The most photographed car at Goodwood Revival?

We are members of a FaceBook Group – ‘The Independent Goodwood Photographers Guild’, set up as a friendly group by some friends of ours the idea was just to share photographs of events at Goodwood. The group has grown and now has 600 members, a mixture of amateur and professional photographers, who share a wide variety of styles, skills and areas of interest. It is a vibrant and friendly group with a shared love of Goodwood.

When we knew we were going  to be in the Fiat 500 60th anniversary parade at this years Revival, we rather cheekily set them a challenge – who’ll get the best picture of Mario at the Revival with the idea that the best one(s) would feature in Mario’s blog of the event. The images shared were so varied that we couldn’t pick a winner and we decided that they deserved their own blog so here it is…

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Clive Reid caught us on duty in the taxi rank

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Guy Ward – poor Mario looks rather low to the ground 6up on Sunday

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Guy Ward

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Marjorie Dowling caught us lining up for the parade on Saturday

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Mario doesn’t offer the most elegant exit – Martin Hoare

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Great view of the grid on Sunday morning – Martin Hoare

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Cleaners on the grid on Sunday morning – Martin Hoare

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Ready for the off – Martin Hoare

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Rear View – Mike Dabell

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Waiting to go on track – Mike Dabell

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Thought the Theme was Italian! – Mike Dabell

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Insider viewpoint – Mike Dabell

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Empty taxi rank – Mike Dabell

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Heading for the flag – Phil Johnson

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Leaving the track – Phil Johnson

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Phil Johnson

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Simon Martin

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The Chicane – Stephen Mosley

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Steve Burt

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A huddle of Fiats – Tony Birr

Thank you to all the photographers for sharing their images. Please note that these images have been generously shared by the members just to appear here, the copyright of the images belongs to the individual photographs so please don’t use them anywhere else without express permission from the photographer.

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Sunny Sunday… at Goodwood of course!

The sun generally seems to shine at Goodwood and after a few rather horrible weeks weather wise, last Sunday proved to be no exception. We set off fairly early for us but not for most Breakfast Club participants – Brunch Club would be much more our thing! It was a lovely morning and the great thing about driving Mario is the open road in front, just don’t look behind, especially when going up Goodwood Hill…We had a pass for circuit access and were soon parked up with the usual crowd gathered around. The theme was Classic Sunday and is our favourite Breakfast Club of the year. It was very busy with a good and varied collection of vehicles.This Opel had been opened since new. James was pleased to see this what appeared to be an Original Jaguar C-type, he was pleasantly surprised about the lack of ‘Kit Cars’ in attendance, far less than other breakfast clubs.Mario found a distant cousin in this rather lovely Fiat 500 Giardiniera, hopefully we’ll be seeing it again in the Fiat 500 Parade at the Revival. Having restored a Mini Moke for a client a few years ago, James was very interested in this prototype Moke, very rare and unusual in makes the production More look positively luxurious!We loved this cute Fiat 850 Coupe which brought back ‘happy’ memories of the standard 850 that Jane learnt to drive in – called ‘Tetley’ as it had 1000 little perforations, you need to be a certain age to understand that or a connoisseur of TV adverts! The picture is on the morning of Jane’s 17th birthday and the start of her first driving lesson. A rather colourful section of the displayAfter Breakfast Club we drove up to Goodwood House for the GRRC Open Day. This great ‘action’ shot of Mario was taken by fellow member Helen Sanders.
The open day consists of a friendly, public judged Concours. It was won, slightly surprisingly by a 2017 Aston Martin which to be honest I didn’t pay much attention to and didn’t take any photos off. My choice of the day was between two entries…

A 1955 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint, a very early example from a pre-series production. It ws originally sold to Swedish GP Driver Joakim Bonnier. A ten year restoration has led to the beautiful car on display.
My other choice was a close relation of Mario – a gorgeous 1959 Fiat Abarth 750GT. Using a 600 floorpan and with Zagato’s lightweight aluminium Coachwork and Abarths’s modified engine and exhaust. The type won its class at Le Mans and the last Mille Miglia in 1957.
James was nostalgic, seeing an Austin Westminster Rally Car – he rallied many times in his (Police) Westminster many years ago, until he overtook a snowplough and crashed into a gate post. The awards were made by Lord March.

So a lovely relaxing day in the sunshine, chatting to old friends and looking at old cars – couldn’t ask for much else, other than a great drive home in Mario.

Festival fun – a quick look round the 2017 FoS…

Due to a previous commitments (well OK a party in Devon) we could only make one day of this years Goodwood Festival of Speed. To be fair we weren’t that concerned as these days FoS has become rather modern and Drift cars, Monster trucks and the like don’t interest us. However I wouldn’t want to miss it completely as there are always a few gems hidden away.

The Cartier Style et Luxe is always our favourite and first point of call and although not a classic year there was a class ‘Cheeky Cinquecento’ celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Fiat 500 with some unusual versions.

First up this early first series 479cc Nuova 500, one of the first 15 built it is believed to be the oldest-surviving Nuova 500 in the world! I didn’t realise that the 500 is the only car given exemption from Rome’s ban on older high-emission vehicles entering the city.

My favourite and the car I would most like to take home was this wonderful 1964 Neckar Weinsberg Coupe. One of many 500 derivatives made under license around the world. Made in Germany by NSU, they were made from partly assembled 500 bodies with different panels and rear lights from the Fiat 1100. The rather strange but quirky 1967 Ferves Ranger. Built by Ferrari Veicoli Speciali (FERVES), it was unveiled at the 1966 Turin Motor Show. The compact off-roader was designed to be used in vineyards and olive groves. Less then 50 have survived. A one-off fun car the 1969 Zanzara Zagarto (Mosquito) was designed by Ercole Spada who also designed the Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato! The planned limited production series never happened. The logo is fun. You couldn’t have a display of 500’s without the iconic beach car – this 1960 Ghia Fiat 500 Jolly was known as La Spiaggina in Italy. It cost almost twice as much as a standard 500 but was mainly purchased by the rich and famous to use as golf carts and yacht tenders.
A 1968 Fiat Gamine Vignale, the open top roadster often known as a ‘Noddy’ car. 1957 Steyr-Puch 500, made by Austrian company and adapted to suit local demands. A 16bhp flat-twin engine was more suited to the mountainous Austrian roads. This car is chassis number 3, a pre-production prototype. A later developed model the 650TR won the 1966 European Rally Championship. Another car in the Cartier which I rather liked was this impressive Aston Martin DB5 Shooting Brake. Originally designed for David Brown who wanted more room for his polo equipment for his personal use, customers soon wanted one too., Coachbuilders Radford were commissioned to supply the demand as the factory was too busy. Only 12 were built.On the BMW display was this fantastic 507, built from 1956-59 it was originally a model destined for the USA, it was too expensive and only 252 were made. Owned by celebrities including Elvis and Bernie Ecclestone. I would quite like one but it’s rather out of my price range, well into 6 figures! Each years Festival is defined by the Central Feature. Once again designed by Gerry Judah this years was rather unique as it honoured an individual rather than a brand – Bernie Eccelstone. Celebrating the life and career of Bernie the display represented the different eras of his life as a Driver (Connaught), Manager (Jochen Rindt’s Lotus 72), Team Owner (Brabham BT49), Impresario (Ferrari F2001) and Legend (Mercedes W07 2016).

Unfortunately it was rather overcast on Thursday so it didn’t show the sculpture off to its best but it was still pretty impressive and had some great angles – just would have been nicer with blue sky behind it.

We noticed this rather lovely van in the paddock – A Renault Saviem SG2. Produced from 1965-1982 it was beautifully restored.Finally the new Alpine A110 a lightweight turbocharged sportscar from the legendary French marque. I don’t like new/supercars much but we saw the prototype of this at last years festival and thought it was lovely and had still managed to retain the look of the original Alpine. This model is pretty close to the full production model which will be available in 2018 and was making its world debut although I believe it will cost over £50k so it won’t be joining the family! There wasn’t much action on the track on Thursday as it is the Moving Motorshow day but we had a look round the Paddocks with the normal display of current F1, a special class to celebrate Tom Kristensen’s career and some pre-war vehicles which were interesting. We didn’t have time to get to the rally stage which is normally worth a look. There were lots of supercars and newly launched production models which didn’t interest us but made a lot of 6 year old boys very happy!

So all in all we had a pretty good day, no problems with traffic, just a couple of very light showers and it was pleasantly warm and we met up with several friends. But one or maybe two days is enough these days, it’s all a bit new and corporate for our liking – bring on the Revival and then Mario gets to play.

Edwardians star at 74th Members Meeting

PrintA couple of weeks ago we spent the weekend at the 74th Members Meeting at Goodwood. This much lower key event was revived in 2014 and is intended to be a recreation of the original seventy one Members Meetings that were held at the track in it’s heyday. It’s a treat for us, as we actually experience a weekends racing, it’s much less crowded and more accessible with no corporate hospitality then at the Revival later in the year, when we are busy working as part of the period taxi fleet.

Taking place in mid March the potential downside is the weather, luckily it stayed dry but it was rather chilly as it is an exposed airfield. However as James often says “there is no such thing as bad weather just bad clothing” and so we prepared well. With lots of layers – I could hardly move and looked like a Michelin Man – hats and warm boots, we stayed toasty all weekend. We saw some very stupid people who didn’t dress for the conditions and obviously weren’t enjoying it and the numbers thinned out quite quickly in the afternoons.

Saturday is practice day and after a great journey down to Goodwood, we arrived about 10.30. Unfortunately we didn’t have circuit parking for Mario, unlike the first 72 meeting and so left him at home. New this year and what we were most looking forward to, was the SF Edge Trophy for Edwardian Specials raced up until 1923. These proved to be the total stars of the weekend. One of the first things we saw in the paddock was this fabulous fire breathing Darracq, a 1905 land speed record car which was totally awesome. The practice session was amazing with a field of unique vehicles, most of which looked positively dangerous.DSC07239 DSC07287 DSC07304 DSC07305 DSC07343 DSC07352 DSC07354 DSC07360 DSC07244On Saturday there was a special demonstration of two Championship winning Mercedes Benz W196’s from the 50’s. Driven by Jochen Mass and Mika Hakkinen. We almost missed them so only got a rear view!DSC07371 DSC07388 We popped in the viewing of the Bonham’s auction. Mario would have been pleased to see a couple of small Fiats. We loved the Mercedes Service van and wanted to take home the Autobianchi Bianchini, just as well it wasn’t the cabriolet version or I might have had a problem keeping my arm down!DSC07402 DSC07404 DSC07409 DSC07411 DSC07412 DSC07414 DSC07420 As it started to get dark the Alan Mann Trophy got underway with a field of 29 Ford GT40’s charging into the darkness.DSC07446 DSC07457Then it was time for the party. Unique to the Members Meeting, everybody is invited to an evening of entertainment, with fairground rides, high wire acts, fire dancing and parades. All finished off with a tremendous fireworks display which lit up the sky as far as the eye could see.DSC07466 DSC07471 DSC07485 DSC07503 DSC07553 DSC07556 DSC07625 DSC07630 DSC07672 Sunday morning saw another good run to the circuit and we made sure that we arrived in plenty of time for the Edwardian race. At the entrance was this lovely Speedwell Blue A35, just like my first car (sort of!). We discovered that the racing was already running very late, this was due to a horrid and freak accident in the first race of the day, when a car had rolled and ended up in the tunnel beneath the track. Amazingly nether the driver or any members of the public were hurt but unfortunately it put a damper on the day and heralded a day of incidents and red flags, including another massive accident in the afternoon, again under unusual circumstances. The driver although injured wasn’t as bad as feared. Goodwood keep a very low profile over major accidents and do not show or comment on them and so I will not dwell on them any further or add links to images and video. The result of all the stoppages was that several of the races had to be shortened and it did take the gloss off of the racing.  DSC07675

DSC07698The Edwardian race however was superb. Exciting, competitive and with no incidents. In vehicles that were difficult to drive and handle, the drivers showed tremendous respect for each other while racing hard. They are completely bonkers, racing as they do while perched high up, exposed and unprotected on tiny seats and with a huge difference in size between the cars.
DSC07715 DSC07718 DSC07721 A high speed demo by the group 5 sportscars, which had dominated the World Sportscar Championships in the 70’s, including the iconic Gulf Porsche was a spectacular sight.DSC07765 DSC07773 DSC07778 DSC07797 We set off for a trip out to Lavant and spotted this lovely Volvo P1800 which is a car I’ve fancied owning for a while.DSC07812 Part of the Members Meeting is all the other events which take place around the circuit for people to join in and earn points for their house. Out at Lavant Corner I had a go at Duck Herding – well I stood in the middle of a field and the sheep (duck) dog and ducks did what the knew how to! There was also Feret Racing.DSC07813 DSC07819 DSC07822We went back to the paddock area for a tasty pre-birthday Afternoon Tea in the Bill Wisdom Enclosure. Then we had a good look around the Edwardian cars, which are even more impressive (and oily) close up and great for some detail photography.IMG_1087DSC07681DSC07685DSC07865 DSC07871 DSC07872 DSC07877 DSC07878 DSC07884 We went infield beyond the startline, to an area which at the Revival is all hospitality, here we had a good view back to the start through the daffodil display. The Ground Effect F1 cars gave a good high speed demonstration, unfortunately we missed the grid walk as due to the incidents the timings were all over the place. It was a good viewing spot so we stayed there to watch part two of the Gerry Marshall Trophy for the Group 1 Saloon cars 1970-1972.DSC07894 DSC07897 DSC07983 DSC07985 DSC08007 The Parnell Cup is another favourite with pre 1953 Grand Prix cars, including ‘Remus’ the blue with yellow wheels ERA which made such an impression on us, in the first race, at the first Revival, way back in 1998 and started our love affair with motorsport at Goodwood.DSC08027DSC08017 As the sun started to set, there were still three races to go, these all had to be shortened and were run with no ceremony but they had a certain intensity and in the cooling conditions, the lack of ‘hanging about’ was rather welcome.DSC08031 DSC08037 DSC08058 DSC08092 DSC08113 So with the racing over, the remaining spectators and competitors, headed for the Great Hall for the prize giving. Warmed up with Bullshot – hot Bloody Mary’s made with beef consommé – the ceremony took the format of a school awards day with the Race Governors in their robes handing out the prizes. The four House Captains waited anxiously to find out which house had won – Methuen and Anthony Reid for the third year running, although it was our house captain Emanuele Pirro who had the last word, thanking Lord March for the weekend.DSC08121 DSC08130 DSC08138

Little cars also tackle the mountains…

As you know Mario doesn’t go that far from home but his ‘little brother’ Nippy a 1967 Subaru 360 has been a bit more adventurous and in 2008 James drove and Jane navigated him on the Leige Brescia Leige Microcar Rally a unique event for small cars.360team

The story really starts in 1958 when in response to the Suez Crisis car manufacturers of the day entered their new sub 500cc models to prove that their performance and economy was a match of their ‘big brothers’. The original event was run over  3 days through Belgium, Germany, Austria, Yugoslavia and Italy. The only stop was in Brescia where the remaining entrants turned round and headed for home. Run over a mix of terrain from the newly opened Autostrada to the dirt roads of the high passes, the event was a test of true endurance and only 13 of the original 30+ entrants finished. One of the cars was driven by Pat Moss and others by top competitors of the day.liege-brescia-liege-2011
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Half a century later it was decided to run the event again, although in consideration for the age of the vehicles and the comfort of the competitors the event was over 10 days. Closely following the original 2400 mile route but avoiding the motorways the rally went from Liege-Karlsruhe-Munich-Cortina-Ljubijana-Bolzano-Brescia-Bolzano-Munich-Karlsruhe-Liege and finished 50 years to the day of the original. The event was organised by Malcolm McKay of Classic Rally Press.DSCN1316

We started the event as a three car team of Subaru 360’s, us in Nippy, our friends Victor and Craig in Kato and Terry and Steve in a 360 belonging to Subaru which had recently been recommissioned. We trailered the cars to Liege and the actual event set off on July 10th 2008. The event was a navigational exercise with photo checkpoints, we had to take identical photo’s showing our car to prove we had been there and completed the whole route. DSCN1331

58 cars started the event including Fiat 500, BMW Isetta and 600/700, Berkeley, NSU Prinz, Goggomobile, Vespa, Messerschmitt, Citroen 2cv, Zandapp Janus and Heinkel.DSCN2662DSCN2736

The weather was terrible with teaming rain which was to last for the next 4 days. Our first stop was at Spa where we did some very soggy timed laps of the Kart Circuit. A long drive followed and Jane on her first rally, soon learnt the rally rules – you only stop when you can do everything at once – refuel, eat, drink and pee! DSCN1387

We crossed the Rhine and arrived at the first stop in Karlsruhe. Unfortunately the third Subaru had been having problems all day, they finally arrived at the hotel on a tow truck after Midnight, James set to work and took the engine out but it was a terminal problem and they had to retire. Team Subaru was down to two cars.DSCN1417DSCN1426

Day two was another test on a local kart circuit, followed by a day of tricky navigation to arrive at the BMW museum in Munich.

From Munich we travelled through the Black Forest and into Austria and over the Brenner pass into Italy. At 1375m this was our first real pass and our first opportunity to see how the ‘little’ cars performed – we were pleasantly surprised. We arrived in Cortina at the splendid Hotel Miramonti Majestic Grand, a great setting for the little cars.DSCN1521DSCN1542DSCN1588DSCN1595

We were now high in the Dolomites and day four included several high passes to reach the Slovenian border, some of them driven in heavy hail storms and as many of the hairpins were still traditionally cobble stones it wasn’t the most comfortable journey. The rally spent the night in Ljubljana, a fantastic city.We were allowed to park the cars up in the famous Preseren Square where they attracted a great deal of attention including TV crews covering our arrival.DSCN1725DSCN1757ljubljanaDSCN1773

The next morning we finally had sunny weather as we crossed back into Italy and a lovely lunch stop at a great family museum. Three more passes including Passo di Pordoi 2239m. Many of the field were late into Bolzano and lots of fettling was required. The Isetta didn’t make it until 5am after having to make major repairs in Ljubljana.DSCN1839

Dissappointingly due to all the storms, the Stelvio pass was closed with a landslide but after a deviation we managed to double back and still climb the Gavia from the Southside and get the Passage Control photo at the summit, at 2621m it’s not much lower than the Stelvio 2757m.

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Once back down it was a very pleasant run along the shores of Lago di Iseo and into Brescia. In the town we were welcomed with a civic reception with all the cars in the main square as on the original 1958 event, they even ‘broke the cheese’ where a whole Grande Pandano was opened for us to taste, a great honour.Brescia2DSCN2149DSCN2161

Day 7 started with a trip around the impressive Mille Miglia museum and then set off back to Bolzano, actually managing to stop for lunch on the way. Getting out of Bolzano the next morning wasn’t easy but we were soon climbing the Passo Pennes at 2215m it was one of the best of the rally.DSCN2181DSCN2193DSCN2320DSCN2432

After another night in Munich we had a lovely drive through the German countryside with several stops at motor museums and the impressive Schloss Lichtenstein, this fairytale castle perches on a steep cliff and is a spectacular sight.DSCN2505DSCN2591

The final day saw us back at Karlsruhe kart circuit where we had much better times in the dry, although by the time we’d got back through Spa in the afternoon it was inevitably raining again. We finished back at Liege for the prize giving. We won our class with Victor and Craig second and Jane won the Ladies prize so a very successful evening with a lot of celebrating.DSCN2775DSCN2800DSCN2810DSCN2833DSCN2902

We all had a great time even though we were a bit tired and grumpy at times. The event although quite straightforward for James was a challenge in such little cars and Jane enjoyed her first event and got into the spirit of classic rallying. We all enjoyed it so much that we did it again a year later but that’s for another blog.

Stretching the market

Mario is described as a ‘stretched’ Fiat 600 and that was literarily what they did when designing it by moving the wheels apart and adding a bit in the middle.

However it would appear that people have been busy making stretched versions of the original and new style Fiat 500’s.

Italian coach builders Castagna Milano who have already made several interesting beach cars based on the new 500 (see earlier blog) and have gone into the American and Middle Eastern markets by developing three versions of a 500 limousine stretched in length to 5.32m, almost two metres longer than the original.

The LimoSun is based on the Fiat 500 convertible. Targeted to beach resorts and the Middle East, the LimoSun passenger area has four seats facing each other. The large openings in the sides and roof can be closed with transparent panels.Castagna-Milano-LimoSun fiat-500-limousine NewFiat500_limousine_3

The LimoCity is a closed version and features a circular sofa couch, mini-bar, electric sliding doors.92A06D35D5D4F9DBB888E85A19FDE8

The LimoCity President starts with a Fiat 500 version made for the U.S. market and is powered by two electric motors capable of reaching 100 mph (160 km/h) with a range of 155 miles.702325A27D82DDAB487257457EB 15246052971885841676

But it would appear that individuals are also getting in on the act and original Fiat 500 Limo conversions are in demand for weddings and hen nights!fiat_500_limousine_mpst6fiat_500_limousine_sgf5wThe Limo above  appears to be a more professional conversion while some others seem to be two vehicles ‘cut and shut’ together.fiat_500_limousine_nvwqbVASTO: 500 LIMOUSINEThis one was built by Augustine Gizzi, 35, a coachbuilder of San Salvo in 11 months is just over 4 meters long and the result of a successful assembly of a Fiat 500′ Giardiniera and a Fiat 500 F.

Not all the conversions have been done recently. This very scruffy and in need of restoration example was converted over thirty years ago in San Diego. It is believed that it was used/owned by Herve Villechaize who played Nick Nack in the James Bond movie The Man with the Golden Gun, it was auctioned off either by the studio or by the estate of Mr Villechaize many years ago, after he commited suicide with a rather large hand gun. At one point it was resplendent with gold plated hub caps as can just be seen in the last picture, and also had a rather hideous Rolls Royce Grill fitted. It was last seen on ebay.500limo 500limo4 fiat 500 limo imagesGG2Finally here is a rather cool stretched Fiat Giardiniera seen around Europe with a Fiat 500 trailer and believed to be owned by a Dutchman.oaav60 original OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Many of these stretched vehicles are much longer than Mario but most do not seem to have a significant number of extra seats. James has been saying for years that he would love to go one stretch further and add another set of doors and seats to create a even more ‘stretched’ Mario – maybe one day.

The coolest fridge ever?

SMEG have collaborated with Fiat to produce this extraordinary refrigerator based on the front end of an original Fiat 500..

Fiat and Smeg have a working relationship going back to the 50’s when Smeg was formed immediately after the Second World War and one of its first collaborations was creating refrigerators with Fiat. This new exclusive project brings back together two brands synonymous with the world of vintage style,design and technological know how, in a brand new guise.

Launched in Paris in May an exclusive event at Colette, the famous concept store on Rue Saint-Honorè, this unique fridge is perfect for the homes of avid collectors, or a fashionable lounge bar perfect for serving drinks.

When you ‘pop the hood’, you’ll be greeted by 100 litres of storage accessed by two sliding drawers, which can be set to freeze or chill. It’s A+ rated, has an automatic defrost function and features three removable bottle holders and a removable shelf for canned drinks. The chromed instrument panel is also in the style of the original Fiat 500.

This is a genuine production item rather than a PR stunt but imagine it will be made in fairly limited numbers. The price isn’t clear but you can bet it will be significantly more than the original cost of the car and probably more than an original 500 will cost you today!ku-bigpic ku-xlargeFIAT2 SMEG500B_8_WEB
1EAF2AF3F071327ED93398678799_h498_w598_m27447939B8D89527746FD946C6CD_h498_w598_m2The Smeg 500 fridge is just one of several products created for the Fiat 500 Design Collection, which also includes a sofa, a table and a console table, all  inspired by the classic small car by Italian furniture designer Meritalia.
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The sun has got his hat on… and beach cars come out to play.

The sun is finally shining so time for the long awaited post on Beach Cars.

Beach cars are what were essentially small inexpensive production cars that were heavily modified to produce bespoke and individual vehicles. Used initially by the rich and famous in the 50’s and 60’s, as land tenders to their yachts on the Italian or French Riviera. With cutaway roofs and doors, wickerwork seats and fabric sunshades they were only practical as leisure transport and thus confirmed their owner’s status as someone who could afford a car ‘just for fun’.

Later on more models were developed and some went on to have small production runs. Many were used by expensive hotels and golf clubs as courtesy vehicles. The small numbers produced has resulted in them being as desirable and expensive today.
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Nobody seems to know for sure how the first beach cars came about but this converted Fiat Topolino/Belvedere ‘Mare’, believed to be unique must be a strong contender for the title of ‘first beach car’. Thought to be converted in 1954 when Italian’s could barely afford a bicycle – a fun car to go to the beach in would have been a wild extravagance, only available to a few very wealthy individuals. It is thought that it may have been created by Fiat’s in-house special bodies department, the Carozzeria Speciale and was possibly owned by Fiat Chairman Gianni Agnelli who was certainly wealthy enough and had the influence to have had it made, this also fits in with the development of the beach car in later years.

This car is currently for sale!
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Later in the 50’s, it is known that Gianni Agnelli sent a Fiat 500 to Ghia Carrozzeria, the brief; to cut off the top, remove the doors, and install a folding surrey top and wicker seats. The result was the first Fiat Jolly (Jolly in Italian means Joker).

Agnelli’s car created a lot of attention and soon a limited production run was underway but many were hand made to order and specification. Aristottle Onassis owned three of them, Yul Brenner, John Wayne, Grace Kelly and even Mae West all reportedly owned Jollys and US President Lyndon Johnson used one on his Texas ranch.
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Further models were produced based on first the 500 and then the 600. Considered a success, the model had a production run from 1958 to 1966. It is believed that more than 400 ‘Jolly’s’ were made but the seaside conditions they were kept in meant that fewer than 100 survive worldwide today and each one is pretty much unique.

The cars’ specification included cut-down sides and windshield, a striped and fringed surrey top, and chromed body-pipework. They were available in pink, coral, white, pale yellow and sky blue. Mechanicals were standard Fiat. An “economical” version was available from 1964 to 1966 featuring normal bumpers with no pipework and solid plastic seats embossed with a fake wicker pattern.
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Jolly’s were also made based on the 600 Multipla which had the advantage of another row of seats with the middle row facing backwards1958_Ghia_Fiat_600_Multipla_Jolly_01_1 1958_Ghia_Fiat_600_Multipla_Jolly_02 scan001
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In 1956 Pininfarina designed special version based on the Multipla for the Agnelli family to use in their personal home the Villa Leopolda – The special 600 was called the ‘Eden Roc’ or ‘Marine’ after the promontory overlooking Cap d’Antibes on the Cote d’Azur where the villa is situated. The little Fiat was used to shuttle guests around the 20-acre villa and town. In the late ’60s, this car was taken to Turin and used by Fiat President Prof. Valletta for guests to visit the Fiat factory.

The Eden Roc has a beautiful ‘boat like’ wrap around slatted wood seat and is cut lower than many beach cars. A surviving example is owned by the ‘Cord’ family in America and has been displayed at the world’s great Concours competitions. It has been reported that Henry Ford II also owned this model. The first picture is an original Pininfarina press photo which we found at auto jumble many years ago.scan007

fiat005Fiat Multipla Marine 'Eden Rock' by Pininfarina - 1958_01Fiat Multipla Marine 'Eden Rock' by Pininfarina - 1958_02Fiat Multipla Marine 'Eden Rock' by Pininfarina - 1958_04

A similar car has been used as a ViP course car at the Monaco Historic Grand Prix. We were lucky enough to see it and sit in it. I believe it is known as the Fiat Torpedo Marina, there seems some confusion as to who made it but Felice Mario Boano may have designed it when he had his own company but then he went on to establish the styling department for Fiat and passed the rights to produce the Torpedo to Carrozzeria Savio. There is one in a Paris Museum and one might have been owned by Prince Ranier, possibly the one still being used in Monaco?
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This is another version designed by Boano/Carrozzeria Savio1958 Fiat 600 Spiaggina (Savio-Boano)

Fissore designer Giovanni Michelotti came up with a remarkable open-topped Multipla prototype called the “Marinella”. Only a handful of the prototypes were made but at least one remains and was at the Goodwood Festival of Speed a few years ago.
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Fissore designed a very similar vehicle, this 1957 Fiat Marionella 600M was shown at the 1957 Turin Salon a one off and hence one of the rarest beach car built on the Multipla Chassis. The unique roof allowed water skis to be carried above the passengers. The car was in Rome for many years before being restored and sold at auction in 2005 for €57,500.
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Vignale also produced several Beach Cars based on Multiplas. This one a Fiat 600 Marina from 1963, rather uniquely has the rear seats facing sideways with a chrome bar to hold the passengers in.
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A Vignale design the Fiat 600 Spiagetta (1956)fiat_600_spiagetta_1

Also by Vignale a Fiat Multipla Spiaggia (1956)
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Elio and Emilio Basano were young brothers who started up a small prototype shop in Torino about 1960 In 1962 Pietro Sibona, a master at metal working, left Ghia and became the brothers’ main partner in Carrozzeria Sibona-Basano. In 1964 at the Turin show they exhibited a little beach car based on the Fiat 500 with a moulded plastic body called the Decathlon.decathlon_s

Beach cars continued beyond the 500 and 600. In the late 60’s Giovanni Michelotti in collaboration with yacht designer Phillip Schell went on to design the Fiat Michelotti Shellette Beach Car, based on a Fiat 850 spider with dramatic and areo styling. Only 80 were built, one was used by Jacqueline Onassis on the island of Skorpios. Ten are still known to exist.scan003

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Moretti designed their own cars but due to costs went on to produce several special bodies for Fiats. In 1970 they launched the Fiat 500 Moretti Beach Car known as the MIni Maxi, only 90 where produced. The design was quite different and more ‘Jeep’ like. The company went on to produce similar models based on the Fiat 126 and then the Midi Maxi 127 in 1971.
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Although the small Fiat’s were perfect and popular for conversion to Beach Cars, other manufacturers vehicles also had the same treatment.

Renault…
The Renault 4CV Resort Special. In 1960, fifty (consecutively numbered) 4CVs were dispatched from the Renault Billancourt factory in France to Ghia in Italy to be built as Resort Specials. There was only the single batch of fifty cars built, with all of the finished vehicles originally being sent to the States for sale. Apparently only eleven of them are now thought to have survived.
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The Renault 4 Plein Air is a beach car conversion of a regular Renault 4 R1123 by Sinpar, a Renault subsidiary for special products. Only about 500 R4′s were converted to Plein Airs between 1968 and 1970.
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Sommerautos / Renault Plein Air

Daf…
This beach car was also styled by Giovanni Michelotti and based on a DAF, one was given by the factory to the Dutch Royal family and was used for many years at their Italian Summer Residence.
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Designed by Moretti, this BMW 600 has hardly been used and has recently been restored. It is being auctioned at the end of this month with a guide price of €30-40k. On it’s registration documents it is known as a Isetta Moretti Open Car.
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Isetta Moretti 2 IsettaMini…
In Italy a coach builder called ORO built the Mini Mare on a Innocenti Mini base, only a few were made and one was used as a private tender to Ferdinando Innocenti’s private yacht. The cars retained their roof but lost the doors, fitted with wooden surrounds and wickerwork seats, grille, boot lid and bumpers.
Innocenti Mini Mare 1 Innocenti Mini Mare 1 Innocenti Mini Mare 2img4484pyBack in the UK, BMC built a small number of ‘Beach Wagons’, designed by Chief Stylist Dick Burzi around 16 were made for use in luxe hotels around the world. There were two versions, one on the traditional Mini shape and one with a boot based on the elf/hornet. The third picture shows Alec Issigonis in his design.
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Sir Alec Issiggonis also designed a more rugged version of the Mini in a ‘jeep’ style but it failed to catch on as a military vehicle as was intended, however in the 60’s the Mini Moke caught on as a Beach Buggy and became a popular cult vehicle being used as beach cars all over the world.
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As was the 2cv based Citroen Mehari
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Alfa Romeo
While not strictly fitting the beach car description of a converted small inexpensive car this 1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia was converted for Alfa Romeo by Colli into a limousine beach car. Apparently it was used to ferry ViP’s especially the Italian President around the Alfa Romeo factory.
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What was good in the past is still good today…
In very recent years manufacturers have come up with a host of modern Beach Cars based on current small production cars such as the new Fiat 500…DSCN7649DSCN7650DSCN7651DSCN7652DSCN7654226611CASTAGNA500Tender2Summer201001f-610x400CASTAGNA500Tender2Summer201004f

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… and the ‘Portofino’ using a Fiorino Combi small van.fiat-fiorino-portofino-motorauthority-002_100207232_mfiat-van-portofino-01

Even more futuristic is the 2013 Toyota ME.WE concept car.Toyota_ME_WE_001 toyota_me.we_concept_1

Or  Swiss car visionary Frank M Rinderknecht’s concept the Rinspeed Bam Boo, a modern beach car paying homage to the Citroen Mehari. Now Frank says he will show his concept at the Geneva Motor Show. “This open-top vehicle awakens the longing for sun, summer, for lightness and easiness, the desire to be at the beach,”cries his press release. “It is a reminiscence of the Seventies, of the south of France and St. Tropez. One expects to find Brigitte Bardot behind the wheel with playboy Gunther Sachs at her side heading towards Tahiti beach.”
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rinspeed-bamboo-10Note: I’ve really enjoyed putting this post together but it has grown as I’ve been researching it! Information is rather hard to find and the fact that at the time many of the designers were moving between companies and that many of the cars are unique has made it difficult to find out accurate information, especially regarding names, dates and designers. Hopefully most of the info here is correct, if you know differently please let me know!