1973 FIAT 500R
ENGINE 594cc/2-cyl/OHV POWER 23hp@4800rpm TORQUE 29lb ft@3400rpm MAXIMUM SPEED 65mph 0-50mph 24sec ECONOMY 35-45mpg TRANSMISSION RWD, four-speed manual MoT 12 months from sale ODOMETER 7079 miles (11,394km)
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?
Being a later car, this Fiat has a 594cc engine which, although only 95cc more than the earlier unit, feels quicker and delivers a happier driving experience. The car also has a synchromesh gearbox, albeit with a rather notchy gearchange. In fact this Fiat feels almost as chuckable as a Mini – and there’s just enough power to go for those gaps in the traffic. It takes a while to build up a head of steam; but once there it’ll thrash along at 50-55mph. This example has the feel of a car that has been used regularly and well maintained.
This car seems extremely solid inside and out, and we found nothing that should ring any alarm bells with a potential buyer. The paintwork no longer gleams but it’s still in very good condition, with just a few minor stonechips to attend to – and the Fiat badge on the front has some faded paint. There are certainly no runs or overspray, and the colour suits the car really well. The chrome – what little there is of it – is in very good condition, as are the wheels and tyres.
HOW’S THE INTERIOR?
Everything is basic but highly functional – and really cuts it as a fine piece of design. The cabin is remarkably and pleasingly original and again in excellent order, even down to the door cards and rubber mats. All the (admittedly minimal) switchgear and instrumentation behaves as it should. the interior paintwork is good and the vinyl seats are free from rips or signs of repair. They’re more comfortable than they look too. The fabric sunroof looks to be in excellent condition with no leaks.
UNDER THE BONNET
The car starts instantly and there are no ominous sounds from any mechanical source. It’s recently been treated to many new parts, including front brake shoes, wheel cylinders, seatbelts, ignition coil, air filter, fuel filter and spark plugs. The tiny engine isn’t prepared to show standard but is extremely clean, without the slightest hint of contamination or damage. The gearbox and suspension both work faultlessly.
THE CCW VERDICT
The car was imported from Italy in 2014 and, like many classics coming into Britain from that country in recent years, it doesn’t have a big history file. However, it’s patently obvious that it has always been looked after. Much as we’re sure everyone loves the challenge of double-declutching, the synchromesh and larger engine of this relatively late 500 are major advantages. Given the car’s seeming excellent condition and reliability record, plus the fine colour, we can recommend it wholeheartedly. And don’t let the left-hand drive put you off – it’s not a problem in a car of this size. And let’s face it – you won’t be doing much overtaking anyway.
ASKING £7995 PRICE