With a wicker interior and tan-tasseled canopy, this open-air 500F looks perfect for putzing around paradise.
• This 1971 Fiat 500F Jolly clone on Bring a Trailer looks like an ideal vacation vehicle.
• It has wicker furniture for seats, basically a big beach towel for a roof, and no doors, but also—sadly—no cupholders.
• With six days left until the auction ends on Thursday, August 11, time is running out to move to a tropical locale by the time you buy it.
If I had two tickets to paradise—hell, if I even had one—I’d want something cool to cruise around in. While cool might suggest something exotic like the red Ferrari 308GTS that Tom Selleck used to race around Hawaii in Magnum P.I., I’m actually thinking of something equally Italian, albeit infinitely more leisurely. Enter this 1971 Fiat 500F Jolly conversion that’s currently up for auction on Bring a Trailer—which, like Car and Driver, is part of Hearst Autos.
If you’ve never heard of a Fiat 500 Jolly before, join the club. I’ve probably seen the quirky cruiser in some movie or another, but the first time I realized what I was looking at was today when I scrolled upon this example on the BaT website. I was instantly struck by its tan-tasseled canopy, tiny whitewall tires, and jolly orange paint that perfectly encapsulates its namesake. A quick Wikipedia read-through taught me that the original Jolly versions of the Fiat 500 were custom-built by the Ghia design house. History!
The one that’s up for auction in these photos isn’t a real Jolly, though, it’s a clone based on what was once an ordinary ’71 500F. While collectors will obviously care about that, I couldn’t care less. I just want to buy it and have the seller ship it from its current home in Italy to someplace warm and tropical where I can immediately retire and spend the rest of my days putzing around paradise.
Sure, this Jolly won’t get me anywhere in a hurry, not with its half-liter two-pot engine that likely has fewer horses than most farm stables, but that’s fine because I’d have nothing but time. I could also keep my left leg in shape by exercising its third pedal, but I can’t imagine going so fast that I’d ever need to reach top gear with its four-speed. Although it’d be interesting to see what would happen if it did go 120 km/h (about 75 mph), the peak indicated by its speedo. With its super light curb weight and big cloth top, could this Jolly Fiat turn into a flying Fiat? It’s probably best if no one finds out.
My biggest complaint is that I don’t see any beverage holders inside the buggy. Where am I supposed to secure my piña colada (non-alcoholic, obviously)? I guess I’ll just have to hold the glass between my legs while I sit on the Jolly’s wicker furniture that replaces traditional seats. I won’t lie, they’re my favorite feature. However, I’d be fibbing if I said they look comfortable. Chalk up another reason to keep this thing at a golf-cart-safe pace.
With six days left to go before the auction ends on Thursday, August 11, this jolly-looking Fiat 500F currently has a high bid of $15,000. I would love one for myself, but that love is mostly dependent on the location I get to drive it in. A wonderful vacation vehicle? Definitely. As primary transportation in southeastern Michigan? Not so much.