Auctions and Brokerage
The Fiat Jolly
The adorable Fiat 600 Jolly was created as a leisure vehicle for the affluent jet set of the late ’50s. The successor of the Fiat 500, the Jolly (or “joker” in Italian) was designed by Dante Giacosa for Italian coachbuilder Ghia as a runabout for the golf course, beach house, or Mediterranean-gated communities. The little Fiat was favored by various dignitaries, including President Lyndon B. Johnson and Aristotle Onassis, who kept one on his yacht for portside transport. Between 1958 and 1962, 32 Jollys were commissioned as taxis on Catalina Island off the coast of Los Angeles, confirming their international appeal.
Although more than 2.5 million Fiat 600s were built, it is believed that fewer than 200 of the Jolly runabouts were produced, and each one came with a price tag that reflected the pocket book of the well-heeled target market – nearly twice that of the standard Fiat 600. The 600 was launched at the Geneva Motor Show in 1955, but the Jolly was only produced between 1958 and 1969, and came in a variety of pastel shades with picturesque wicker seats and a fringed canopy. These features plus the long tubular handrails and chrome-fender accents engendered a whimsical persona to the car, of which only a mere 100 are believed to still be in existence today.
This rare little Fiat Jolly, measuring just 10 1/2 feet, is an exquisite example of the model. Recently restored, it comes armed with the highly desirable rear-mounted four-cylinder engine, which renders it more powerful than its predecessor – the Fiat 500. While the Fiat 500 featured a 479 cc two-cylinder engine that produced a modest 16.5 hp, the Jolly’s larger engine produced 36.6 hp. According to the current owner the car starts easily, runs smoothly, and is, as expected, a joy to drive. The chrome, expertly restored wicker seats, white fringed canopy, and charming coral paint (a correct Jolly color) are all in excellent condition. The coordinating coral steering wheel and dashboard assembly were accurately restored. The engine bay and chassis are highly detailed, and the tires were replaced for use. Additionally, the sale of this Jolly is accompanied by a correct tool roll and jack.
This little car exudes character and charm, and is perfectly poised to provide a collector with a sense of adventure, years of fun, and exciting outings with family and friends.