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The Quail Auction / 1965 Fiat 500 Jolly Giardiniera Chassis no. 136619

Lot 38
1965 Fiat 500 Jolly Giardiniera
19 August 2022, 11:00 PDT
Carmel, Quail Lodge & Golf Club

Lot to be sold without reserve

US$100,000 - US$130,000

Ask about this lot

1965 Fiat 500 Jolly Giardiniera
Coachwork by Ghia

Chassis no. 136619

499cc OHV Inline 2-Cylinder Engine
Single Carburetor
22bhp at 4,000rpm
4-Speed Manual Transmission
4-Wheel Independent Suspension
4-Wheel Drum Brakes

*Beautifully presented example of the charming FIAT Jolly
*Resided in California since 1973
*Rare spacious Giardiniera model with Ghia coachwork
*Ready for the beach or the ranch


As redolent of La Dolce Vita Italy as the immortal Vespa scooter, the 'beach car' is most famously embodied by Ghia's Jolly, unquestionably the best known of the many alternatives to the standard FIAT 500 and 600 models ranges offered by some of Italy's finest carrozzeria.

Born of FIAT boss Gianni Agnelli's wish for open motorized transport from his massive yacht, the Agneta, during port stops along the Mediterranean coast, the finished car was dubbed 'Jolly de Plage', or Joker of the Beach. Based on the 500 and 600 models' unitary construction, these agile compacts featured independent suspension, a four-speed synchronized transmission, with the engine at the rear. The 0.5-Liter air-cooled twin was hardly a performer, but light construction (and mostly low-speed intended uses) made the package work well.

The Jolly found favor as courtesy transport for patrons of luxury hotels and golf courses, such as Catalina Island off the coast of California, where a fleet of 32 Jolly's provided taxi service or, as initially intended, for use ashore after one had docked one's yacht on the Italian or French Riviera. Lacking doors and equipped with waterproof wickerwork seats, the Jolly was only practical as leisure transport, thus confirming its owner's status as someone who could afford a car 'just for fun' (indeed, the Jolly was roughly twice the price of the base model it was derived from). Among the list of Jolly owners in the day are jet setters such as Aristotle Onassis, Yul Brynner, John Wayne, Grace Kelly, Henry Ford II, and even President Lyndon Johnson.


Built in 1965, this gorgeous FIAT 500 Jolly has resided in California since 1973, when it was imported directly from Italy. A copy of its 1973 California title is included, and clearly states the car is a Jolly model. This Jolly spent most of its life in Palm Desert and most recently in Newport Beach. This particular example is one of a small number of Jollies based on the extended platform Giardiniera estate version of the 500, with the engine under the boot floor, affording a generous luggage area to carry your Louis Vuitton suitcases. In 2019, this Jolly was fully disassembled and nicely restored to the fantastic Red over Tan Wicker colors it wears today.

A very honest and well-kept Jolly, this fine example was recently fitted with new BF Goodrich Silvertown white-wall tires, with new upgraded Jolly hubcaps. Complete with its spare tire, as well as an original jack, tool kit and first aid kit, this charming Jolly was recently awarded at the Balboa Bay Club's Father's Day car show. The car did have a recent servicing including an oil change, new spark plugs, push rod tubes and gaskets replaced, new engine and transmission mounts, as well as a new exhaust system differing from the one shown in the photos. Some receipts will be included with the car.

Beautifully presented inside and out, this charming Fiat would be a great choice for the ranch, beach, yacht club, or racing paddock, and will surely initiate smiles and conversations wherever it goes. This Jolly is ready to be driven and enjoyed.

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