1948 Fiat 500B Topolino Cabriolet
Chassis no. 500B 134881
Engine no. 131699
569cc OHV Inline 4-Cylinder Engine
16bhp at 4,400rpm
4-Speed Manual Transmission
Front and Rear Leaf Spring Suspension
4-Wheel Drum Brakes
*Charming example of the Little Mouse
*Plein air motoring with retracting canvas top
*Desirable higher performance overhead-valve model
*Huge smiles per mile
*Fun Italian classic
The Fiat Topolino
Fiat's Topolino had a remarkable run, with more than 500,000 made from 1937 to 1955. At the time of its introduction it was one of the smallest cars in the world - a two-passenger coupe with a 569cc four-cylinder engine and four-speed gearbox. Officially called "500," it soon took the nickname Topolino, literally "little mouse" but soon interpreted as Mickey Mouse, for its mouse ear-like headlamps on its front fenders. The two-main-bearing engine developed only 13 bhp, but four speeds forward and light weight conspired to give it adequate performance. The front wheels had transverse leaf spring independent suspension, the rear sprung quarter elliptics with torque arms. Fuel supply was by gravity from a firewall-mounted tank. It represented bargain four-wheeled transportation, and it was a hit.
The Topolino was immediately popular. A team of 32 stormed the Mille Miglia, the fastest one averaging nearly 50 mph. The Topolino's popularity helped push Fiat production to a new record in 1937, and nearly 84,000 had been made by the time Italy entered World War II.
Few changes were made during the model's lifetime. Semi-elliptic rear suspension came in 1938 and four-seat cabriolets were added the following year. In 1948 came a new model, the 500B, with overhead valves. The cars still looked the same, but changes had been made to the brakes, suspension and electrical system.
The Motorcar Offered
Presented in a period shade of light grey with red painted wheels and a brown interior, the Topolino's charm is in its simplicity. Described as an older restoration, the Topolino came to the US in 1985 when it was imported from Italy by then owner Alberto Pedretti. With a history file dating back to that period, the Fiat was maintained during Pedretti's ownership with an engine and transmission rebuild performed.
Acquired by its present owner about 15 years ago, the Topolino is reportedly very original, and sports a recently replaced wool headliner, while the trunk has been tidied. Upgraded 500C tubeless wheels and a C aluminum oil sump have been fitted, and the Topolino is reported to run and drive well. With good fit and finish throughout, this Topolino presents as a functional and charming example of one of Italy's most beloved icons.
- Please note that the correct chassis and engine numbers for this vehicle are 500B131699 and 500B134881 respectively.