1959 FIAT 600 Two-Door Sedan
Chassis no. 100 553647
The 600 was a rousing success for FIAT.
Combining the company's expertise in building lightweight but powerful little four-cylinder engines and the packaging benefits of a rear-engine, rear-wheel drive layout, FIAT built a roomy, versatile, functional and reliable sedan adaptable to a variety of uses on a single platform.
FIAT's experience with ultra-small sedans and coupés began in the mid-30s with the Topolino, which inspired an almost fanatical devotion and enthusiasm. Its 569cc water-cooled side-valve inline four cylinder pumped out just 13 brake horsepower but put the nation of Italy on wheels. The tiny engine was placed in front of the centerline of the front wheels, driving the rear wheels through a long, low driveshaft. The clever packaging of the Topolino contributed both to its surprising interior room and to its somewhat "Mickey Mouse" appearance.
Revised after the war with overhead valves and 16.5 brake horsepower, production of the Topolino continued essentially unchanged except for adding a station wagon until it was succeeded in 1955 by the 600. It turned the Topolino's drivetrain around, placing the 633cc 22hp engine behind the rear wheels integrated with the clutch, differential and 4-speed gearbox. The arrangement created even more interior room. Now a true four-seater with four-wheel independent suspension, the 600 had power enough to handle a family, their possessions, or the tools and inventory of a tradesman or farmer. To free up even more space FIAT packaged the engine cooling radiator at the rear next to the engine, making the space under the hood available for secure, protected storage of luggage and other possessions.
It was a masterpiece of innovative design and packaging and shortly after the revised 600D was introduced in 1960 FIAT passed the milestone of building one million 600s.
The 600's practicality makes them attractive today, but even more it is their amazing versatility and whimsical appearance that generates interest and instant affection for them. Bigger than a bubblecar but smaller than just about anything else on the road (just 10½ feet from bumper to bumper and weighing only 1,300 pounds), the FIAT 600 is practical transportation for a family and an ideal parts-runner for a collection, museum, or restoration or race shop.
Mike Amalfitano's 1959 FIAT 600 is a well preserved and continuously maintained example of the first, suicide door, generation of these charming haulers. Finished in bright red complemented by red-piped gray upholstery and interior trim and black rubber floor mats, it has cream steel wheels with hubcaps, blackwall tires and front and rear bumper overriders. The only interior deviations from stock are an aftermarket three-spoke steering wheel, a pair of engine gauges mounted under the dashboard and an old-style Amco wood shift knob. An antenna offers some prospects of tunes but awaits the new owner's choice and installation of a radio.
The engine compartment is essentially stock and very clean and orderly, with just a set of tube headers hinting at a modest increase in power and a remotely-mounted oil filter to help preserve the engine.
As a grocery-getter, parts-runner or just a fun weekend cruiser around town, at the lake or down to the beach it's hard to imagine a more enjoyable, friendly ride. Basic and simple to own and maintain, economical of resources, fuel and space, practical and fun, it is ready for instant enjoyment.
- This lot includes two window glasses, a window channel, and a box of spares including shocks, brake parts and wheel bearings.
The title for this lot is in transit.