The FIAT 600 (Italian: Seicento, pronounced say-chento) is a city car produced by the Italian manufacturer FIAT from 1955 to 1969. Measuring only 3.22 m (10 ft 7 in) long, it was the first rear-engined Fiat and cost the equivalent of about € 6,700 or US$ 7,300 in today’s money (590,000 lire then). The total number produced from 1955 to 1969 at the Mirafiori plant in Turin was 2,695,197. During the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, the car became very popular in countries such as Spain (as SEAT 600), where it became the icon, par excellence, of the Spanish miracle, Argentina, where it was nicknamed Fitito (a diminutive of FIAT) and former Yugoslavia where it was nicknamed Fićo(pronounced [fee-cho]).
The car had hydraulic drum brakes on all four wheels. Suspension was a unique single double-mounted leafspring – which acts as a stabilizer – between the front wheels coupled to gas-charged shock absorbers, and an independent coil-over-shock absorber setup coupled to semi-trailing arms at the rear. All 600 models had 3-synchro (no synchro on 1st) 4-speed transaxles. Unlike the Volkswagen Beetle or Fiat 500, the Fiat 600 is water-cooled with an ample cabin heater and, while cooling is generally adequate, for high-power modified versions a front-mounted radiator or oil cooler is needed to complement the rear-mounted radiator. All models of the 600 had generators with mechanical external regulators.
The top speed ranged from 95 km/h (59 mph) empty with the 633 cc inline-four engine to 110 km/h (68 mph) with the 767 cc version. The car had good ventilation and defrosting systems.
A year after its debut, in 1956, a soft-top version was introduced, as well as a six-seater variant — the Fiat 600 Multipla. It was a precursor of current multi-purpose vehicles.
Retrospectively the water-cooled Fiat 600 is sometimes over-shadowed by the air-cooled Fiat 500, but the 600 was a remarkably fast seller in its time: the millionth 600 was produced in February 1961, less than six years after the car’s launch. At the time when the millionth car was produced, the manufacturer reported it was producing the car at the then remarkable rate of 1,000 a day. As of 2011 there are only 65 left in the UK that are road legal.
In Spain, the 600 model was made under the make of SEAT, from 1957 to 1973. Up to 797.319 SEAT 600 were made. The Spanish car maker exported them to a number of countries worldwide. This car motorised Spain after the Spanish Civil War.
SEAT produced various derivatives of the original 600 model some of them with improvements and special fittings like the use of "suicide doors": the SEAT 600 D/E/L Especial version, the ‘Descapotable’ convertible and the ‘Formicheta’ commercial version etc.
The most interesting version produced between 1964 and 1967 by SEAT is though the SEAT 800, the sole four-door derivative of the 600 model which received a longer wheelbase. It was developed in-house by SEAT and produced exclusively by the Spanish car maker without any equivalent model in Fiat’s range.
Fiat 600/770 Neckar Jagst
The Fiat 600 was also manufactured at Fiat Neckar in Germany between 1956 and 1967. Presented in a first time as Jagst 600, in 1960 with the release of Fiat 600D it became Jagst 770. The model was manufactured until the end of 1967, more than 172,000 copies.
In former Yugoslavia the model was very popular, and was produced under the nameZastava 750 (later 850), nicknamed "Fića" in Serbian, "Fićo" in Bosnian and Croatian, "Fičo" in Slovene, and "Фиќо/Фичо" (Fikjo/Ficho) in Macedonian. It was produced by the Zastava factory in Kragujevac, Serbia, from the early 1960s until 1985, during which time it played a major role in motorisation of the country, due to its affordability.
In 1958 Fiat shipped a number of Fiat 600s to the Italian design house Ghia for conversion into the Jolly. Featuring wicker seats and the option of a fringed top to shield its occupants from the Mediterranean sun, these cars were originally made for use on large yachts of the wealthy (Aristotle Onassis owned one).
The car was designed as a luxury vehicle for wealthy Europeans and the US market.
With a cost of nearly double that of a standard "600", they were made in a very limited production. It is believed that fewer than 100 exist today, each one being unique. 32 Jolly cars were used as taxis on the island of Catalina off the coast of Los Angeles in the USA in the years 1958–1962.
Italian tuning company Abarth produced various versions of the Fiat 600 from 1956 to 1970 under a variety of model names, including Abarth 210 A, Fiat-Abarth 750, 850, and 1000. Many suffixes like Granturismo, Berlina, TC, and TCR were also used and many were built with aluminium bodywork by Zagato and other famed Italian carrozzerie.
600 Multipla (1956–1965)
The original FIAT 600 Multipla was based on the Fiat 600’s drivetrain, model 1100 coil and wishbone independent front suspension, and sat six people in a footprint just 50 centimetres (19.7 in) longer than the original Mini Cooper. The driver’s compartment was moved forward over the front axle, effectively eliminating the boot but giving the body a very minivan-like "one-box" look. Behind the front seat the vehicle could be arranged with a flat floor area or a choice of one or two bench seats. Until the 1970s, it was widely used as a taxi in many parts of Italy.
A 633 cc, RHD Multipla, was tested by the British magazine The Motor in 1956 and was found to have a top speed of 57.1 mph (91.9 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-50 mph (80 km/h) in 43.0 seconds. A fuel consumption of 38.4 miles per imperial gallon (7.36 L/100 km; 32.0 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £799 including taxes on the UK market.
In 1956, Fissore designed a remarkable open-topped Multipla prototype called the "Marinella" with a wooden-slat wraparound bench in the rear. A Fiat 600 Multipla towing a caravan is used in the video clip of the Crowded Househit Weather with You from their 1991 album Woodface.
Text from Wikipedia