Stored For 50 Years: 1959 Fiat 600

There are many things that an enthusiast has to consider when embarking upon a restoration or project build. One of these is whether they have sufficient workshop space, which can be a prime concern if the car is big, but the space is small. If your space is limited, but you need to scratch the restoration itch, vehicles like this 1959 Fiat 600 could be worth considering. Its previous owner placed in dry storage half a century ago. It has emerged as a solid and complete vehicle, and all of the parts seem present to return it to its former glory. Located in Belvidere, Illinois, you will find the Fiat listed for sale here on eBay. The bidding hasn’t been frantic on this little Italian, but it has been sufficient to push it beyond the reserve to $3,150.

It seems that the storage environment for this little Fiat must have been close to ideal. While the original Red paint looks tired, the news generally looks to be positive. The panels have accumulated a few dings and dents, but there’s nothing particularly bad for the buyer to tackle. However, the most important news surrounds the slippery slope that can be rust repairs. Well, put down the welder and grinder because it seems that this Italian classic is rust-free. There is nothing visible externally, and the seller describes the vehicle as being solid. Since the Fiat has been sitting for fifty years, the next owner will probably decide to dismantle the car entirely to service everything thoroughly and restore the interior. That would present the perfect opportunity to media-blast the body so that they could utilize some modern rust preventative products for preserving the steel indefinitely. A previous owner removed some of the trim, but it all appears to be present and in a restorable state. There are no problems with the glass, and the overall impression is that whipping the panels and paint into shape should not be difficult.

The Fiat rolled off the production line equipped with a rear-mounted four-cylinder engine with a capacity of 633cc and a power output of 22hp. Those rampant Italian stallions need to find their way to the road, and they would have done so via the rear wheels and a four-speed manual transaxle. Performance figures weren’t in muscle car territory, with the journey down the ¼ mile taking a leisurely 25.9 seconds. For potential buyers, there’s a bit to absorb here. This pile of parts will prove critical for restoring this 600. There are trim pieces and other sundry parts, but the engine components catch my attention. The previous owner pulled the engine and sent everything off to be machined. He never reached the point of reassembly, but everything has been oiled and correctly stored. The close-up photos show no deterioration, meaning that it will be a simple case of bolting everything back together. The collection includes new pistons and a Weber carburetor. Once the buyer completes this task, that little four should be churning out its 22hp (or more) once again.

The one aspect of this Fiat that might pose a challenge for the buyer will be restoring the interior. The gauge lenses are badly yellowed, and the upholstered surfaces are beyond their “best by” date. I performed a brief online search for new trim but had no luck. If the buyer is more dedicated to the task, they may strike gold. Alternatively, the existing trim could serve as a pattern for an upholsterer to create something from scratch. That’s an option to consider. This photo also reveals one of the reasons why this Fiat is an amazing car. Its overall length is a touch over 10½ feet, but there’s sufficient rear legroom to house a couple of adults. That made this car a triumph of packaging, and I’ve always felt that it made it at least an equal to the original Beetle and Mini.

The next owner of this 1959 Fiat 600 will face some decisions. Restoring it to a tidy driver state is one option, and with the work complete, it would have a potential value of around $12,000. However, there have been some recent cases where perfectly restored examples have soared beyond $20,000. Given how solid and original this car appears to be, I believe that it would be worth the extra time and effort for the next owner to complete the restoration work to a high standard. It won’t add significantly to the cost, but the payoff could come if they decide to sell. It’s definitely food for thought.


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  1. angliagt angliagt Member

    I spotted two 600s while driving through Oak Level,VA.
    Tracked down the owner,& he gave me permission to go on
    his property & take pictures of them.
    Said he’d take $500 for both of them.

    Like 12
    • Hector

      I owned one while stationed in Spain “Seat 600” over there – no difference at all, just the name. Run for ever like lawn mowers – wish I could have brought it back!

    • Josh

      The one who mentioned he found these two old fiat 600 in oak level, va, could you pls contact me?

  2. angliagt angliagt Member

    The other one.

    Like 14
  3. alphasud Member

    This would be a fun project and one to enjoy after completing. These cars have a real soul and make people smile when they see one. A technician friend of mine who worked at the dealer when Fiat was still sold had one of these modified with all the Abarth goodies. He also owned a Multipla which we would take to lunch. Major crowd pleaser for sure. Life was a blast in the slow lane.

    Like 4
  4. Hoss

    Weren’t these cars in the Circus ?

    They’d have 20 clowns come out of them. lol

    Like 1
    • Dave

      As seen as Luigi in “Cars”.

      Like 2

        Luigi was a 500

        Like 3
  5. Derek

    That looks like it would respond to a polish.

    Like 2
  6. Butch Smith

    My neighbor, 2 doors over had a red one similar to this. In 1966 he bought a new mercury comet villager wagon. It was black with wood grain (yeah!!) and tan vinyl interior.

    Like 1
  7. Howard A Member

    While I have an inherited dislike for Fiats, I always thought the 5/600 was a neat little car. Probably because it reminded me of my 1st car, a Renault 4CV, but brother, this was no 4CV. Hard to believe, Fiat, for generations, is the #1 selling car in Europe, you couldn’t give me one. Aside from being horribly inept for US roads, I don’t think these were any worse than any other car, the Italians aren’t idiots, they make great products. I’d say an “LS” or Cummins diesel swap would make things right for us Americans,,
    This is one of my favorite pictures depicting Fiat owners, I believe this won some global art contest. Says it all,,

    Like 1
    • Derek

      Howard, there’s a scene in the film “The Italian Job” which, to me, sums up Italy; the traffic’s been snarled up and there’s a guy with a Fiat 500. The sunroof’s open and he’s sitting on the roof, reading his Gazzetto dello Sport, and has his foot on the horn button.
      The cars aren’t fast, but they’re great around town – you can thrash them senseless and you’ll rarely trouble the speed limits – and they’re small enough to fit through gaps.

      Like 7
    • Ricardo Fuerte

      I think you just don’t know how to keep them running. All you need is a screwdriver and a 13 mm wrench!🙂

  8. Robert Hagedoron

    My first car was a used ’62 600. I made the mistake of taking it for a test drive around the block. My addiction to the fun was instant and I bought the thing. Whee! After a couple of years of Fix-It-Again-Tony I finally traded for a boring but dependable VW Beetle. Actually, it wasn’t THAT boring. But Tony was unhappy with my decision.

  9. chrlsful

    small is better

    Like 1
  10. bog

    At 3,600 bucks now. I know where Belvidere is, they once built that Plymouth model of same name there. I’d want to see under rubber floor mats…just in case. Had my own ’57 Fiat 500 back in Germany. Bought it for $ 125.00 (US) in 1968. Great on gas mileage and getting around down all those “cart-path” streets in the old part of the town where I was stationed. Mine was white and had a solid roof, so no leaks. Was able to haul 4 full-sized American soldiers in it. I was over 6’3″ and the interior was huge for size of car. Neat central locking system. Ignition key went in a hole in front of stick on floor. Shifter was locked until key depressed and turned. Then you pulled up a lever to engage starter. Another lever for choke. Great memories !

    Like 3
  11. winesmith

    It was Summer break, 1966 and I had just sold my Bill Heitkotter 1932 Ford roadster and took one of these exact red imports in trade (a $600 allowance).
    I Worked at Allender Foam and Fabric at the time. With Tom Pritchard at 260 lbs across the rear seat and Mike Leonardo 215 lbs on the passenger side
    we tried mightily to float the thing by taking several running starts down the boat launch at Millerton Lake. We’d get out, roll it back up the ramp and try again.
    Darned thing wouldn’t float but wouldn’t die either. Tiresome business, trying to float a Fiat.

    On the way back to our new (Vito Di Marini) apartment on San Jose Ave (became known as “Sin City” long after I was gone) we took the left at fourth street a
    little too fast for the interior weight distribution and knew something was afoul when we heard the right side hubcaps grinding against the pavement.
    Well, we did a slow but sure 90 degree roll and old Tom, his feet now pointing skyward and a quarter window shattered between his back and the asphalt and
    Mike’s elbow scraped to the bone from hanging it out the window trying to look cool.
    We were laughing so hard that we paid no mind to the shards and scrapes until after Mike climbed up and out of the top hatch(door) and I followed with Tom still laughing.
    We rolled the Fiat and Old Tom back into a car-like stance and drove it home. The little 600 was totally lunched on the passenger side so I parked it un-securely behind the apartments
    and within two weeks there remained but a skeletal shell of my red Italian job.
    It was a totally irresponsible $600 thrill ride that I shall never forget.
    We were criminally stupid and very lucky that Summer day in 1966. RK

  12. Brent

    My dad had two of these )white the blue), one after the other, when I was kindergarten aged. He used them to commute from the burbs into downtown Cincinnati. He loved them both. I remember I used to wait on the corner for him to come home (a very different time) and he would let me sit on his lap and steer down the street and into our driveway. I’ve been driving a very long time…great memories of these cars!

  13. Ozy John

    A 600 was the only car my Dad owned. Only had his licence for a short time before he passed. Pale blue with a dark blue flash down the sides. They didn’t call it “cruise control” in those days, but it had a lever next to the choke, that can set the accelerator. Just be aware when you gotta stop quick. HAHA!

    Like 1

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