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EV Conversion: 1965 Fiat 500 Spiaggina

So I understand that the conversion of classic cars to EVs is controversial, with many saying that it’s the beating heart and the character of the car and without it, the car has no soul. However, I think they may be wrong – some cars’ original engines are completely dreadful and unreliable, and a powertrain upgrade makes them more useful. However I understand I may be in the minority here, but I would ask you to take a look at this advert here on eBay of a 1965 Fiat 500 Spiaggina with a BIN price of $69,000 and available in Southampton, New York.

Now, this is not just a standard Fiat 500, it’s the ‘Spiaggina’ version (which means beach buggy) which was produced from 1958 to 1965 in Italy and was built by Ghia. It was so popular that even US President Lyndon B. Johnson owned one and they were sold in Europe, the US, and South Africa. They were equipped with a tiny 22hp 2-cylinder engine with a top speed of 105kph and famously didn’t come with doors. The chain door only arrived in 1965 and only really helped with aesthetics.

So the one we have here today has been converted to electric over the last few years. There isn’t much information about what battery has been included or the type of motor or controller. However, in the photo we can see the batteries have been placed in the front engine compartment, probably giving around 20kW of power. The top speed of the electric motor is 40mph, and the car has a top range of 50 miles. Now, this is likely to be driven around a private community or in a small town as even with a petrol engine it would not be fun driving this thing on the highway.

The rest of the car has been restored well in its beautiful baby blue paint with grey and white two-tone interior. The quality of the conversion from the limited photos looks high, but it would be good to see the installation of the electric motor. So would you want to move over to EVs in this special Fiat 500, or will you wait until an alternative fuel source is available before converting your classic car?


  1. Tracy


    Like 6
  2. Vance

    This thing looks about as safe as an old carnival ride, and probably not as safe as one. Just buy a nice golf cart, it would have more amenities and look twice as nice. If someone has 70 large to waste on this, more power to them.

    Like 3
  3. JagManBill

    How to take a $60,000 car and make it a $30,000 car….

    Like 4
  4. Howie

    This is cool, but $69k can buy you so much more!!

    Like 3
    • Mike J

      He wants a dollar for every mile on it.The odometer say’s almost 69,000 miles

      Like 0
      • Arakind78

        Those are kilometers

        Like 0
  5. Big C

    The owner is out of his greenie mind. There is no golf cart in the world, worth $70k. Cuz that’s what he turned this thing into.

    Like 1
    • Mitch

      Those of us that collect genuine Fiat Jollys take offense to all these fake “Sawzall Specials” that continue to flood the market. There is a cottage industry taking $5000 Fiat 500’s and making replica Jollys that sell for multiple times that amount, selling to people that seemingly don’t care, or are oblivious to the fact that they are buying forgeries. I have seen fake Jollys sell for over $100k at live auctions!

      Like 0
  6. nlpnt

    70 grand is about what the average auction price for a 500 Spiaggina/Jolly with the stock powertrain. Not worth it to me, and I really like small cars.

    It would be a shame if a 500 sedan were sacrificed to convert this back to stock.

    A new Chevy Bolt costs under $25k and is fully capable of highway speeds with 259 miles of range. You’d be ahead buying one of those and getting a custom shop to do an open-top conversion.

    Like 0
  7. Mitchell Member

    This is not a genuine Jolly, but a fake “Sawzall Special” created from a standard Fiat 500. There is a cottage industry converting 5000 Euro Fiat 500s into “Jollys” or “Spiagginas” and selling them in the US. Are the buyers clueless or do they just not care if its real or not? I have seen fake Jollys bring over $100k at live auctions before. Crazy!

    Like 0
    • Howie

      Here on BF’s and the Ebay listing the word Jolly is nowhere to be found,

      Like 2
      • Mitch Member

        Spiaggina and Jolly names are used interchangeably for these open top beach cars. These cars were originally created by Ghia – now they are done by independent shops with huge variations in quality. There are probably more being created now than originally produced back in the ‘50’s/‘60’s to cash in on the current values. I certainly would never take a genuine car and swap the original powertrain for electric.

        Like 0
  8. Araknid78

    Ended: Sep 29, 2022 , 12:46PM
    US $69,000.00

    Like 0

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