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The Mouse That Roared: 1951 Fiat 500C Topolino

080116 Barn Finds - 1951 Fiat Topolino - 1

Here’s your new daily-driver, a 1951 Fiat 500C Topolino. This “little mouse” is located in New Egypt, New Jersey and is listed on New eBay.. er.. on eBay where the current bid price is just over $6,000, but the reserve isn’t met. I think it’ll go for around double that amount, wouldn’t you think so?

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The 500C was the third model of this car produced by Fiat and only the second one with a totally different body style. The Fiat 500A was first introduced to the public in 1937 with a 13 hp and the radiator was mounted behind the engine so the grille would be lower for a more aerodynamic look. The 500B had 16 hp, quite a bump in power, percentage-wise, at least. The series ended with the 500C which was introduced in 1949 and they were made until production stopped in 1955 when the larger Fiat 600 was introduced. Give me a Topolino over a 600 any day of the week!

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This car has enough headroom even for me! Make sure your hairpiece is stapled on properly, though. The seller says that this car is “just in from Italy” and that it’s in “beautiful condition”, I would agree, it’s in great shape. There are a few areas that could use work if a person were to want it for the show circuit, like the chrome, as shown in this photo of the cool spare tire compartment.

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I wish that the interior would have been original, but it’s at least pretty nice, albeit with semi-wild seat material and more American-car-like plush carpet. But, things look pretty tidy and someone must have spent a deal of time and money on bringing this car up to this condition.

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Here’s the part where Jay Leno asks you to do a burn-out, and you sheepishly pull away from the curb and go home to get your Hemi Cuda. The engine in this 1,300 pound car is a 569 cc inline-four with a tire-shredding 16 hp. I say, with a tire-shredding 16 hp. (Hello? Is this thing on?).. I know that some of you probably have a lawn tractor with that much power, but you can’t take that to the drive-in, at least not without going viral on YouTube. The seller says that it has a “new brake master cylinder, few new lines”, and the Weber carb has been rebuilt. The “motor and transmission are in great shape” and the “adjustments in engine valves have been done.” This car is ready to go. I’d drive it while figuring out how to redo the seats, but I don’t know if I’d change a heck of a lot otherwise. This isn’t a powerful car but it sure would draw a crowd at any car show, maybe more so than a lot of muscle cars would. Are there any fans of the Topolino out there?


  1. grant

    Love these things. My former fiancee wanted one bad, she’s 4’9″. Then she saw what they cost and kept driving my Suburban.

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  2. geebee

    There would be hundreds of cars I would find more desirable than one with considerably less than 20 hp.

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  3. crazydave

    Since this is a “Mouse”, it should have a “Mouse motor” (SBC) swapped in just to be true to original

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  4. Jesper

    Funny little thing. Just to much money, for so little car.
    And im shure they are dificult to find parts for, unless you buy them in Italy.

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  5. RayT Member

    My guess would be that this will top out around $10K. Hard-core collectors won’t like the re-do of the interior.

    I love these, but since the price of admission has gotten so high for Topos, I’ll save my enthusiasm for the next restored 500A that shows up so sale.

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  6. Kevin Harper

    Ok these I don’t get. I really liked the early topolino’s because they were cute. I like the later rear engine 500’s for the same reason and they could be made to actually move at decent speed, but i really preferred the 600. But these are slow and homely, and not in a good way. Sorry I just don’t get these

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  7. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    I would tour the Duchy of Grand Fenwick in it first! 😀

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  8. bcavileer

    A leggy Gina Lola type swings out towards the curb… none of you would care about the funky interior. Cool car, you don’t have to motor fast to be ‘fast’. Kinda like it. Funky.

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  9. Peter Atherton

    I had one of these back in the early ’60’s,it was a car used by the household staff of an estate on the North Shore,in Massachusetts.This one has the taillights from a 600,as well as the bordello interior…..

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  10. MikeH

    I’ve always wanted one of these, but it would have to be an A or B with the 30s grille. I don’t like the front of the C. And the interior—bordello is the right word. Hope it doesn’t get hot rodded.

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  11. Paul @ C&C Member

    Jesse, been watching site for ages now, really think its interesting, even from the other side of the pond. As you are showing on BF’s a lot of interesting little Fiats, thought this one would be a little different, a very rare 1961 Moretti 500 SI Coupe, based on the current Fiat 500 platform & mechanics at that time. Its being auctioned in UK on 24th August by essexclassiccarauction.co.uk

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  12. Paul @ C&C Member

    Just a rear end picture as well.

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  13. Paul @ C&C Member

    Sorry its not my own but a friends in Italy, I myself am retired but enjoy finding the classics old or modern, mundane, unusual, special cars,history cars, mainly now in Italy, then bringing back to the UK, improving them, that are needing new owners to appreciate them. To many I suppose I would be called a “flipper” but what I do is similar to what you are doing yourself now in saving, improving then passing the benefit onto a new owner. This I have done now for many years as Classics & Cabriolets Collection, http://www.classics-cabriolets.co.uk. I have been interested in for a couple of years, putting the before & after on your BF site, but felt some of your members would not appreciate it, as it is a form of “flipper” advertising.
    Following are a few before & after pictures, can supply a lot more of saved cars.

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  14. Paul @ C&C Member

    After collection, after visit to MilaMiglia on route back to UK.

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  15. Paul @ C&C Member

    After being prep’d before going to new owner, who then used it in one of the annual re-runs of ” The Italian Job” trips from UK to Italy, although not quite the right colour or spec to be one of the “Mafioso” cars in the film.

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  16. Paul @ C&C Member

    Another example of an as found, arrived in UK and then ready for new owner as his daily classic driver

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  17. Paul @ C&C Member

    On arrival UK

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  18. Paul @ C&C Member

    After being prep’d & registered for new owner as is daily driver

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  19. Paul @ C&C Member

    On collection from elderly owner

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  20. Paul @ C&C Member

    After being prep’d and going to its new owner in Ireland

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  21. Paul @ C&C Member

    missing picture of Fiat dino on collection

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  22. Scotty Staff

    Auction update: the bidding went up to $10,200 and this Topolino didn’t sell for that price.

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