Fiat 500 Honored as Design Icon

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Fiat Joins the Permanent Collection of the MoMA in New York City
Article by Edward Andrews | August 19th 2017

Move over van Gogh and Warhol, there is a new masterpiece on display in the Big Apple. The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York is rolling out the red carpet to celebrate the best-loved car in the FIAT brand’s history.

An extraordinary tribute to the artistic and cultural value of the Italian style icon in the world on its 60th birthday.

The Fiat 500, the icon that made Italians into car owners, and became a worldwide ambassador for the country, celebrated its 60th birthday recently. This included a special event that honors its history, style, and design by joining the permanent collection at the MoMA.

“While the Fiat 500 has unquestionably left its mark on automotive history, it is equally true that it has never been just a car,” said Olivier François, Head of Fiat Brand and Chief Marketing Officer, FCA–Global. “In its 60 years of history, the 500 has transcended its material manifestation to enter the collective imagination and become an icon, which has now the honor of being certified by being acquired by MoMA in a tribute to its artistic and cultural value.”

Timeless classic Italian engineering

The Fiat 500 is an icon of automotive history that fundamentally altered car design and production, said Martino Stierli, The Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at MoMA.

The model acquired by MoMA will be a 500 F series, the most popular 500 ever, made from 1965 to 1972. Fiat’s “great little car” was an instant success worldwide and the 18 horsepower of its 500cc engine gave it a top speed of 59 mph (95 km/h).

More than 4 million units were made from 1957 to 1975 – from the New 500 in the late ’50s, on to the Sport and then the D, both more powerful, followed by the F, which holds the record for the number produced, through to the more comfortable L and finally the R. The model acquired by MoMA will be a 500 F series, the most popular 500 ever, made from 1965 to 1972.

The Fiat 500 is not just a symbol of mass car ownership. Over time, it has become a style and design icon. The unmistakable design has inspired the imagination of artists, who have responded with elegant, exclusive and sporty interpretations. It has achieved the feat of maintaining its identity while remaining youthful over 60 years of history and lifestyles, fashion and society. A successful car, but also a cultural phenomenon on center stage for 60 years, never going out of fashion.

With the launch of the new generation in 2007, the 500 has appeared in a variety of original and cool interpretations, both hatchback and convertible, with an array of extraordinarily successful special editions (such as the 500 by Diesel, the 500 Gucci, and the 500 Riva).

Next time you’re are visiting New York City, swing by the MoMA and check out the newest edition to their legendary collection.

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