Time­line

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Driving -

1957

Fiat launches its Nuova 500, de­signed by Dante Gi­a­cosa, in July with an at­ten­tion­grab­bing con­voy of cars be­ing demon­strated through the bustling streets of Fiat’s home city of Turin. It re­places the Topolino­gen­er­a­tion Fiat 500, a fron­tengined car that made its de­but 21 years ear­lier.

1958

The 500 Sport, with its 21bhp 499.5cc ver­sion of Fiat’s twin-pot en­gine, makes its de­but. The larger en­gine – al­beit in a lower state of tune – even­tu­ally be­comes the stan­dard fit­ment across the 500 range, in­clud­ing the Giar­diniera.

1960

Fiat launches the Giar­diniera – a two-door es­tate ver­sion of the 500 – in May 1960 and builds it along­side the reg­u­lar model at the enor­mous Lin­gotto plant in Turin. It re­tains the sui­cide rear doors of the early 500s – long af­ter the sa­loon ver­sion adopts con­ven­tional fron­thinged doors.

1970

Fiat sub­sidiary Au­to­bianichi takes over Giar­diniera pro­duc­tion at its De­sio plant on the out­skirts of Mi­lan. These cars wear Au­to­bianchi’s stylised shield em­blems (see photo, left) rather than Fiat’s own brand­ing.

1977

Au­to­bianchi ends Giar­diniera pro­duc­tion two years af­ter the last Fiat 500 rolled off the pro­duc­tion line in Turin. But Fiat hasn’t for­got­ten the tricks it learned from its baby es­tate, and in­tro­duces a Giar­diniera ver­sion of the 126 based on sim­i­lar de­sign and pack­ag­ing prin­ci­ples.

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