AUTOROTICA: The Sexy Ugly Fiat 600 Multipla

Nearly 2.7 million Fiat 600 microcars (cheap to manufacture and cheap to buy) were produced between 1955 and 1969. The 600, or “Seicento” in Italian, were produced in a variety of styles—two doors, four doors, and my favorite: the station-wagon-esque Multipla.

While nearly all microcars are nearly by definition quirky and bug-shaped, the Multipla has a particular design that sets it apart. It is what I call “sexy ugly”—a hipster-geek kind of vehicle that is alluring in its oddities.

The car’s design is driven by the focus on finding a shape to enclose six people with a minimum of sheet metal (a costly and rare material in post WWII Europe), powered by a simple, reliable four-cylinder engine mounted at the rear for cost reasons.

The Multipla does not have a traditional front or trunk. It has a compact frame (only 19.7 inches longer than the ORIGINAL Mini Cooper). The back is sloping and front is upright, with the driver compartment sitting over the front axle. The vehicle is part station wagon, part fan, part Disneyland Monorail. The car sits 6 people comfortably snuggly. Fewer than 250,000 of these amazing vehicles were built between 1956 and 1969. It had a top speed of under 60 mph.

Recently, a 1958 FIAT 600 MULTIPLA was offered for sale on eBay for $37,500 (images are from this site).

 

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