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Fiat 500

          ur 1972 500L stands out from the rest of the Classic Heroes collection and that’s not just because of its Verde green Muira pearlescent paintwork. It is the only car we own that has been completely restored from a bare metal shell and at the same time extensively re-engineered and modified. This is our version of what an Abarth Fiat 500 would look and feel like but built to accommodate the demands of the modern day motorist with a few creature comforts built in to boot.

Having said that, The Classic Heroes Collection is all about putting together a stable of iconic cars that would tug at the heart strings of any car enthusiast. We are talking about cars that changed the face of motoring and few would argue that this Italian thoroughbread doesn’t fit that bill perfectly.

Chassis No. 3089539 was first registered as a UK right hand drive car on 14th December 1972. It had a succession of owners through the next three decades until we purchased it as a full restoration project in 2009. At Classic Heroes we have a long history of collaborations with other businesses and highly skilled engineers to make sure the end result is as close to perfection as possible. We therefore teamed up with renowned 500 specialists R. Proietti to start about restoring this automotive icon to its former glory.


The shell was stripped to bare metal, primed and undercoated. The floor and doors were replaced and Dynamat fitted to ensure the car would be as refined as possible when put back on the road. We wanted to give the 500 a sporting look and feel so the wheel arches were slightly extended by hand and the suspension slightly lowered.

The key mechanical elements were then thoroughly re-enginered to ensure modern day usability and to eradicate some of the renowned 500 foibles, these changes included:

  • 652cc engine upgrade with compression ratio raised from 7.5:1 to 9.5:1

  • Mildly Gas flowed head

  • Lightened flywheel

  • Alloy sump to improve block stiffness

  • Standard carb bored to 29mm

  • Electronic mapped ignition

  • Electric start

  • Front brake disc conversion

  • Fiat 126 rear hubs

  • Uprated brake master cylinder & fitment of warning light

  • Steering rack conversion

  • Suspension parts blasted and powder coated

  • 5 speed gearbox conversion

  • Uprated driveshaft kit and CV joints

  • Halogen lamp conversion

  • Battery isolator

  • 12” Minilete alloy wheels and 145/70 tyres

  • Tyre inflator sealer

  • Dynamat sound proofing

  • Extensive rust proofing, sealing and waxoyl treatment


We then decided to stretch the boundaries a little and build in few of our own special options. This was partly a test of what could realistically be achieved with a 500 and also to show that you don’t always have to turn to modern machinery to enjoy a bit of luxury. The “Factory” options we finally settled on were :

  • Nero Nappa leather seats, door cards & pockets, instrument binacle, knee pads and centre console with Verde hand stitching.

  • Nero Alcantara dashboard, glove box & headlining

  • Nero Mohair sun roof

  • Verde green front and rear seat belts

  • Two stage heated front seats

  • Bespoke mat set

  • LED interior light package

  • Remote central locking with Thatcham alarm and immobiliser

  • Electric windscreen washers

  • Period Becker Europa FM/AM radio with iPod / iPhone adaptor

  • Auxilary power supply

  • Abarth instrument pod

  • Abarth steering wheel and gear lever

  • Chrome toggle switches and push buttons

  • Polished alloy rear number plate binacle

  • Stainless steel front & rear bumpers

The end result is a truly eye catching and stunning Fiat 500. The car is 100% useable on a daily basis and is a real joy to drive. The engine pulls strongly from the off and is quiet and refined. The suspension is compliant and the disc brakes have great stopping power and make a massive difference to the overall feel of the car.


The five speed Fiat 126 box enables the 500 to easily cruise on the motorway at 70 mph and the Dynamat dramatically reduces the noise and vibration you would experience if you could ever get a stock 500 up to this kind of speed.

This is a one off – a Classic Heroes concept car. It is the perfect example of going back to the future. Lightweight, economical (60+ mpg), luxurious, fun and above all else, it puts a smile on the face of you and everyone else on the road who ever sees it.

A pleasure to be enjoyed regularly.

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