The Fiat 500 was one of the first cars that were specially developed for use in the city. Designed by Dante Giacosa, it was produced by Italian auto manufacturer Fiat from 1957 to 1975, but its limited edition model, the 500 K, remained in production until 1977.
The first Fiat 500 was released in July, 1957 as the Nuova 500. Measuring only about 10 feet long, it was equipped with an air-cooled 479 cc two-cylinder engine that produced only 13 hp. Similar to its predecessor, the 1955 Fiat 600, it was rear-engined. It also featured a fabric roof that could be folded back to the rear, as well as “suicide doors”. A more stylish and sportier version of this car was also available, and it had a red stripe and a more powerful 499 cc engine. The Nuova 500 was practical and affordable, and it gained considerable popularity in Europe.
The original 500 was replaced by the 500 D in 1960. This new model had a 499 cc engine with 17 hp as standard, and it was fitted with a new roof, which could not fold as far back as the one on the Nuova 500. In the same year, Fiat also introduced the 500 K. Also known as the Giardiniera, this car would become the longest running of all 500 models. With its engine located under the boot, it had a flat loading surface, and it was the only model that featured “suicide doors” until the 1970s.