1-of-3: 1975 Baldi Frog

If you are the sort of person who finds themselves overwhelmed by the sheer enormous dimensions of the Fiat 500, well, have I got a car that will help you with that “little” problem. This is the Baldi Frog, and with only 300 examples being built between 1973 and 1975, it is a relatively rare car. This nicely restored example is located in Oceanside, New York, and is listed for sale here on eBay. Small cars don’t necessarily mean small prices, with a BIN price set at $14,000. There is an option to make an offer, so that might be worth investigating.

Honestly, this is just a cool little car. Hiding under that fiberglass body is a shortened Fiat 500 platform. With a total length of 84.6 inches, the Frog is a staggering 32 inches shorter than the already diminutive 500. The car was built with a canvas sunroof, very much like the donor Fiat. This not only reduced cost and weight but also provides some much-needed ventilation for the Frog on hot days. The glass is largely from the 500 as well, and with a large surface area and side windows that can only slide open, a Frog can get quite warm inside. Also, don’t be fooled by the vehicle’s size, because I have seen a Frog carrying two 6′ tall men in reasonable comfort. Part of me can see our resident small car buff Scotty Gilbertson behind the wheel of this little car.

The interior of the Frog is quite austere, but once again, it is all in the search for low overall weight. The bucket seats that are fitted to this car are not what you would normally see in a Frog, because the vast majority were fitted with a bench seat. You get carpet, a parcel shelf behind the seats, and that’s it for upholstered surfaces. There are no door trims. The dash is a model of simplicity. You get a speedometer and some lights, and that’s it. The lights on the dash aren’t labeled, so you need to take the time to learn what they are for. One of these is a low fuel warning light, and this one is pretty important because there is no fuel gauge in a Frog.

As with the donor Fiat, the Baldi is a rear-engined car, with a 4-speed manual transmission. This particular car is the high-performance or “Rally” version (really!) with the 595cc 2-cylinder air-cooled engine that pumps out 23hp. Owners could also choose an entry-level vehicle with a single cylinder 125cc engine, or the standard engine of 300cc capacity. With a total vehicle weight of a mere 998lbs, this engine can push the car along to 60mph. I have seen video footage of a Baldi road test, and for my money, I don’t think that I would take the car much above 40mph. It seems to be quite comfortable at that speed.

This Baldi Frog has got a lot of things going for it. In spite of that unique body, the underpinnings are largely derived from the Fiat 500, so parts and spares are relatively easy to find. It is also quite rare. The total build number was 300 cars, and various sources seem to agree that there are only about 3 cars in the USA. It might not be a performance vehicle, but I can guarantee that it would get plenty of attention at the next Coffee & Cars.

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Comments

  1. Will Fox

    This thing has two handles for a very good reason: It doubles as your coffin in an accident.

    1
    • Jerry Brentnell

      now if a guy had a corvair flat 6 turbo drive train kicking around or for giggles a harley v twin say 100 horse power to stuff in this and go hunting smart cars to stomp eh?

      1
  2. dan

    I must disagree. The small tires off little resistance in the event of an impact. If you were hit by a train it would just push you along until the next stop where you can get out and change your underwear.
    I love the car but with the number of mini’s in the garage now I fear I will be trading places with the dog if I bought it.

    1
    • Jon Rappuhn

      Being built of fiberglass not sure if it could stand up to that train, LOL. (On the other hand, a fellow with a broom, a vacuum, and a sponge could probably clean up the whole mess. And the train would probably still be on time).

  3. Farhvergnugen

    That ain’t no sunroof. That’s just a cover for the armrest surround, though I don’t see how you climb in and then snake your upper torso through the roof. Maybe you unzip the top and climb in from above? Mystified…

  4. Mitch Ross

    I’m sure the Lane motor Museum in Nashville would be interested, they seem to have a great minicar collection

  5. Sam61

    A modest lift kit, balloon tires…get rid of the rear side windows to access your clubs, dump the doors…shazam…greatest golf cart ever at the country club !

    2
  6. Coventrycat

    Hey baby, wanna come check out my Baldi Frog? Best form of birth control ever made.

    3
  7. John

    What? No SBC comments?

  8. MikeH

    I would love to see the rest of this guys collection. I see a Renault 4L and a 500, but there are a lot of others.

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