Bring A Trailer NO RESERVE auction in progress: Much work performed, strong running and driving example. Titled and registered in California.
1974 Fiat 500R (Auction ends Monday November 6th, 2023)
VIN – 5174301
Exterior Color – Blue
Interior Color – Tan
Engine – 650 cc in-line 2-cylinder
Transmission – Fully Synchronized 4-Speed
Current Kilometers – 73,237 kms (TMU)
Current Owner – February 2015 with 72,970 kms
Owner driven kms – 267 kms
Launched in 1957 as the successor to the Italian favorite “Topolino”, the diminutive but spunky 500 had big shoes to fill. Even as an inexpensive small car, designer Dante Giacosa had his work cut out for him to meet or exceed Italian nationalist expectations. The Nuova (New) 500 was just under 10 feet in length, lightweight, and powered by a 479cc engine, giving it the 500 or “Cinquecento” name. It didn’t take long for the new 500 to earn a great reputation as a practical, fun, and easy to drive car, creating as much cultural connection to Italian automobiles as any higher priced Ferrari or Maserati.
By 1960 the Fiat 500 had evolved to include a new variant, the “500 D”. Uprated to a whopping 499 cc and offered with a retractable roof and other improvements these models were sought after in period for their fuel economy and ease of service. Though production was robust, and sales remained strong, improvements continued the F and L series and finally the R in the last iteration of the 500 assembled between 1972-1975.
History and Build Details of This Car
This example was purchased by the owner in February 2015 and treated to a series of performance and handling improvements. Prior ownership is known from 2009 when it was located in Berkeley, CA, regularly serviced, garaged, and used as a daily driver for three years. Invoices included with the car include paint and interior refurbishing as well as extensive mechanical work from Fiat expert Henk Blverhuis, Albany Annex, Berkeley, CA. Work beginning in 2015 included the installation of a Sport 650 engine with 40/80 enlarged valves, sport timing chain kit, new alternator, new fan housing, new alternator housing, fuel pump, carburetor, new distributor, and thermostat. The engine work included a new aluminum valve cover, new hoses and fuel lines, and a new single 70mm stainless steel sport muffler. A fully synchronized 126 4-speed transmission, new clutch, and transmission mount were also installed. In addition to the engine and transmission upgrades, an updated front disc brake kit was installed with new flex hoses and lines, a new master cylinder, steering box rebuild, and a new Sport suspension kit (rear springs and shocks, front springs and shocks, and new motor mount spring) as well as a new front transverse sport leaf spring.
For the exterior of the car, a new windshield and rear glass were installed including new rubber gaskets, new vent window rubber, door glass rubber, front trunk floor mat, new front and rear emblems, and repair work for side marker light function. Classic Auto Body, Berkeley, CA painted the car in September 2015 including rust repair work, the installation of new exterior door handles, new front retractable seat belts, and interior work for the door panels and seats.
Today this Fiat presents as a driver quality example ready for enjoyable use. The paint and body work are appropriately matched for enthusiasts who enjoy driving their cars daily. The paint is smooth and glossy with consistent coverage over the steel body and a few areas showing typical road chips, small rust bubbling on the roof, and a few minor scratches. The doors open conventionally on forward mounted hinges and shut with confidence while the hood and engine lid open and shut properly. The chrome bumpers, headlight trim, and a license plate light housing are all in very good condition though light pit marks can be seen on the license plate light housing. The window garnish molding is in generally good condition, consistent with the exterior cosmetics, while the emblems and door handles are in excellent condition. Glass and plastic lenses are in very good condition as well. The former sliding canvas sunroof has been replaced with a solid metal shell which is bolted to the roof substructure adding rigidity to the upper structure. A set of Abarth style cast aluminum wheels with modern Fulda 145/70R12 radial tires are mounted.
The interior features caramel vinyl seating and door panels, rubber floor mats, and a body-color dashboard. Seating for four is surprisingly comfortable with nicely added blue piping accents and modern recoiling seat belts for the front seats. Material, seat padding, door cards, and an Abarth wood rim steering wheel create a clean and cohesive interior. The dashboard features a central speedometer perched behind the steering wheel, boasting an ambitious 120 km max speed. The odometer indicates 73,237 kms which is likely reflective of original miles given the overall condition. The floor mounted 4-speed synchromesh gear lever is comfortably in reach while roll up windows and manual choke speak to the charming and practical operation of the 500. The front storage area is finished with matching black rubber mat and correctly finished details. A full-sized stamped steel spare tire rests upright in the forward portion, flanked by a modern Interstate battery, installed October 2023.
Under the rear engine lid, the uprated 650cc engine has been very nicely finished and properly prepared when installed in 2016. The restored finishes and detailing are well done with accenting red and cast alloy parts featured throughout a very clean and well-maintained engine compartment. The engine and associated trim parts remain in excellent condition while the added horsepower is a welcome addition paired with the front transverse leaf sport spring suspension, new front and rear shocks, and front disc brakes. The underside of the car is in generally good condition including the rebuilt front suspension and brakes, properly specified lines, hoses, and a replacement for the driver’s side floor pan.
Driving this Fiat, the 650 is a delightful improvement to the original 500 series package. The engine does a surprisingly good job of elevating the car to a more sporting level. Brakes and suspension are nicely matched to the added horsepower with cosmetics to suit daily driving. This 500 is an enjoyable ambassador of Italian culture offering delightful relief from the digitized vehicles of modern manufacturing.
Items Included with the Car
This Fiat 500R is accompanied by a car cover, small tool kit, jack, foldable safety triangle, jumper cables, and two Haynes workshop manuals.
The above vehicle information is complete and accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time it is posted to this website. Corrections or additional information is always appreciated. All advertised prices exclude government fees and taxes, any finance charges, any dealer document preparation charge, and any emission testing charge. Vehicles are subject to prior sale. All advertised to be true but not guaranteed. We assume no liability for errors or omissions.
Fantasy Junction • 510-653-7555 • 1145 Park Ave, Emeryville, CA 94608