This 1971 Fiat 500L is beautiful in its baby blue paintwork (Azzurro Bambino, if you will). It came into this country from a private museum in Cosenza, Italy and was cossetted in a collection of ‘people’s cars’ and is only being sold to finance the purchase of an oval window Beetle.
Being a 500L (the L stands for Lusso) the car comes as standard with chromed nudge bars and an updated dashboard, but there is little else that can be described as luxury – this is a people’s car after all.
Whoever restored the car in Italy can be proud of their work as the car seems superb. It may be that the floors and wheel arches appear to have never been welded or it may be that someone took a lot of trouble to replicate the factory spot welds. Either way, it seems to have an extremely straight bodyshell. If there is a fault with the paintwork, it is that it is too good to be a factory finish.
The attention to detail persists throughout the car with the flimsy door-cards and fragile door-pockets looking as though they have just been fitted. The upholstery has a showroom-fresh appearance and the sun-roof looks as though it has never been out in the rain.
Mechanically the car is all standard. The engine bay contains the mighty 499cc twin air-cooled engine coupled to a four-speed non-synchro gearbox (double declutching adds to the fun of driving a 500). The 18bhp engine is good enough to waft you along at close to 70mph – the trick is to get it up to speed, keep your right foot planted, use the gears, and never, never back off. If that sounds cruel to the poor little bambino, don’t worry, it’s only the Italian way, and it’ll respect you for it. You may also expect a fantastic 50mpg at the same time.
The V5C and handbook are supplied and the vendor hopes to have a valid MOT done in time for the sale.