Lot 373

Monterey 2024

1958 Fiat 600 Jolly by Ghia

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$80,000 - $100,000 USD  | Offered Without Reserve

United States | Monterey, California

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Chassis No.
100.438198
Engine No.
100.000.480170
Documents
UK V5
To be offered on Saturday, 17 August 2024
  • The classic Italian beach cruiser in its rare, highly desirable, and more powerful Fiat 600 incarnation
  • Fully restored by DTR European Sports Cars of Surrey, UK; documented by restoration photos
  • Complete with wicker seats, a surrey top with Greek flag motif, and Ferrero two-spoke wood-rimmed steering wheel
  • Featured as a cover story in the August 2015 edition of Classic & Sports Car
Please note that for registration purposes, this vehicle’s UK V5C states its year of declared manufacture as 1959.

While the Fiat 500 was designed for the hustle and bustle of European city centers, the Jolly was the passion project of legendary Italian tycoon Gianni Agnelli. Agnelli was the head of the dynasty that owned Fiat, and he wanted the ultimate runabout to load onto his yacht. He commissioned the various design gurus to develop his concept. The Jolly quickly became an icon of La Dolce Vita during Italy’s golden era. Agnelli gave a few of these super-chic beach cars away to close friends. Aristotle Onassis had one on his yacht, Lord Rothschild had one at his estate in Corfu, and Lyndon Johnson had one on his Texas ranch.

With their removable surrey tops, wicker seats, cut-down windshields, and open sides, the Jolly was conceived with summer pleasures in mind. These chic runabouts were very popular with resorts: Catalina Island off the coast of Los Angeles commissioned 32 of them as taxis.

A variety of Italian carrozzerie worked on Agnelli’s concept, with Ghia by far the most successful; 600-700 of these cars are believed to have been built between 1958 and 1966. Most were based on the two-cylinder Fiat 500 but a small number, including the car offered here, used the Fiat 600—which benefited from a more powerful 20-horsepower, 633-cubic-centimeter four-cylinder engine—as a starting point.

This 600 Jolly was acquired in Monaco in 2012 and sent to marque specialists DTR European Sports Cars of Surrey, United Kingdom, where it was stripped to bare metal in preparation for a complete cosmetic and mechanical restoration. As documented in photos on file, corrosion (as well as some of the crude remnants of Ghia’s expedient coachbuilding methods) were cut out and corrected. The trademark wicker seats were refitted, as was a Ferrero two-spoke wood-rimmed steering wheel—a period-correct touch, albeit one you might expect to see in an Italian sports car! The bodywork was painted in reflex blue, the color of the Greek Flag; the car was also fitted with a surrey top designed as the Greek flag, and the fully restored car was delivered to the villa of its new owner at the Aman resort in Greece.

In his 2015 cover story for Classic & Sports Car following this car’s restoration, Richard Heseltine concluded: “it is impossible not to like the Jolly. It has more character than any supercar, and is more exclusive than most, come to think of it.”

The irresistibility of the Fiat Jolly has led to the creation of tributes and replicas over the years, but genuine, Ghia-built examples have remained rare and highly sought-after the world over. It is, after all, impossible not to like it!