Posted: 23 Jun 2005
The Fiat 500 'Jolly' with it's customized body, was a limited production model designed and constructed at the Ghia Coachworks Plant in Torino, Italy. The peak period of production was reached during 1958 through 1961. The special purpose body was handcrafted from a cut-down Fiat 500 Nuova sedan. The Jolly model was intended for use primarily in resort areas as a courtesy car or 'beachbuggy'. It's open body and wicker seats provide plenty of fresh air for the outdoor crowd while accommodating wet bathing suits and easy entry or exit. The 500 Jolly can maintain an economical 50 plus miles per gallon while cruising at 65 mph! Only 10 feet in length, the Jolly has 12 inch wheels mounted on a 6 foot wheelbase and weighs just under 1000 pounds dry. Jollys used to be seen along the boulevards of the Riviera, in Florida and Southern California and in places like Catalina Island, the Bahamas and Hawaii. However, because of it's small size, limited bumpers and lack of full weather protection, few examples have survived the ravages of time, traffic, tourists and adverse climatic conditions. A 600 model was produced, but the 500 model is the rarer of the two.
This example up for bid is a very rare and original 1959 Fiat Jolly 500 in excellent to show condition with no rust. This 500 Jolly has been a California car for most of it's life (spent some time in Hawaii also) and has been the recipient of numerous awards at Fiat car shows, since the mid-70's. It received the Fiat of the Year award at a local Fiat show in 1991. 31,692 original miles.
The paint is in excellent condition with only some very minor chips. It's a salmon red which I believe is the original color. Trunk lid and engine lid fit is excellent. Chrome is all in excellent condition, with only one very minor scratch on the rear bumper bar. The original floors are in excellent to show condition with no evidence of patches. Trunk is original and solid with no rust and battery area is clean as well. The windshield is the rare original glass, not plexiglass. Hubcaps and wheels are original and in show condition. BFGoodrich 125SR12 whitewall tires with rears in good condition, fronts show some wear and spare is like new.
The two cylinder air cooled 479cc engine is a 110.004 type number, which is the high performance Fiat 500 Sport engine and has been fully rebuilt. This engine is very desirable as it has 5 more horsepower than the original 16 bhp Nuova 500 engine. It was fitted with an enlarged development of the original 500 engine with a revised camshaft, valves, cylinder head and fueling, and produces 21.5bhp. Doesn't sound like a lot, but in a 1050 lb car, it makes a noticeable difference. The transmission is in excellent condition and shifts fine. Neither the engine or transmission leaks oil. Both are in excellent to show condition.
It's just been pointed out to me that this Jolly is considerally more valuable than most for two reasons. First, it is an American version with the big popout headlights. There were far fewer American version Jollys produced than European versions. The American version 500's were only produced between 1957 and 1962. Second, the chassis number (110*005926) of this Jolly indicates it's actually a 1957 Jolly (the very first year for the Jolly 500). This website (http://nuova500.free.fr/Telaio.html) shows the chassis numbers for the 1957 500's to be from 110*000101 to 110*028538. This is for ALL Fiat Nuova 500's built in 1957, not just the Jollys. So this Jolly 500 is likely one of the very first American version Jolly 500's produced.
(for informational purposes only)
San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
Specs & Details
Interior Color: tan
Miles Driven: 31,692