Arizona Biltmore
18 January 2013
Lot 184

1958 Fiat 500 Jolly by Carrozzeria Ghia


$74,250 USD | Sold

United States | Phoenix, Arizona



Engine No.

16.5 bhp, 479 cc overhead-valve twin-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, front and rear A-arm suspension with coil springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 72.4 in.

• Iconic beach car of 1960s high society

• Well-restored low-mileage example

As 1960s jet-setters partied down at sandy beaches all over the world, they were most often seen not in their Ferraris or Maseratis but behind the wheel of a Fiat Jolly. Based upon the reliable mechanicals of the Italian “people’s car,” the 500 Jolly featured dune buggy-like bodywork by Ghia, of Turin, with open sides, a simple surrey top, and wicker seats that would have looked at home at an English garden party. It was often finished in bright, shiny colors, all the better to match with one’s swimsuit or yacht club burgee. Jollies were all the rage on the streets of resort towns, and true members of the aristocracy carried one upon the deck of the yacht as a tender.

The Tennessee doctor who purchased this Jolly from the Fiat dealer in Memphis had other ideas: he used it as a golf cart. With about four times the power of an actual golf cart, it must have been quite a picture tearing across the green. The Jolly was later acquired by its second owner, a professional restorer of microcars from whose personal collection it is offered here today. He restored every nut and bolt of the car to authentic original condition, earning the Palmetto Award at the Hilton Head Concours d’Elegance in 2008. This sprightly little Fiat continues to be the ideal vehicle for one’s beach house or boat, or just for zipping around town on sunny days in a—dare we say it—jolly fashion, and it is arguably the cutest automobile money can buy.