1972 Fiat 500 Furgoncino: Ex-TV & Movie Star

Fiat 500s are cute enough, especially this generation, but I had never seen a “Furgoncino” (little van?) before. This one even comes with an interesting history, and as they were never officially imported to the USA is pretty darn rare over here. It’s located in Tarzana, California and is listed for sale here on eBay, where early bidding has pushed the price over $4,300 but not far enough to get to the reserve.

The seller used this van for their business of providing period vehicles for film and television productions. Last year it was in an advertisement and was vinyl wrapped for the role. Unfortunately, upon removal of the wrap some of the original paint came with it, and the production company had to pay for a new paint job. The owner took the opportunity to remove all the trim and rubber first and get a nice job, and then replaced the weatherstripping with new. The result is absolutely charming!

It’s also quite useful, as this shot into the rear shows. That’s actually above the engine, and the front part of the mat hides a “secret compartment”.

Here’s the “secret compartment”, right behind the seats. Contraband, or just the best loaves from the bakery? I imagine it would be quite warm there because of the engine location right behind it.

And here’s the engine. You might wonder if part of it is missing–it’s not. This is an inline two cylinder of 499 cc (less than most larger lawn tractors) and producing–wait for it–17 to 22 horsepower! Of course, with a weight of just over 1,100 pounds, the little van doesn’t need a lot to get it moving. This is actually a different engine orientation than the more common 500; the wagons and vans had the engines oriented horizontally to maximize the load space. The van only has about 44,500 miles since new, so the engine should have some life in it yet.

The seller also used this opportunity to have the interior redone; it’s really quite nice, and the reverse opening doors offer great access. I think it’s adorable; what do you think? A parts van for a Ferrari, Maserati or Lamborghini shop?

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Comments

  1. Alex B

    Sometimes I wish I was smaller, I’ll never be able to fit in to this or something like a Nissan Figaro. Cool car though, love the suicide doors on this little Fiat. 🙂

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  2. Howard A Member

    Close, Jamie, but I don’t do Italian cars.( especially horribly underpowered 2 cylinder ones, regardless of the GVW) Now, if this was a Morris Traveller, I’d be on my way. Word of caution, vehicles “spruced up” for TV and movies, may or may not be mechanically ok, they only need to look nice for the shoot.

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  3. geomechs

    Cute as a bug’s ear! Wouldn’t be very practical out west because you wouldn’t have enough power to make headway into the wind. It would be a great novelty and probably a lot of fun to chase around in though. Sure would be a lot better than you could get from ‘Honest Angelo’s’ used car lot where ‘we’ll gladly sell you a pizza sheet with every deal.’

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  4. Glen

    From what I found (quick search), Furgoncino means van or minivan.

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    • Robert Sierra

      I think this would go good with the 1970 Fiat 500L that I have restored. I’ll keep watching this one. 🙂

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      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

        Robert, be sure and let us know if you pick it up!

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      • Dave at OldSchool Restorations Dave at OldSchool Restorations Member

        Would make a great addition, Robert..

        We restored this red ’65 a few years back, and used it for chasing parts, then sold it to a fellow in Australia for 9500. and shipped it to Sydney.

        ” Chasing ” is probably misused..we only did 50mph on the divided 4 lane our shops are on, and it took over a minute to get up to that speed. It’s SUPPOSEDLY did 65, but that had to be downhill with a tailwind

        The drivers cockpit is quite large, It’s a city delivery vehicle, and NOT quick… but it parks ANYWHERE.

        Originally these ( Fiat 500) vans were by Autobianchi and were called Bianchina Furgoncino ……….I guess this green one is a later one by Fiat.

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  5. Alex

    Pretty rare here in Italy, probably the only car with suicide doors built until 1977. For all the other italian cars, suicide doors where stopped from 1965. Mad people….

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  6. Rich G

    Very cool. Following on eBay to see if / what it sells at.

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  7. Nevis Beeman

    As a lad in the early 1960s I recall a Ministers wife using her Autobianchi version of this van to transport her antiques in connection with her antique shop.This in the Highlands of Scotland, at a time when non British vehicles of any make were abit of a novelty….her wee van was definitly a novelty !

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  8. Bruce Best

    I have never seen one of these before, just the regular Fiat 500’s. I have always told myself if I ever won the lottery this is the first totally foolish purchase I would make. If I am not mistaken many of them had pull starters much like a lawn mower. LOL LOL LOL

    Can you think of a better grocery getter if you lived in a small town or in the right neighborhood of a big one? Just never let your high school children drive it for you might find it placed between two trees with the bumpers almost touching. I am admitting nothing but I graduated in 1971 from high school and that happened a couple of times to a new and very good looking English teacher.

    If that was the only thing I did I suspect that many would have had happier lives. Do you know if you put a string of fish up a flag pole nobody will find where the smell is coming from until fish parts start to fall. And if you know where to get mustard seed you can spell some amazing things in the football field that is not easy to see until the fall. Ahhhhhhh the joys of a miss-spent youth.

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  9. Bruce Best

    Just so everybody knows I AM MUCH BETTER NOW :-)))))))

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  10. Mvm(NL)

    As far as I know, there were all kinds of body work builders based on the Fiat 500 base. The stationmodel was special because of the motor wich was extra special because it had to fit under the cargo floor so the cylinders were rotaded 90.
    Besides the fact the open (with windows) version was normaly called Giardiniera (gardner), the more transport/closed one was this Furgoncino.
    So there were Fiat ones, Autobianchi and even a Steyr-Puch one, wich had a 700 cc engine and a snow mobile sister (Haflinger?)

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  11. Urquiola

    $5000 for a Fiat 500 furgoncino sounds as a good price, if you manage to advertise it in Europe, it can take a while to find a buyer, but price paid perhaps could be higher.

    The issue may be another: I ignore about the exact US situation, but I purchased a SAE book entitled: ‘Vehicle compatibility in Automobile crashes’

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  12. KevinW

    Man, I like this little thing, even the color. Perfect for those short, 12 pack trips to the store!

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  13. dik s

    One of my first cars was the 500 Gardiniera. really a lightweight.
    We had a baby and the car was just large enough to carry my wife, me and the little girl in the pram behind us.
    Once the battery was flat and I could push it alone. Put it in 3e gear, push it and jump in the car. But anther time that I did it, one of the driveshafts broke.
    I took it out, welded it, some hammerwork to straighten it and put it back. Problem solved. Really easy cars to maintain.

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  14. Urquiola

    The Steyr-Puch Fiat 500 had a slightly larger displacement air cooled flat twin engine, same arrangement as in Citroën Series A (2CV, Dyane, Mehari, Ami)

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  15. Paul

    I see where it looks like the roof was riveted on above the windshield. So was this an original Fiat factory van or was it a conversion from another company? Seems wierd to have the roof like that.

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    • Mvm(NL)

      Fiat fact def, pure for commercial use. The one I saw in the Netherlands was one for a pharmacist

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    • boxdin

      Looks like a few ribs stamped in the roof metal.

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  16. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    Reserve now met. Bidding at $12,000 w/2 days to go.

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