Summer Beach Cruiser: 2010 Fiat 500 Jolly

Few cars are as cute, bubbly, or iconic as the Nuova Cinquecento. The little Italian runabout was meant to evoke a similar feeling as that of the two-wheeled Piaggio Vespa scooter that is all so popular, while being an economical choice for a people who just got out of a terrible war. It was wildly successful, and the spritely little Fiat rocketed to international acclaim, spawning off multiple spin-offs and homages; most notably, Carlo Abarth got his hands on one and made a mean little race car. Coachbuilding firm Carrozzeria Ghia decided to put their own spin on the 500, and the result was a red and white Fiat with wicker furniture, sans its doors and roof. Today’s listing is a faithful recreation of that jolly little Jolly and can be found here on Sotheby’s, offered at no reserve (but expected to fetch quite a bit).

We’ll build an appropriate crescendo here with my little write-up, and start with the dull. Under the hood is the base Fiat engine. There is no description on this listing as to what specific engine it has, but Fiat offered everything from a 1.0-liter four-cylinder up to a 1.4-liter intercooled turbo in the Abarth. Since this is very clearly not an Abarth and is missing the vibrant, scorpion-adorned engine cover, I’m going to say it’s got one of the smaller engines. It drives the front wheels through a five-speed manual gearbox.

Inside is where it gets interesting. Well, “inside” is a relative term. The Jolly, both original and remake, is intended to be used as a fun-in-the-sun beach cruiser for beautiful, sunny summer days. Its missing roof and wicker seating are indicators of how the interior is just as comfortable outside as it is inside. Fiat never made a Jolly from the factory, so while this is a custom conversion, it’s exceptionally well-done. There’s no air conditioning or power windows, and the blanks for the former switches for those features look like they could have been stock. Everything is integrated just as it should be.

Really, this car’s appeal is in its unique usability. It’s not practical by any sense of the term. You’re not buying this because you need a grocery-getter or family hauler. You’re buying this because it’s adorable, and can give you a driving experience you can’t get in anything else this side of your local botanical garden (with the notable exceptions of the standard 2CV, Mini Moke, Jeep, and Bronco). You clearly already have a yacht, why not get a matching Fiat?


  1. Jay T

    If there ever was a retro clown car…

    Like 6
  2. Rolls-Royce

    I like to drive this car.

  3. Howie Mueler

    These bring good money, nothing i would ever want.

    Like 2
  4. Martin Horrocks

    I think it is a 1242cc engine, which gives about 70bhp so decent. The 1 litre engine was a 2 cylinder turbo unit and photos show engine is not this spec. Without doors on wicker seats, you may not want to go very fast…..

    Someone will pay quite a lot of money for this. But probably won´t see it like that.

  5. Martin M

    I agree with Jay T. While the original Jolly had somewhat of a charm and simplicity to it, this thing looks like a bastardized 500. I’m not sure what it is, but it sure isn’t adorable.

    Like 1
  6. rosseaux

    Reminds me of the chopped top Volare (Aspen?) wagon Mr. Roark drove around on Fantasy Island. Maybe Tattoo could pilot this one.

    Like 2
  7. CCFisher

    I’m 6’2, 300lb, give or take a cheeseburger and a six=pack. If I somehow managed to get in it, I’d never get out, and anybody lucky enough to record the attempt would have a viral video on his hands.

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