We were invited to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Fiat 500 in Turin, Italy. The impressive model range has lasted for many years and has become an icon of the motoring world. Here is how we celebrated.
Centro Storico Fiat Museum Tour
First off we went to visit the Fiat museum in Italy. Here we could see the life’s work of the brand covering motor cars, industrial vehicles and even planes. Our tour started by getting a brief history lesson about the brand.
Following that we were able to explore the impressive range of vehicles first hand and appreciate their beauty. Of course the highlight for the day was the original Fiat 500. Of course, that was kept in impeccable condition.
Designers Office Mock Up
Following that, the museum had a mock up of the actual office of Dante Giacosa, designer and ‘father’ of the iconic Italian mini cars, Topolino, 500 and 600. Of course this wasn’t the exact same room. But the furniture from the room is the original. So, it really gives you an idea as to what might have gone on in those four walls.
Lingotto – Fiat 500 60th
From here we headed over to Lingotto where we made our way up the spiral road to the roof top test track. This was used to test out the original Fiat 500 back in the day.
Once we reached the top of the Lingotto building, there was the most fantastic line up of Fiat 500 cars. They panned every generation of the car from the 1957 up to 2017. What a beautiful moment for the brand this was. It was great to see that the car hasn’t moved too far from its roots in 60 years with the styling clearly showing similarities.
I was lucky enough to have a couple of moments to get a photo opportunity with the original Fiat 500 and the latest Anniversario model. Side by side in the picture you can see the original is dwarfed by the modern car. But the 500 is still small in modern car standards so we can forgive it. It was really something to see these two cars side by side in place that the 500 was originally created and tested.
Modern Roof Top Testing
Part of the test track was reopened to allow a small amount of driving on the roof. Another unmissable photography opportunity arose here, as you can imagine. Here you can see the latest car in action on the track. Looking at the picture makes you think back to the original tests in the 50’s and 60’s. I wonder if they would have ever thought that their model would still be going strong in 2017…
Sunset Over Lingotto
The location of the Lingotto building looks out onto the mountains from the back. As you can see, there was a heavenly sunset that I just couldn’t resist taking a snap to share the view with you all. Night after night many test drivers and Fiat staff would have enjoyed a sunset like this. The buildings and infrastructure in the foreground will have changed over those 60 years, but it is safe to say that the mountains in the distance will not have changed a bit.
My First Drive In The Classic
Next up was my very first go in a classic Fiat 500. It was a 60’s model, so by modern standards of course it’s pretty basic. Nonetheless, I was inevitably excited to get behind the wheel.
At 6’4 the car did feel a little small inside, but who cares. I got to drive the motoring icon in the place that the car was developed and tested, what an absolute pleasure. I certainly cherished my brief time with the car here.
It was so worth sacrificing a moment driving the car just to pop out and grab a beautiful shot of the car just as the sun was setting over Turin. The timing here, you can tell, is magical.
Fiat’s Creation Of A Masterpiece
After my drive in the classic I felt compelled to walk from the original directly to the latest 2017 car. I just had to appreciate how far the car has come. 2017, is a completely different world to 1957, but the Fiat 500 is still a hugely relevant car in the market. We give Fiat a lot of credit for creating the car initially. But we also need to give them well-earned credit for keeping the car in fashion for this long. It’s a wonder, truly.
No birthday celebration is possible without cake. With the world press at hand, Fiat provided a huge cake to cut and share the celebrations with all. What a heart-warming moment celebrating the cars history.
I was offered the extra opportunity for a night time drive in a 50o. I mean, as a British journalist why wouldn’t I? We got out on the busy city roads, dropped the windows, took back the roof and just enjoyed the passenger ride around the town.
Our night time drive took us all the way up to the Basilica of Superga at the top of the local mountain roads. It was the perfect place to put the cars on display and absorb the sheer beauty of the machines yet again. But we were also able to gaze back over the city of Turin and enjoy the sparkling lights.
Fiat Centro Stile
The next day we headed over to Fiat Centro Stile. That’s the creative home of the brand, where we watched a presentation on the company’s success with the 60th anniversary of the 500. We took a closer look at some of the special edition cars that had been key to the model range.
Two senior members of the Fiat team talked to us about the creation and development of the car over the 6 generations of success. Recent successes include the 500 becoming an official a work of modern art and joining the permanent collection of the MoMA in New York. Secondly, there was the issuing of a new commemorative stamp dedicated to the Fiat 50o for its 60th birthday.
Once the talk was finished we were shown to our cars where we were able to select the car of our choice on the smooth route from the Fiat Centro Stile back to the hotel.
Without a doubt the Fiat 500 is one of the biggest icons around in the car industry. That’s been proven in sales figures, public perception as well as maintaining its relevancy for all generations.