1959 FIAT 500 JOLLY
Coachwork by Ghia
Chassis no. 110.072952
Engine no. 110.000.048893
479cc OHV Inline 2-Cylinder Engine
16bhp at 4,000rpm
4-Speed Manual Transmission
4-Wheel Independent Suspension
4-Wheel Drum Brakes
*Beautifully restored in and out
*Exquisite example of Ghia's classic beach car
*Ready for the beach or the ranch
*Charming Royal Blue finish
*Guaranteed good smiles per gallon
THE FIAT JOLLY
As redolent of La Dolce Vita Italy as the immortal Vespa scooter, the 'beach car' is most famously embodied by Ghia's 'Jolly', unquestionably the best known of the many alternatives to the standard FIAT 500 and 600 models ranges offered by some of Italy's finest carrozzeria.
Born of FIAT boss Gianni Agnelli's wish for open motorized transport from his massive yacht, the Agneta, during port stops along the Mediterranean coast, the finished car was dubbed 'Jolly de Plage', or Joker of the Beach. Based on the 500 and 600 models' unitary construction, these agile compacts featured independent suspension, a four speed synchronized transmission, with the engine at the rear. The 479cc air-cooled twin was hardly a performer, but light construction (and mostly low-speed intended uses) made the package work well.
The Jolly found favor as courtesy transport for patrons of luxury hotels and golf courses, such as Catalina Island off the coast of California, where a fleet of 32 Jollys provided taxi service or, as initially intended, for use ashore after one had docked one's yacht on the Italian or French Riviera. Lacking doors and equipped with waterproof wickerwork seats, the Jolly was only practical as leisure transport, thus confirming its owner's status as someone who could afford a car 'just for fun' (indeed, the Jolly was roughly twice the price of the base model it was derived from). Among the list of Jolly owners in the day are jet setters such as Aristotle Onassis, Yul Brynner, John Wayne, Grace Kelly, Henry Ford II, and even President Lyndon Johnson.
THE MOTORCAR OFFERED
Built in the spring of 1959, this gorgeous FIAT 500 Jolly is believed to have resided in California for decades, and benefits from a recent extensive restoration, addressing both mechanical and cosmetic parts of the car. Completed in 2013, the restoration brought the Jolly back in the charming Royal Blue color, after a complete strip-down and repaint. The interior wicker seats were redone to the factory correct finish, and a new, perfectly matching, blue striped top was installed. Chrome and bright-work was also redone, as were the wheels, finished in body color and wrapped in period-looking white-wall tires.
Beautifully presented in and out, this charming Jolly would be a great choice for the ranch, beach or yacht club, and will surely initiate smiles and conversations wherever it goes. A better-restored example will be hard to find. Accompanied with matching wicker picnic basket in the back seat, this would be ideal Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance transportation, but do appoint the lucky driver first, as there's wine in that picnic basket!