Italian SUV? 1967 Fiat 500 Giardiniera

Reader Filippo R had so much fun writing up this Fiat Multipla that he decided to send in another find from Italy. This one is another Fiat (it’s Italy after all), but this time it’s a 500. You can find this tiny Italian project here on Subito in Forlì, Emilia Romagna, Italy.
From Filippo – This Fiat 500 “Giardiniera” (Station Wagon) is looking rough but complete. These can be fun little cars although don’t expect to go very fast. With a two-cylinder 496 cc displace engine and a “massive” 17.5 Hp, you are not going anywhere quickly. But, with a cleverly-designed rear space (the engine is under the rear trunk so as to maximize space and create a flat surface), you can “haul” a few things.

The car has a vinyl sunroof that stretches all the way to the back of the car. This was not done for the “cool” factor at the time but to save weight and cost. This car was the ultimate utilitarian made for the local artisan, farmer or anyone needing to carry more than the normal 500 could handle. Another quirk is the “Suicide doors” which you may need in to use quickly in case of accident considering the car only weighs 560kg (1230 lbs).

The car is located in central Italy near Florence and the ad reads: “For complete restoration, rotten floors, motor turns free, available separately is a spare body for panels. Price is not negotiable. Sold as is, where is.” The price is only 1300 Euro (about $1,600). Could be a fun little project. These cars are fairly simple to restore and most parts are available and reasonably priced. Let the games begin!
Our thanks to Filippo for his contribution all the way from Italy! So what do you think of this Fiat Wagon?

Comments

  1. Doyler

    Want. Want so bad

  2. stillrunners LAWRENCE Member

    Like…..

  3. Araknid

    These are so cool in the Giardiniera form. Even more so in Furgoncino version (panel van) I wonder who much it would take to get it here.

  4. Mike

    Trying to get a car out of Italy seems to be a pain in the a$$. I was interested in a car there and a guy that specializes in picking up cars in Europe and shipping them to the US says it’s such a minefield there that he won’t do transactions in that country. Same goes for cars in Switzerland which isn’t part of the EU.

    • Pete

      You are correct sir. By the time you paid all the fees and filled out all the paperwork and paid bribes to get all that done. You would be about 6000 EUR into that car as it is. Not to include shipping and that is if your container didn’t get broken into and all of it stolen. Much easier to get a car out of Holland, Germany or the UK. I spent a lot of time researching this with my future brother in law who lives in Milan. The government Italy is so corrupt it just boggles the mind. Martin Horrocks is right when it comes to every other country besides Italy, they are easier to negotiate. But yeah not Italy. Unless you drive the car to germany and do the deal there, then you might actually get the car.

      • mikeH

        I have a friend who did just that. He flew to Italy and drove the car [Bianchina] to the UK for shipping. He figured it was cheaper to do it that way than to fool with the Italian bureaucracy. He has bigger cajones than I do, to buy a car he’s never seen and drive it to the UK.

        I have shipped cars from France with no problem. But, that’s France, not Italy.

  5. LAB3

    Looking at the name of this car, I’m pretty sure I had that one time after drinking some untreated water from a small creek out in the Rockies. Although I love quirky and one off cars, it’s nice to have an engine that’s more than half the size of the one in my motorcycle. Parts might be cheap and easy but not in THESE parts!

  6. jw454

    My lawn mower is an 18 H.P. What is the top speed for one of these? I’m not sure it would even be practical for around town trips.
    I like it and would like to own it but, I think it would need to be re-powered and up graded brakes for use here in the U.S.

  7. Rube Goldberg Member

    This is pretty cool, but again, as most feel, it’s horribly underpowered (and don’t give me that baloney it will cruise 55-60 with passengers all day long) It would probably be a major job updating the motor, GoldWing, or any motorcycle motor, there’s you 55-60 all day long, if you got the grapes to do so in this, that is.

  8. Beatnik Bedouin

    I hate to say it, because I have a love for the little Fiat twins, but that wagon is pretty rusty and would cost more than it’s worth to fix, let alone the cost of getting it to where any of us live.

    This engine is a variation of a Nuovo 500 mill turned on its side, with a few bits particular to the Giardeniera. It would be possible to punch one of these out to 650 or more CCs, using Polish Fiat ‘Maluch’ internals and/or an aftermarket big-bore kit. As an aside, in Poland, there’s a racing series for the locally-made 126 models and I think they’re getting up-to-800cc and 80+HP out of the tiny OHV twins.

    Rube’s right as far as cruising speed – think more like 40-45 mph with passengers aboard, and that would be on a flat road with no wind!

  9. Martin Horrocks

    Don´t listen to hearsay. Shipping from any European country is easy, including Switzerland, just find a reputable shipper (most are). Fiat 500 parts are incredibly cheap and everything is available, the best suppliers are in Germany and Holland. You order off the internet in English, ordering enough to make the shipping costs a fraction of the value (just as European US car fans do). It will arrive with no problem.

    Having said this, do not get involved with this car. Why buy a wreck for $1600 when you can get a very good car for $7000? With patience, you could even find a nice Giardinera in the US for $10,000, they are not rare.

    Photo above was my car, based on a Fiat 500. We did a total professional restoration to concours and it didn´t cost $12000. Anyone know what it is?

    • mikeH

      When ordering parts from Europe, don’t forget that you don’t have to pay the sales tax, TVA, VAT, which is around 20%. This tax is included in the price you see in the catalogs-at least for French and English cars. Taking 20% off the listed price more than covers the cost of shipping.

    • Araknid

      That looks like a Neckar Weinsberg. Can’t tell for sure from the side.

      • Martin Horrocks

        Bang on both Araknid and Beatnik Bedouin. Neckar Weinsberg Coupé, built in Germany.

        Very similar to Autobianchi but not quite as cute. Rarer, though, about 50 known to survive.

        I think all Fiat 500s need the Abarth touch if we´re honest!

  10. Beatnik Bedouin

    I’ll take a guess, Martin: Is that a Fiat 500 Neckar?

    Back in the 1970s, I used to own a 1958 Bianchina Transformabile coupe that spent most of its life being used as a landscape gardener’s ride in a local L.A. city park. I ended up swapping an Abarth 695SS engine (found in exotic Bell Gardens!) and playing with the suspension.

    I sho’nuff wish I still had it, today. It was a fun vehicle.

  11. David Miraglia

    Gotta have one…..

  12. TC.

    As far as the top speed goes on these little beauties, does it really matter? You’d only use it around town anyway so as long as it keeps up with the other traffic, who cares, if it doesn’t they can go around you, it’s not like you’re the size of a bus!

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