1959 Fiat 600 Mutlipla

Remember the future? This Fiat is over 50 years old but solves some problems automakers are still struggling with today: size, space, efficiency, and affordability.

The Multipla is actually based on the 600, a two-door subcompact from Fiat that was essentially to the Italians what the Austin Cooper was to the British. Over 2 million Fiat 600 cars were made. But the setup was more intriguing than any Mini Cooper: the 600 featured a rear-mounted engine propelling the rear wheels, more similar to Volkswagen of the same era.

In 1956 Fiat introduced the Multipla. It used a 600 chassis stretched by around 10 inches, but featured the same rear-engine, rear-wheel drive layout. The driver's seat was pushed forward, eliminating a front hood and cargo space. The rest of the interior was devoted to either one or two bench seats or a flat floor, possibly seating up to 6 people, including the driver.

Behind the interior lay the engine, usually a straight 4-cylinder engine producing a modest twenty something horsepower.

The car had a top speed of just under 60 mph, accelerated to 50 mph in 43 seconds, and got 38 miles per gallon. The price in pounds was originally £799, or around $20k in today's dollars when adjusted for inflation.

243,000 units were made until 1969.

The no-nonsense seller details what seems to be a mind-boggling nut-and-bolt inside-and-out restoration to pristine (but not original) condition. The engine was replaced with a slightly larger 850cc unit that provides more power. The axles, brakes and body were stripped to bare and completely rebuilt from scratch. Rust was replaced with new metal.

The car is finished in two-tone multi-stage modern urethane paint, using what the seller calls "Aston Martin Green" for the lower half and smoked silver for the top. The interior and engine compartment are also finished in the green. Along with the UK-sourced Minilite wheels, it gives the car a British vibe which works but is somewhat sad considering the Multipla should really be a source of Italian pride. It also begs what the original color combination was.

Regardless, this is what a no-expense-spared restoration usually looks like. Time, energy, money and passion were clearly put into this. The car not only looks good, but the seller says it's fully functional and completely usable in modern traffic.

Find it here on ebay in Irvine, California with bidding at $27,632 but reserve not met.

1 comment:

  1. "As this is a rare and unique car restored to unmatched ‘concours’ condition, the RESERVE will reflect these factors." That's probably why this one has been on the market for nearly two years.

    While this one has clearly been finished to a crazy high standard, I agree that it has a bit of a British vibe in the detail work. I think I'd prefer something a bit more original and Italian-looking also.

    In person, this is a VERY small vehicle. It's amazing that it can fit 6 (albeit not 6 American size people). These are often seen with large roof racks, of course, because there wasn't much space inside for luggage. Incredibly cute little cars though.

    While this 50 year old vehicle may have mastered size, space, efficiency and affordability, it wasn't exactly safe (no seatbelts or crush zones or, well, anything at all to protect you). With only twenty-something horses, I also wouldn't want to take it out in traffic either.

    Still incredibly cute though...