Fiat 500: A look in the rear-view window of this original city car.

In the 1950’s, 60s and 70s, European and Japanese City Cars were extremely popular—in Europe and Japan. Americans have taken a long time to take to the style and compact nature of these small but agile automobiles. In a country where “the bigger the better” was the collective mantra, City Cars were seen to lack quality, power, and size.

The Mini Cooper—a British icon since the 1950’s, was the first to change the trend, establishing popularity among a new generation of Americans. Another European icon—the Fiat 500 (cinquecento) is hitching its wagon to the new trend.

While new to American’s the 500 started life in 1957. Launched as the Nuova (new) 500 in July 1957, it was a cheap and practical city car, manufactured through until the late 1970’s.

On the 50th anniversary of the 500's launch, Fiat re-launched the 500. And began importing the car to the United States after Fiat took a stake in Chrysler after the Financial Crisis and 2008 auto bailout. The first “new” Fiat 500 was introduced as a 2012. Like the Mini Cooper, the Fiat 500 is stylistically inspired by the 500 but with quality, power and size adjustments for today’s drivers.

Here’s a look back at the original Cinquecento (from the 1960's and 60s), and its most recent incarnation:

 

2012 Fiat 500

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