The model acquired by MoMA is 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 95km/h.
Over 4 million units were made between 1957 and 1975, from the new 500 in the late 1950s, 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 Fiat 500 is not just a symbol of mass car ownership. Over time, it has become a style and design icon. 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. The Fiat 500 is a successful car, but also a cultural phenomenon on centre stage for 60 years, never going out of fashion.
“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. “Adding this unpretentious masterpiece to our collection will allow us to broaden the story of automotive design as told by the Museum.”