Fiat recreates La

Dolce Vita

Fiat 500 Spiaggina'58 front
Fiat 500 Spiaggina'58 head on
Fiat 500 Spiaggina'58 side
Fiat 500 Spiaggina'58 rear threequarter
Fiat 500 Spiaggina'58 rear
Fiat 500 Spiaggina'58 front seats
Fiat 500 Spiaggina'58 fascia
Fiat 500 Spiaggina'58 showcar
Fiat 500 Spiaggina'58 showcar boot open

IT WAS the summer of 58 and the La Dolce Vita era was in full swing in Italy's Riviera hot spots - and nothing signified the sweet life more than the Fiat 500 Jolly.

It was a cut down version of the original Fiat 500; it came without a roof or doors but with chrome rails along the sides to support a sunshade canopy.

Better known as the Spiaggina in its homeland it was, perhaps, the original beach buggy and was produced by Italian coachbuilder Ghia from 1958 until 1965.

The special seaside version of the 500 became a hit with some of the most influential personalities and movie stars of the times including shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis and actor Yul Brynner who chose it as a "land tender" for their yachts or as a golf car on their country estates. A Fiat 500 Jolly even featured in the personal car collection of President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Now, 60 years on, Fiat is attempting to recreate the spirit of the age with a special edition version of the 21 century 500. The new Fiat 500 Spiaggina ‘58 is being produced as a limited edition of 1,958 cars and is only available as a convertible.

In a tribute to one of the smash hit songs of the times it comes in just one colour scheme - Volare Blue with a cream soft top - and incorporates many reminders of the Dolce Vita era, such as vintage Fiat logos and wheels, a white belt line and a two-tone interior.

While it might pay tribute to bygone times, the Spiaggina '58 is bang up to date and comes equipped as standard with a seven-inch touchscreen incorporating DAB digital radio and satnav. Also standard are a TFT instrument cluster, rain and dusk sensors, automatic air-conditioning and rear parking sensors.

It comes with Fiat's 1.2-litre 69hp petrol engine - a far cry from the original's 22hp air-cooled two-cylinder engine, which gave the 500 Jolly a top speed of 65mph.

It will arrive in British showrooms in September and the price will be announced closer to the on sale date.

But if you've got the spare cash and being the owner of one of the 1,958 production line models isn't exclusive enough for you, you'll be able to commission an even more special, customised version based on a one-off show car created by Italian designers Garage Italia and Pininfarina.

As in the original Jolly the roof has been removed entirely and the rear passenger space has been transformed into a covered, rear compartment with a built-in shower which can accommodate all your beach essentials.

The Spiaggina '58 can be ordered from Garage Italia with any of the features seen on the one-off show car, including a low nautical-style deflector instead of a full front windscreen.

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