Hammond's icons: Fiat 500
Voted TG’s sexiest car of all time, there’s something about the 500 that captures the soul…
Posted: 19 Oct 2012
It might be tiny - and my God, it is just miniscule - but it had a big job to do when it was launched in 1957 into a post-war Italy full of people desperate to own a car. Admittedly, they weren'ttoo fussy. Nobody cared how itsy it was, just as long as it wasn't another bloody scooter. Not that the 500 was all that far from being a scooter. It had a roof, which was an improvement, yes, but its 479cc made just 13bhp. That's modest for a pencil sharpener. A time for 0-60mph was not quoted. Because it never actually reached 60mph. But it did the job required of it and is widely thought of as the car that mobilised post-war Italy.
Yes, it's small and underpowered, but it is possessed of some magical magnetism or extra gravity that had me running towards it like a streaker across a tennis court.