Saturday, March 26, 2011

The return of the Fiat... 500

My girlfriend loves the Fiat 500 Abarth, and took countless pictures of the Fiat 500 when we were traveling through Barcelona.  Chrysler, the red headed stepchild of the auto industry, finally has a new home after being dropped like a bad habit by Daimler (parent company of Mercedes).

The car has been in production since 1957, and is now probably one of the longest continuous production models that is in production now.  Like the Dr. Who TV series, they somehow learn to reinvent themselves, survive, and never go away.  The current generation Fiat 500 is designed by the same individual that designed the Mini, which makes sense since that will be the exact car the Fiat 500 will be competing with.  Biggest difference is the base "sport" model comes with a 100 hp engine, compared to the 160 hp for the Mini.  But the small engine also translates to some very impressive MPG ratings.

For better or worse, the US delivery Fiat 500s are manufactured and assembled in Mexico, which probably will mean they will be more reliable than their Italian counterparts.  The vehicle went on sale 2-weeks ago, and the first batch of these vehicles already sold out.  Like the re-introduction of the Mini Cooper, there will probably be a premium that dealers will charge you for being one of the first owners.  Personally, I'd wait until all the media frenzy and surge in demand die down.  In the meantime, you can virtually build one here.

Walking in downtown Palo Alto one Saturday, guess what?  I saw one of the originals!

The Fiat was very well taken care of, and beautifully restored.  

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