In 1957, Fiat introduced the 500. Cute and affordable, it was an instant hit, shifting nearly four million units and mobilising a post-war generation. More than that, it defined a genre of city cars for decades to come, encapsulating an effortless, Italian chic that no car has matched since.
In 1957, Vauxhall introduced the Victor. Apparently, it was OK, but everyone was too busy admiring the 500 to notice.
Such is the weight of history Vauxhall faces with its new Adam. By setting its sights on the all-conquering 500, it is attempting to overhaul not only the metrosexual market leader, but 56 years of history. The new 500 has been such a cash calf for Fiat, not simply because it’s a fine little city car but because it allows feckless urbanites to buy into that whole La Dolce Vita, ciao bella thing. The Adam has no such recognisable image on which to trade, so it’s attempting to catch the 500 from a standing start.
Words: Sam Philip
Pictures: Lee Brimble
This feature first appeared in Top Gear magazine.