Featured: This Fiat Jolly is An Occasion

This Fiat Jolly is An Occasion

By Petrolicious Productions
April 20, 2015

Owner & Photographer: Blake Keesee

I’m 17 years old I’d like to share a few stories about my little classic car. My dad and I share it, but I can count the number of times I’ve seen him with it on one hand…

Anyway, it’s a 1958 Fiat 500 Jolly. We initially acquired it for use out in Sag Harbor, NY, but after we stopped going there, we brought it back home to Oklahoma City, where it lives. It’s dark green with a natural wicker interior and a hilarious light green surrey top. We don’t keep the top on.

I initially got into cars with Hot Wheels, and from there always loved to tinker with things. Luckily, we chose this car before they became too popular, so it was more of just a, “Look at that, that’s adorable,” than a, “Hmm, we should buy this as an investment” sort of thing. It clicked for us.

The story on how we found it wasn’t too crazy, but when my dad took delivery of it, he hid it—along with a ’67 Lincoln that he also bought—in a friend’s garage in Colorado Springs. We went down there together for lunch and that was how he broke the news that he had acquired them. We have a couple other old cars too, but the Jolly is probably the most unique.

There are few good roads in Oklahoma, but I’ll occasionally take it up Route 66 to the old family farm and take another hidden road that I like to take back, with some vast countryside along it.

Since it is Italian, I don’t like to go anyplace too desolate because chances are its roots may be seen, and I’ll be stuck on the side of the road looking at it rather than driving it! So I usually piddle around the neighborhood, or bring it to Coffee and Cars.

But I love the Jolly because unlike any other car, going anywhere with it is an adventure. The engine is so loud and so underpowered that you have to take it up to the limiter before a gear change, listening to that roaring two cylinder squeak—and you feel like Mario Andretti when you drive at 30 mph.

Even now, it’s just such a perfect car for so many things. It’s a great car to go to dinner on an Oklahoma summer evening in, or pick up a friend and go get some ice cream, or just get lost in the city and enjoy the sheer joy that the car brings you. It’s hopelessly impractical, it’s great looking, and when you arrive anywhere—from the country club to a gas station—it’s an occasion.

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9 years ago

Wow a jolly! Nice little motor. What’s with the headlights? Are they an aftermarket add on? The 500 didn’t have such large headlights.

Jean-Noël Fermaud
Jean-Noël Fermaud
6 years ago
Reply to  Nick

The Jolly had these special lights, but I can’t tell you if it’s the case for all of them, or if there has been different series.

Stephan P
Stephan P
9 years ago

Great story. Your use of the car seems perfect and I can certainly see the appeal of these cars, just not at today’s prices. You’re lucky you got it when you did and can enjoy it.

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