1968 Fiat 500F Bambino Coupe
As a symbol of Italy, there can be no better automotive example than the Fiat 500 and it has now reached cult car status around the world. Launched as the Nuova 500 in 1957, the Fiat provided mass transportation for millions of Italians and ultimately remained in production for the best part of twenty years. Build quality on these early cars was somewhat suspect but improved markedly with the 500D of 1960, as did performance thanks to the increase in capacity of the air-cooled twin-cylinder engine from 479cc to 499cc (there was now 18bhp on tap). The 500F produced from 1965 until 1972 saw the biggest changes yet, with front-hinged doors replacing the suicide doors of the original, deeper windscreens, thicker pillars and a taller bodyshell to improve safety and interior space. With a modified carburettor pushing out an additional 1bhp, performance reached new heights and the 500F was capable of a genuine 100km/h. The tiny Fiat could be found squeezed into the most unlikely parking spaces on any street in Rome, Naples or Milan for years but now are sadly becoming all too rare both in Italy and elsewhere and good survivors have long been regarded as collectible by enthusiasts around the world.