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.
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.
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.
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.
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.