1965 FIAT 500 Jolly Giardiniera
Coachwork by Ghia
Chassis no. 314573
596cc twin-cylinder power
Four-speed manual transmission
Extremely rare Giardiniera Jolly coachwork
Certified by Carrozzeria Ghia Club Italia
Documented by the Registro Storico Fiat
FIAT's Nuova 500, introduced in 1957, would prove to be an outstanding success for the company with some 2.9 million built. It spawned numerous variants, from sporting versions by Abarth to the ahead-of-its-time Giardiniera people carrier. Alternatives to the original were offered by many of Italy's finest carrozzeria, the best known of these being Ghia's stylish Jolly beach car, which transformed the 500 from basic transport to conspicuous indicator of wealth.
The origins of the Jolly can be traced to Fiat's own Chairman, playboy Gianni Agnelli, who wanted a tender for his yacht 'Agneta'. He commissioned Ghia to remove the remove the roof and doors and add a folding surrey top and wicker seats. Naturally, when Agnelli was seen driving his creation at popular Mediterranean ports, it became a must-have automotive accessory; famous Jolly owners included Aristotle Onassis, Grace Kelly and even Mae West. As redolent of la dolce vita Italy as the immortal Vespa scooter, the Jolly was quintessentially Italian. A small number of Jollies were based on the extended platform Giardiniera estate version of the 500, with the engine under the boot floor, affording a generous luggage area to carry your Louis Vuitton suitcases.
This rare Jolly Giardiniera was acquired by the vendor in Italy and was thoroughly restored there in the past several years. Photos documenting the restoration show the Jolly completely stripped for paint in the attractive ivory color it wears today. We are advised by the vendor that mechanical systems were refurbished as needed, including a rebuild of the engine and transmission.
The Giardiniera was in Italy as recently as November 2011, at which time it was certified in Torino by the Carrozzeria Ghia Club Italia; the homologation certificate and plaque is included. Additionally, in 2011 the Jolly was registered with the Registro Storico Fiat, and issued a plaque bearing its number in the Fiat Registry. An appraisal report in the file dated August 2012 describes the car as "performing with no operational malfunctions".
This exceptionally rare Giardiniera retains the Jolly's hallmark wicker seats and surrey fringe top, with the greater usability of the more practical Giardiniera body style a model perfectly suited for that St. Barths beach house or even on the decks of your yacht!
Offered on a California Certificate of Title.
- Please note that the engine number for this vehicle is 4017639.
Since going to press with the catalog, information has come to us that this example was made c.1975 by Autobianchi and was not originally a 'Jolly' model as presented here today. We therefore advise that you to bid accordingly. For further commentary on this example please come and see a member of the Bonhams motorcar team. The vehicle is titled as a 1965 FIAT.