Featured: Riviera Flare: Meet The Fiat 500 Spiaggina, A Tribute To The Original Jolly

Riviera Flare: Meet The Fiat 500 Spiaggina, A Tribute To The Original Jolly

Petrolicious Productions By Petrolicious Productions
July 5, 2018
8 comments

60 years ago and a day ago, on July 4th, 1958, the first Fiat Jolly—the wicker-seated “Spiaggina” beach cruiser—became a bonafide street car. The company took the already irresistibly charming 500 and made it even more so by getting rid of its roof and turning the city car into a drivable riviera cabana. That was the first special edition of the 500 that would go on to see many modifications in its time, and now six decades later Fiat has partnered with Garage Italia and Pininfarina to produce this stunning little show car: the 500 Spiaggina.

Though the originals will always be the really precious ones—especially those bespoke creations once belonging to Fiat’s own Gianni Agnelli like the one we uncovered a few months ago—we have to say that this new vision does justice to the carefree attitude of the cars it pays tribute to. The windscreen has been severely shortened and resembles a svelte powerboat’s more than a car’s; the chassis strengthening carried out by Pininfarina lets the car go fully topless save for a single roll hoop; the rear seats have been ditched and replaced by a yacht-like storage area fitted with slatted cork floors and a working beach shower; the front seats have been married into a classic bench layout covered in waterproofed two-tone leather; there are hooks built into the car to make loading and unloading from your seafaring vessel of choice that much easier; and though its Pirelli tires benefit from contemporary technology and years of development, the white wall design anchors the styling in the late-’50s aesthetic that helped to define what it meant to be living la dolce vita.

The car marks an important milestone in the history of the Italian marque, and it does so with a model that’s bound to create a whole now round of swooning. Fiat has never been the kind of Italian company that one associates with the supercars of Lamborghini or Ferrari (though the latter connection might say otherwise), and to celebrate their history with anything other than a car like this would feel like missing the point. After all, when we think back that far into history, into the late-’50s, we see a country experiencing its post-war rebound with a verve and an eye for style that could only point to Italy. And this car is pure Italy. Garage Italia, the company behind the styling of the Spiaginna show car, is chaired and directed by the Lapo Elkann, the grandson of Agnelli, and Pininfarina has long been assisting the design work for the legendary automaker. The roofless runabout embodies the taste of the Tricolore, and is proof that you don’t need hundreds of horsepower and aggressive downforce to make a statement in the modern age of the automobile.

And if you’re thinking “Well it’s just another concept that I won’t get to drive let alone see,” know that Fiat is planning a production series of the car as well, for those of us without the desire or means to commission one of the special Garage Italia editions. The tamer, more production-like special edition from Fiat will be called the “Spiaggina ’58” and while it’s not nearly as extreme as the version pictured above, it’s still a nice nod to the original idea.

Join the Conversation
Related

8
Leave a Reply

7 Comment threads
1 Thread replies
7 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
7 Comment authors
Dan KauffmanMartin PhilippoBill MeyerDeanBill Meyer Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Dan Kauffman
Dan Kauffman

Who cares? Well, Garage Italia cared enough to build it, Petrolicious cared enough to post it, some fellow readers cared enough to comment… so I say a few people do. Regardless of price tag, limited editions do serve a purpose. They show creativity in design, showcase some new technology, or are simply for fun. The 500 has a lot of history of odd ball special editions so why should the modern one be left out? I for one could not be happier that this little ride exists and it makes it very tempting to turn my beloved 500C into this.… Read more »

Bill Meyer
Bill Meyer

Well GS, once again you have educated me as to what’s cool. Steve McQueen is gone but we’ve still got you.

Dean
Dean

I have never seen this before! I want to laugh and ridicule the two-tone interior but…damn if its not growing on me. This little gizmo is cool! Thanks for the article!

Bill Meyer
Bill Meyer

Too cool for words……..I thought the Multipla was fabulous but this…….ah.

Martin Philippo
Martin Philippo

That is completely and only your opinion Mr Kafka. I, however, think it is cool. And I am right. As right as you think you are.

Linda N Brian Schick
Linda N Brian Schick

From Al Capone to this; what a shame!

JB21
JB21

Let me be brave and claim, that boggo standard Fait 500 is a properly fun small car. I know, Abarth steals all the thunders, and while Abarth is wicked, a lot of people are simply wrong about standard 500. It may very well be the last properly cheap-and-cheerful new small car on the US soil (yeah yeah, Fiesta, but Fiesta is so huge!). This thing, by the way, is wonderful!

Gonzalo
Gonzalo

pretty!