Generations Timeline, Specs and Pictures
For the 50th anniversary of the original Fiat 600, the Italian carmaker changed the name of the Seicento (six hundred) into 600.
But it was more than that.
Since Fiat introduced the Seicento in 1998, it sold 1.1 million units sold worldwide by 2005. It was a great success for the Italian brand and, somehow, it wanted to show its appreciation for the historic model 600. It wasn’t just a badge on the fenders and different upholstery.
At the front, the 2005 model 600 featured the same Fiat’s badge design as it was in 1955 with white on blue lettering inside a chromed ring, plus two wings on its sides. A special, limited edition, a 50th-anniversary model was also introduced. It was offered in a light tan color with unique markings on the sides. The light-alloy wheels featured a special design with eight spokes.
As most of the anniversary car editions, it also featured distinct upholstery, with the Fiat logo printed on the front seats’ seatbacks. Its specific colors, with light beige and gray, offered a luminous interior for the four passengers who could sit inside the car. The 600 was the smallest four-seat car on the market when it was introduced, and the 2005 model stepped on its paths.
Fiat’s intention was to build efficient cars with great fuel efficiency and enough ability to find parking spots where most of the other cars could just dream of. Under the hood, the 2005 600 featured a 1.1-liter four-pot engine, paired to a 5-speed manual.
Two years before the first Fiat 500 Nuova rolled out of the assembly lane, Fiat introduced the 600 model, a car that redefined the family vehicle.
The 600 started its career in 1955 as a replacement for the Fiat Topolino, which was on the market since 1936. But the Italian carmaker didn’t have too many resources after WWII, and that made it look to the small segment. It was the first Fiat with a rear-engine, and it was its first big success after the war. While it wasn’t as successful as the 500, the 600 was the car to get for four adults on a long trip. It was more than a city car.
Fiat hired Dante Giacosa to design the 600. It was the same man that designed the Topolino. The Italian carmaker insisted on having a rear-engine vehicle, despite the designer being a big fan of front-wheel-drive cars. Giacosa created the vehicle big enough to fit four adults inside, but not bigger than that. The bubble-like roof was needed to offer decent headroom for the rear seat passengers. There was plenty of room in the front, anyway. The 600 featured flush to the fenders doors and rounded edges.
Inside, the 600 featured a long, metallic dash panel with the speedometer installed in an instrument cluster right in front of the driver. Since the car was very narrow, the designer installed handles to close the doors and vinyl pockets. Under the dashboard, he mounted a shelf.
Under the hood, Fiat installed a water-cooled four-cylinder engine that produced just 21 hp. It was paired to a 4-speed manual gearbox.