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Fiat 500L Lusso- 1969
Unmistakably, the Fiat 500, or Cinquecento in Italian, is linked with Italy’s culture. Derived from the original Fiat 500 Topolino, meaning little mouse, the 500 was produced to be an affordable, small car for everyone. The Lusso came out in September 1968 with a higher trim package than the standard 500 F. It featured tubular chrome bumper overriders at the front and rear and rectangular tail lights. The interior included a revised dashboard layout with a black steering wheel, and ribbed vinyl seats and door panels. Other changes comprised reclining seats and carpeting, and for the first time, the rear name badge spelled FIAT in uppercase lettering.
The 500 was an incredibly popular little car and homegrown modifications were rampant. Coachbuilders and engine tuners found the tiny chassis and small engine block a ready pallet for artistic and performance elaborations, most notably Carlo Abarth and Giannini (Attilio and Domenico).
Normally powered by the standard Fiat 500, 499cc 18hp engine, this one has been replaced with a Fiat 126, 652cc 24hp parallel-twin cylinder. Fiat’s successor to the 500 in the 1970s was 126 series. Swapping out the engine was a powerful upgrade that was easy to pull off in any backyard garage. It could shoehorn right into the 500’s tiny body. As if the larger horsepower wasn’t enough, this 126 engine has been tuned up, incorporating various performance-enhancing products made by Abarth and Giannini.
The Fiat 500 was immense success. Almost 4,000,000 of these little cars had been sold when production ceased in 1975. The original FIAT 500 remains as popular today as it ever was.
Manufacturer: Fiat Automobiles S.p.A.
Country of Origin: Italy
Drivetrain Configuration: Rear-engine, rear-wheel drive
Engine: Fiat 126 air-cooled, 652 cc parallel-twin cylinder 25hp
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Top speed: 65 Mph
Years Produced: 1967 – 1971
Number Produced: Unknown