by: Jag Dhatt & Aman Sundher
Aman’s Words: If you want to make a statement, buy a Fiat 500 1957. It’s just that simple. I see the Fiat as more of an accessory like an expensive handbag or bling’d out pair of cufflinks than just a car. Yes, there are other more practical options that do the same job, but you’re looking at the 1957 Edition because either you like the retro look or you want to let everyone in the world to know you’re into fashion. I mean, let’s face it, the color options blend into traffic like skittles in a bowl of chocolate almonds. Either you love or hate the fruity flavor.
Let’s start with the obvious, the looks. The Fiat 500 1957 may be the most eye catching car I have ever driven in my entire life. I was getting looks and waves at nearly every stop light, cross walk, parking lot, intersection, drive way…you can see where this is going. For the most part, the feedback I was getting was very positive but for some reason bikers seemed to be unusually upset when they saw me sitting behind the wheel. I honestly couldn’t stop for gas or groceries without someone walking up to me before I closed the door or a group standing around it when I got back. The paint scheme is fantastic. I am a huge fan of the color matched wheels and white roof. The chrome trim really accents the color and gives the 500 a nice posh look. Fiat hit the nail on the head with this retro theme; I honestly can’t fault it.
The 1957’s interior looks and feels absolutely perfect, until you start driving it. The retro theme really takes off in the cabin. Marrone brown leather seats and door panels are a great contrast to the exterior color and feel fantastic. I particularly like the look of the white dash panels and buttons but they feel like they are made of the same plastic as disposable spoons. While the white steering wheel is a nice touch, I can’t help but wonder how it will look after a year of driving. Everything about the interior seems to follow the same trend; beauty over function. I realize that the Fiat 500 1957 is about as compact of a car as you can get, but I find it difficult to grasp that anyone close to 6 feet tall will not have headroom problems. And god forbid you want to fit two broad shouldered adults in the front seats; my elbows are getting sore just thinking about it.
Perhaps the most surprising thing of all was how the Fiat 500 1957 drove. Coming in at nearly 2600lbs, I was a little skeptical of the 101hp rating. But the more I pushed the little 1.4 liter MultiAir engine, the more I began to realize 101hp is perfect. There’s enough power to put a push you back into your seat and have fun in the corners, but not enough to get you in any serious trouble. The suspension is a little stiff for in town but an absolute blast on windy roads. The Macpherson struts in the front are pretty standard but the Twist Beam rear suspension is the real winner here. There’s no way to describe the joy it gave me seeing the shock and awe in the faces of pedestrians and cyclists as a baby blue Fiat 500 1957 came around a bend, sideways. The way the rear suspension reacts to weight changes make lift off oversteer as easy as breathing. Granted, it’s probably not the safest thing in the world but man is it ever fun. The small size of the Fiat makes it a breeze in any downtown. Parking it is like throwing a baseball through a hanger door. You can park it on a 45-degree angle and still have room between the lines – I checked! Driving the Fiat 500 is what really sold me on it.
After a week of driving the 1957 Edition, I couldn’t help but feel like I had done the cardinal sin. As cheesy as it sounds, I judged a book by its cover. Yes, the Fiat 500 1957 is flashy and in your face, but it’s also a great car to drive. I found myself grinning ear-to-ear whenever I told people about it. And for the most part, after a quick drive I had other people doing the same. I still think the 1957 is a bit of a fashion accessory, but what’s wrong with that? The retro look is coming back, and I for one am on board.
Jags Words: After Aman, I had the chance to drive the 1957 Edition for a couple of days; rather, my wife and girls had the opportunity to give their feedback on this eye-catching, teenager looking Fiat. As Aman had mentioned, this is a cool looking car and my girls were giddy with excitement as they sat inside. The interior is definitely old-school, with a very happy tone, and is a car you don’t mind sitting in all day. Yes, many people did stop to look at and admire the car, with a few taking pictures as well.
Driving the 500 1957 was a lot of fun, actually more than I expected. It’s got a 1.4L inline four-cylinder engine that puts out, as Aman said, just over 100 hp. It doesn’t seem like much, but for this car, it works. It’s got a unique exhaust noise that again makes it fun. Darting around town was no problem in the 1957 and my wife was surprised that for a small car, it handled well. She even had fun throwing it into corners. The one aspect of the car that threw me off was the transmission. The 6-speed automatic isn’t something I would choose and this car, with the engine setup, should be a manual. The wife, on the other hand, thought it was great; but remember, she’s happy trekking along at conservative speeds and acceleration.
With the fun attitude aside, let’s talk practicality. Let’s face it, the Fiat 500 1957 Edition isn’t aimed at a family like mine; I’ve got three girls, all under 10 years of age. Thus, nope, won’t work. But, if the wife needed a fun car to drive to work every day, this would interest her for sure. She doesn’t have a lead foot, so check! She likes simplicity, so another check! She like something easy to drive and park, so check again! The only factor that might be a deterrent is that the Fiat 500 1957 doesn’t have an old-school price tag. Although the base Fiat 500 starts at around $22,000, the 1957 Edition we drove was $29,995. That’s on par with the new Civic hatch.
It’s amazing that almost everything comes back in cycles. We’ve seen hair styles, clothing, and other aspects of style that make a come-back. And a car like the Fiat 500 1957 Edition is sure to make a hit no matter what year it is.