1972 Fiat 500L

Highlights


• Charming original feel throughout
• Light restoration completed
• Drives extremely well without fault
• Original Italian car, imported to the UK

THE BACKGROUND


When Fiat’s ‘Nuova’ 500 was launched in Italy in 1957, it was hardly the last word in power and speed thanks to its 479cc (later upgraded to 499cc) two-cylinder air-cooled engine, initially producing a fairly unexceptional 13bhp. Despite its limited power, this Italian bambino thrived on high revs and hard work and still feels pretty nippy around the city. With its ‘chuckable’ handling and tiny turning circle, is remains to this day, the ideal navigator for the busy streets of Rome, Milan or Milton Keynes. Even six decades on from its launch, you’re hard pushed to wander those beautiful Italian back streets, without frequently running into a classic Fiat 500.

During a production run lasting well into the 1970s, the Fiat 500 received various upgrades and minor power increases, but at no time did it suffer from a loss of character, charm or utilitarian appeal. The final 500L, while fractionally less basic still hit all the right notes to produce a sweet symphony of Italian urban motoring. 

Introduced in 1967, the L, known as the Lusso, was the luxurious model (relatively speaking) which offered a moderately upgraded interior with better materials. This more modern interior featured a new black steering wheel, plastic dashboard, pleated upholstery to the door panels, reclining seats and carpeting.

1972 Fiat 500L_02.jpg 2.47 MB


THE HISTORY


There is very little known of this little 500L’s history. The previous owner imported the car from Italy in 2017 and it is known that this 500 was in private ownership in Italy, prior to coming to the UK. 

Relayed conversation from owner to owner, has confirmed that it spent a good portion of its time under cover and during its final period in Italy, the car has been subject to a light restoration, resulting in a refreshed but original feel to the car. 

THE PAPERWORK


The paperwork is a similar story to the history, in that unfortunately there is very little by way of documentation. Included with the car is a V5 logbook demonstrating registration in the UK, verifying successful importation from Italy and the registration number issued by the DVLA.

Additionally, there is a previous MOT – dated 2017 – which suggested the car was tested for safety onto UK roads, following its import from Italy.

More recently, there is an HPI check, which shows the vehicle is clear of any issues relating to finance, insurance write-off, theft and various other checks. Noting of course this applies to its time since being in the UK. Finally, there are a couple of documents relating to recent parts, including gearbox mounting rubbers and chrome headlight surrounds.

THE INTERIOR


The black interior throughout this 500L suggests a combination of careful ownership and work undertaken during the restoration, where the overall condition of the cabin is in great shape, albeit basically appointed. The seats front and rear and the carpets throughout are believed to be original, showing marginal signs of use and without any nasty rips, tears or marking. 

The dashboard and instruments are again a fairly basic affair, but all appear original and present extremely well. Switches and controls are all believed to be working as they should, with no noted issues or faults.

Chrome and plastic fittings throughout the interior show minimal but genuine signs of wear, commensurate with the age of the car. Other contact points and areas of typical wear or aging, including door seals, pedal rubbers, seat belts and door thresholds all present extremely well, no doubt owing to the restoration. The patina of metal fittings and exposed paintwork is seemingly genuine and reassuring, opposed to a cover-up during restoration.

Finally, the inside of the fabric opening roof is in great condition, folding back in its charmingly basic way, just as it should.

THE EXTERIOR 


The exterior shape and design of the iconic Fiat 500 is just as charming and cute as you could hope for. This one certainly does not disappoint. The relatively fresh-looking paintwork, which is believed to have been a full body respray during the restoration, is in fine condition and in its standout orange colour, compliments the lines of the little Italian just perfectly.

The brightwork of the grille, headlights, wheels and various pieces of exterior chrome, work wonderfully with the bold exterior colour.

There is some minimal pitting of the chrome, the odd stone chip and a few light scratches to the paint upon very close inspection, the glass of the windscreen and lights present in a nice clear condition but overall, the car presents very well indeed. 

The under-bonnet mechanicals, and the underside of the car appears to have benefitted from a sheltered life in a dry garage and the efforts and work during the restoration. Crawling under the car, there is only the slightest signs of surface rust on the components, in keeping with the general condition throughout. 

Finally, the pleasingly bright chrome capped wheels, recently underwent fresh paint and as such are still in a very attractive state. All four tyres look to have covered very few miles, are in good condition, with plenty of remaining tread.

THE MECHANICS 


The engine, its associated ancillaries and mechanicals all match up to the outward appearance of the car, which in general presents as a well-maintained car in strong mechanical condition. It starts promptly without hesitation and has no concerning sights or sounds when on the move, coming to a stop or shutting off the engine. It is pleasantly nimble and zippy, gear selection is without issue, and it rides happily on the open road and through the corners.

While there is little to back up the mechanical state in terms of documentation, the condition is clearly evident when reviewing the car and while out on a drive. 

THE APPEAL


This striking little Italian is a fine-looking example of one of motoring’s most iconic designs. While the backstory is light and lacking in detail, what sits before you is clearly the result of some hard labour. 

This classic little utilitarian is a charismatic example of back-to-basics enjoyable driving, proving you don’t need to have big horsepower, to have big thrills.

Production may have ceased decades ago, but Italian roads are still home to numerous Fiat 500s, from the back streets of Rome to the vineyard lined countryside. They remain a popular choice for navigating the tight alleys and bustling piazzas of Turin. That said, the Fiat 500 is equally impressive meandering through British villages or parked up for a pub lunch. There’s no doubt this 500L will spark admirable conversation wherever it goes.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1972
  • Make Fiat
  • Model 500L
  • Colour Red
  • Odometer 61,803 Kilometers
  • Engine size 500
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Trade
  • Location Dorset
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
17 bids
  • jo•••• £6,900 26/07/21
  • Br•••• £6,800 26/07/21
  • jo•••• £6,700 26/07/21
  • Br•••• £6,600 26/07/21
  • jo•••• £6,500 26/07/21
  • Br•••• £6,400 26/07/21
  • jo•••• £6,300 26/07/21
  • To•••• £6,200 26/07/21
  • To•••• £6,100 26/07/21
  • Br•••• £6,000 22/07/21

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