The ‘Nuova’ 500, launched in 1957 to replace the popular ‘Topolino’ from FIAT, represented a major shift from the pre-war design of its predecessor. This new model featured modern elements like a unified construction, a foldable fabric roof, and independent suspension for all wheels, with the engine placed at the back. Running on a 479cc air-cooled twin engine with overhead valves and a four-speed gearbox, the initial ‘Economica’ version received some backlash for its simplicity.
In response to feedback, FIAT quickly unveiled an upgraded version of the ‘Nuova’ 500 in late 1957 at the Turin Show. This improved model addressed concerns by introducing features like roll-down windows, a more comfortable rear seat, switches on the steering column, and stylish hubcaps. The updated version was a hit for FIAT, ensuring the ongoing popularity of the 500, which remains popular to this day. Notably, the car was voted as the ‘Sexiest Car’ by Top Gear magazine readers, highlighting its enduring appeal.