A bit of Italian history, a 1969 Fiat 500 Restored by Beyond Tools Staff member Frank and son Mark:
My Son Mark and I always had a dream of restoring an old car.
One day I was driving through my suburb and I saw an amazing little Fiat 500 parked out the front of someone’s house. I pulled over instantly, got my phone out and called my son Mark to see If he would go look at the Fiat for me. coincidentally he had already seen the same car a couple days earlier, he knew that it required a fair amount of work, but he to knew that we had to have it.
After a little negotiating back and forth, great news, we came to an agreement and it was ours! Now the fun began.
As it is such an old vehicle, I spent countless hours searching for parts from all over the globe and I came across a company called Axel Gerstl in Munich. We were both stunned when we found out I can still get the majority of the parts that I needed brand new.
It became a monthly routine, with new parts arriving all the time for the Fiat. The process took a while as mark worked away, so time was limited. We worked on it whenever we had a spare minute. The big push came when mark decided to get married and said ” Dad, we need this car ready for my wedding”. The pressure was on, For 4 weeks mark would come home from work and straight into the grinding and welding, until finally I received the phone call she is ready to paint.
With the paint underway, I started ordering all interior components required to fit out the interior of the car to get the job done. With only a couple weeks to go we went into panic mode. We had parts arriving at different times. Within a week we had paint, interior carpet and new seats all done. The only this missing was the window rubbers. After searching online, and time running out Mark managed to find a local store in Malaga that got them organised for us.
The day before the wedding we thought we had finished it all, at 4.30pm we were ready to do the big test – lets fire her up. The engine cranked and cranked for the next 30 minutes but no avail, it would not start. We were in panic mode calling the mechanic that rebuilt the motor but we got no answer.
Tried a good mate of mine who is motor savvy but to no luck either. It’s now 8.30pm and it still wouldn’t start, when finally, Nick, a friend of marks came over to have a look, but still no luck. He thought maybe the carburettor was blocked or it could have a hole in the float. 10pm came we found a hole in the float. Out came the super glue for a quick fix and bang off she went fired up and idled. Hooray! Job done, She drove to the wedding safely and the rest is just history on our special little 1969 fiat 500….
The introduction of the Fiat 500 Nuova (500 N) in May of 1957 was the dawn of a new era in the history of the Fiat runabouts. The classic fiat 500 originally made back in 1899 by Giovanni Agnelli in Turin.
Over the years there were new models out and a model change came in 1919 called the fiat 501 Balila in 1936 the fiat 500 became better known as the Topolino even Walt Disney fell in love with it and made it mickey mouses car of choice.
This model distinguished itself as a city-car, and became very popular amongst the ladies due to its small size and low petrol consumption. It also had technical, as well as special advantages due to the fact that the engine was now installed in the back of the car. As this engine, which only provided 13 horse-power, was considered too weak by many contemporaries, the Fiat 500 Sport with closed roof and a proud performance of 21.5 horse-powers was made available to more sporty drivers.
In recent times they have recreated the new model fiat 500s in a lot of new models with all new technology and have become very popular little cars again in Australia which is now sold by one of Dream Big Expos’ major sponsors Barbagallo.