacht tender, an open-air 500 with wicker seats, cut-out doors, and a fringed surrey top, proved so popular that it was put into limited production by Italian coachbuilder Ghia. Through the Jet Age, it was the vehicle of choice for the well-heeled at the world’s most fashionable resorts. It retained the Fiat 500’s hard-working city-car mechanicals—a 479-cubic-centimeter two-cylinder engine mated to a four-speed manual transmission—but its whimsical bodywork (and name)—gave it undeniable charm.
While any Jolly is special, U.S.-spec versions—denoted by their larger “frog eye” headlights—such as the example offered here, are even more so, because they were produced in limited numbers. This Jolly is said to have been purchased by its first owner directly from Ghia in May 1959 and accrued only 7,000 miles while in use around a private estate and golf course in New Canaan, Connecticut. Driven sparingly under current ownership, it has benefitted from continual cosmetic and mechanical refurbishment at Palm Beach Garage of West Palm Beach, Florida and is accompanied by service invoices dating back to 2016. In preparation for the sale, work done by Bishop's Restorations in Stuart, Florida, included refinishing the car’s brightwork and replacing certain small parts, such as emblems, turn signals, and windshield wiper arms.