1959 “Suicide Door” Fiat 600
Truly Exceptional “Nut & Bolt” Restoration to the Highest Standards
Professionally Restored with Incredible Attention to Detail and Authenticity by a Premier Restorer of Ferrari’s Race Cars and Other Specialty Pebble Beach Level Examples
FIAT 600 HISTORY
Introduced in 1955 as a replacement to the Fiat Topolino, the Fiat 600 was produced from 1955 to 1969, during which time over 1.5 million cars were produced. Unlike its predecessor, the car was designed to accommodate 4 people and, with its 4 cylinder engine, be capable of speeds in excess of 65 mph. The Fiat was a perfect choice for a “City Car” measuring just over 10.5 feet in length and 4.5’ wide. To say it was fuel efficient would be an understatement, achieving a 45+ mpg rating.
Today, locating a solid, original, and rust free 600 has become increasingly difficult, in part, as a result of the high volume of cars that did not survive in “rust zones” around the globe. The Fiat 600’s remained similar in configuration over the course of time with only minimal changes to the grills and front bumpers and trim. The more desirable cars are the 600’s with “suicide doors“(hinged at the rear, not the front as traditional cars today) are those typically produced prior to the 1960’s when the configuration of the doors was changed. Today, “suicide doors” (have become popular after a long absence and can be found on the Rolls Royce Phantom, and custom manufactured automobiles).
THIS PARTICULAR FIAT 600
This 1959 Fiat 600 has a long and fascinating history in California with an indication of limited San Francisco Bay area owners. The odometer currently reads 23, but, of course, it would be virtually impossible to accurately determining the actual mileage on this 60 year old Fiat 600.
Supporting documents that will be included to support the Fiats California history and other rarely seen documents include the following:
– Authentic “Pink Slip” (not a copy but the original…not sure how this occurred, but it is not a copy) for the owner in nearby Redwood City with an expiration date of 1974
– Another ORIGINAL “Pink Slip” documented the ownership of the Fiat from dated 1981 with a new local owner that, at the time, resided in San Mateo, CA
– Original Owner’s / Service Manual (In English) “Instruction Book”
– Original Service Booklet (In Italian) “Uso e Manutenzione”
– Historical Registration Slips
– Copy of the Hillsborough Concours D’Elegance Program with Fiat pictured
The original ID plate is in place identifying the car as chassis # 100.000 629317 with engine # 694862. The chassis number stamped on the rear compartment “firewall” matches the plate chassis # and the plate appears to be 100% original / authentic, as do the Phillips head fastening screws. The engine number on the block is also 694862 making this example “numbers matching.” We were unable to locate paint codes but suspect this is a custom color that, frankly, is absolutely gorgeous; especially with the light contrasting two-tone beige interior. Please note: The yellow license plates shown on the Fiat are for display only. The car carries newer California plates and is currently licensed and registered through 10/22/18. Of course, the Fiat carries a clean, transferable California title.
Most are narratives (including ours!) are very lengthy and include details on the condition of the vehicle and including strengths and “opportunity areas.” Frankly, the quality of this Fiat makes our job easy. The car represents a truly exceptional restoration of a rare Fiat 600 completed, not only by a professional restoration company, but one of the premier specialists known for the restoration of Italian collectibles to a Pebble Beach standard. While the car was done several years ago, it has been used very sparingly and all indications, including minimal “burning” of the exhaust system, suggest the car has been driven very little. The current owner estimates that no more than a few thousand miles were accumulated since the cars restoration was completed.
The car has been owned by the same family for a reported 25~ year period and the restoration was completed over the course of many years. The cosmetic condition rates extremely high and compares with the restoration work that would be seen on a high level exotic, or a car built for show use. The minimal use that the 600has seen has not caused virtually no cosmetic imperfections and the cars exterior is totally free from damage. During the restoration, virtually all of the exterior, interior, trunk, and engine components were replaced, restored, or replated. The interior on the Fiat is exceptional and the light beige two-tone custom interior is a striking contrast to the exterior color that we describe as a “Deep Plum” color. It is non-metallic and the car was, as you would expect, re-painted devoid of all of the trim and totally disassembled. The paint is flat, extremely high gloss with no signs of poor preparation or lower level work that we sometimes see on vehicles that are being “flipped” for quick sale. In fact, this car was completed by the owner of the restoration facility as a personal car and was shown (trailed) to the now defunct, but well know, Hillsborough Concours d’ Elegance. A photo of the car at the event in the 56th annual publication will be provided to the cars new owner.
As expected, the Fiat 600 has excellent panel fit with doors that close solidly, proper hood with release that works, and a rear deck lid that closes well and releases with the original handle. The windows roll-up easily and seat tightly as does the beautiful canvas top that locks securely and folds back.
The car is retains its original instrument cluster and what appears to be the original dash switches, lights and other items including the rear view mirror. The temptation to replace the warning light lenses with brand new units was resisted in order to retain the patina of the original items. The dash and the entire interior can be seen in the numerous interior photos, including the rear seat that folds down and can be used for carrying / storing larger items. The dash was completely restored as was the steering wheel and air horns were added for safety.
The trunk and engine compartments also received a comprehensive restoration. The trunk is fitted with a factory correct spare, restored jack and lug wrench. The gas tank has been re-done and the original wiper bag has been retained.
The engine is clean and, for a Fiat of this vintage, and relatively dry due to having been totally rebuilt by a local Fiat specialist. Original style stickers can be seen on the air cleaner unit and the side of the engine. The engine bay sheet metal has been replaced and the engine bay is properly configured and correct.
The Fiat starts runs and drives extremely well with the factory floor mounted choke and starter “pulls” in place. Even after sitting for some time, the 600 fires up instantly and warms up with the functional choke. The brakes are excellent, stop the car straight and sure, and the emergency brake is functional. The engine, clutch and transmission, show no signs of problems and the Fiats electrical system is functional including working headlights, turn signals, wipers and brake lights. Wheels were restored and tires replaced in the proper size.
We have always preferred the drivability of the Fiat 600 vs. the “500” as the 4 cylinder engine makes the car drivable at speeds above 60 mph. In fact, on our drive to take photos, we drove the Fiat comfortably at 65 mph, top open, and loving every minute on the way to our Winery photo site. The gearing of the “600” makes the car great fun to drive around town. The Fiat shifts very well with excellent synchros, a properly adjusted clutch, and nimble, precise steering.
This particular Fiat 600 would make a spectacular car for a Winery or Italian business / restaurant and is reliable to be used on a regular basis. The overall quality of the restoration would also allow the new owner to show the car at any level show where it would be well received and likely to receive recognition. This is a special little car, indeed.