Introduced in July 1957, the 'Nuova 500' was engineered by Dante Giacosa. Based around a monocoque bodyshell equipped with all-round independent suspension and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes, the newcomer utilised a different mechanical layout to its 'Topolino' predecessor. Still driving the back wheels, its rear-mounted, air-cooled, two-cylinder OHV 479cc engine was a first for Fiat. Developing just 13bhp, the compact powerplant was mated to a four-speed crash gearbox. Inheriting its larger 499.5cc unit from the short-lived 'Sport' variant, the 500D debuted in 1960. With its rear-hinged 'suicide' doors and generous sunroof, the diminutive four-seater weighed in at a little over 500kgs. As such, it was able to extract a 60mph plus top speed from just 17.5bhp. Somewhat slower - but arguably no less fun to drive - than the similarly rear-engined, air-cooled Porsche 911, the Fiat 500 in all its guises has long been a favourite with racers like Michael Schumacher and Jean Alesi.
Finished in red with matching red upholstery, this particular left-hand drive example was exported new to France. Although not UK registered, the Fiat is known to have spent several years in the private collection of Formula 1 supremo and businessman, Bernie Ecclestone. Treated to past restoration work, the car is said to remain of smart overall appearance. Though, particular praise is given to its replacement interior trim and almost unworn tyres. Said to be in running order, this charming 500D is offered for sale entirely without reserve.