Compact Italian Project: 1957 Fiat 600

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For buyers in search of inexpensive transportation in the fifties, Fiat delivered, as a new 600 could be had for the equivalent of just under $9,500 in today’s U.S. currency.  Sure, it was small, measuring only a little over ten and a half feet long, and there wasn’t much power.  But it was light, had seating for four, and in ’57 even got you those cool front-opening suicide doors.  These cars also proved popular, with more than 2.5 million examples produced during its run between 1955 and 1969.  This 1957 Fiat 600 here on Craigslist has a traceable history all the way from back when it was new, and while the compact needs work it might make a decent project if you’re into really small vehicles and a skilled welder.  The car is in Redding, California, with the asking price set at $8,500.

Reader T.J. found this one and shared it with us, and we’d like to express our gratitude for the tip!  The seller tells us he purchased the car from the grandson of the original owner, who bought the car new in Hawaii and then brought it over to Cali sometime during the early 60s.  But the Fiat got parked in the early seventies when the grandfather passed away, and apparently sat idle until the grandson inherited the car and subsequently sold it.

Realizing patina is usually loved or the opposite among many car connoisseurs, for those into baked finishes, it doesn’t get much better than this!  The car is described as an amazingly original example, so I’m guessing that’s the factory finish, or at least what’s left of it.  But the body itself is stated to be straight and free of dents, with the quarter panels and fenders listed as being in great shape.  The glass is good, plus the seller put on a new set of tires, and the hubcaps are original components.

Inside is where more eyebrows will start to be raised.  First, we don’t get a photo of the dashboard, so the instrument panel’s condition is unknown.  But we do get to see photos of the floor, and it’s not a pretty sight, with the driver’s seat about ready to fall through and the passenger chair hanging on by a thread.  The seller thinks the deterioration was caused by moisture getting under the vinyl floor mats, and if there is any good news here it’s that the sills themselves are said to still be in good condition, although I’d check them very carefully before welding new metal in there.

These are rear-engine cars, with a small 4-cylinder powering the back wheels.  It’s not running, but the motor is said to be turning freely, so even though the drivetrain is probably going to need a complete going through at least it’s not stuck in place.  The owner says the car has never been messed with and considering it’s been stationary for over 4 decades that sounds plausible, but I can’t quite comprehend how the seller surmises the next owner is not far from driving a classic, which he states in the listing.  What are your thoughts on this Fiat 600?

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  1. Nevada1/2rack NevadahalfrackMember

    Spanish family next door in Madrid had the predecessor (El Topolino[?]), the neighbors to the other side had a Citroen “Dos Caballos” (Deux Chevaux if you drove in a northerly direction for awhile). It amazed me to see the family with the Fiat squeeze in the 3-4 kids with mom and dad on Sunday mornings, as we had a 1957 Chevy 210 2 door that was monstrous in comparison. The family with the Citroen were pretty smug with their extra space but on several occasions we saw them both as the 2CV incrementally lost ground to the Topolino going up a nearby hill!

    Like 4
    • Martin Horrocks

      Are you sure the Topolino wasn’t a SEAT 600? Built under license in Barcelona and the car which put Spain on wheels 1950s-70s.

      The earlier Topolino is a rare sight in Spain and too small to carry a family, but the SEAT 600 was built to fo that. They even had a 4 door version (SEAT 800) for larger families, as promoted by Franco.

      Assuming you’re from the US, was your family in Madrid because of USAF base at Torrejón?

      Like 2
      • Nevada1/2rack NevadahalfrackMember

        That would make more sense and you’re most likely correct. And yes-my dad was in charge of the radar control room operators; we’d just moved there from Majorca where we’d lived for 2 years in the late ‘50’s.
        Living in Madrid during the reign of Francisco Franco was an education in appreciating what we have along with seeing the old pillboxes and former battlegrounds in the area!

        Like 2
  2. Kevin

    Price is way to high. I can buy a nice one of these in Italy and have it shipped here for the asking price of this one. For a few thousand more I can get an Abarth clone.

    Like 15
    • Rick

      Yeah, overpriced is an understatement.

      Like 5
  3. Skateman

    According to the exterior, this is not 1957 but post 1960…
    Bought two of those in a very similar condition for $500…

    Like 0
    • t-bone bob

      probably late ’50s or early ’60s. The 1957 model would have the front signal light mounted on there top of the fenders but from about 1962 on they had conventional front doors (not suicide)

      Like 0
  4. Lance

    So this California seller wants $8500 and you can see the real estate you pass over looking down from the front seat. He must be smoking something Tommy Chong would be envious of.

    Like 8
  5. DD

    Waaaaaaaaay overpriced. I just sold a nice 1961 Fiat 600 in original condition for 5300€, needs nothing, was registered in Italy. It is now sent to US.

    Like 5
  6. Martin Horrocks

    These are nice little cars which are fun to drive like an Italian. But the price here is absurd.

    Like 4
  7. Mark

    Looks liks a fresh baked dinner roll right out of the oven……

    Like 3
  8. Big C

    I love the recently applied Shine Juice. That’s worth at least $50.

    Like 2
  9. Kenneth Carney

    Barrett Jackson Syndrome strikes again! Not worth the money by a long
    shot. Not running? No floors? The
    paperwork and shipping costs would
    surely do me in. Here in Florida, parts
    and service are hard to get even with
    the internet. You can find a shell and
    build to suit your needs for way less
    than what this guy’s charging. Me, I’d
    swap in an 850 cc motorcycle engine
    from a Honda or convert it to an EV.
    At least those are more reliable than
    the original engine that’s in it. There
    was a fellow in my hometown that had one. He drove it down a cobblestone street and the engine fell
    out of it. Pass.

    Like 0
    • DD

      Original engine is very reliable, so you know. I’ve seen them pass 100.000 miles easily.

      Like 0
    • Big C

      Yes. Put an electric motor in it. Ruin it even more.

      Like 1
  10. Ron

    I’ve heard of dreaming but this car being in Cali I think the owner has been smoking too much weed. Guess if the brakes fail you can just put your feet down to stop. Probably good to part out and nothing more.

    Like 2
  11. nlpnt

    Price sounds right for a good one with a ragtop sunroof, not this example with a sunfloor.

    Like 4
  12. Mike

    I first thought the car had one of those wraps with the patina motifs. Then I saw the interior and thought “why are they using astroturf for carpeting?”

    Like 1
  13. Dave

    Had a buddy who used one of these on his newspaper motor route in the ’60’s. Took the rear seat out and away you go with great gas mileage.

    Like 0
  14. Bill Schulz

    I’ve put better than 410,000 miles on four of them starting in 1958, one 633cc ’58, the others ’61-61 “D” models. Other than the rust issues these little buggers are more fun than puppies and are just as faithful. They’re bulletproof.
    The 850s are worthy successors as updated and re-bodied 600s but roomier and still bearing the FIAT model’s design prefix of “100” making it of the exact same family, although few parts are interchangeable. Plus, the 850 was available in “Special” guise with more trim, nice interior, front discs and the “Sport” engine of over double the HP of the original 600. Also bulletproof. Drove one of them better than 170,000 miles through all but two of the 48 contiguous United States. Oh, and the clutchless, torque converter-equipped Idroconvert… two pedal driving affording Mark Donahue-esque possibilities plus the ability to just putter ’round town in a single gear.

    Like 0

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