Is this the cheapest way to own the world’s most stylish bespoke classic car?
For those who need a bit of La Dolce Vita in their lives, we have a perfect solution with the launch of the Real Italian Car Company. Their cars are definitely real and certainly Italian, but they also happen to be tiny – as the new company specializes in the restoration and import of the classic Fiat 500: a veritable symbol of Italy since 1957.
Go back more than 60 years, and post-war Italy was something of a grim place. The country desperately needed its own “peoples’ car” to get everyone moving again: a bit like the Mini in the United Kingdom, the Citroen 2CV in France, and the Volkswagen Beetle in Germany.
Of all these efforts, the Dante Giacosa-designed 500 is the most charming: particularly when painted in a fetchingly Mediterranean shade of pastel.
It was produced in Turin from the late 1950s all the way to the mid-1970s, and it used to be as common a sight on Italy’s roads as flamboyant carabinieri in striped trousers.
Not any more though, as these cars are becoming increasingly rare. And that’s where the Real Italian Car Company comes in. Founded by three friends, with offices in beautiful Tuscan city of Lucca as well as London, the company restores Fiat 500s to order and ships them anywhere in the world: ready to bring a slice of Italian sunshine to a new owner.
It’s not just any old restoration either. The cars are carefully sourced and then lovingly put back together with no compromise by Italian mechanics who worked on them when they were new, ready for another 50 years on the road. After all, if a car can survive that long in Italy, it can take on almost anything.
A particularly intriguing offering from the Real Italian Car Company is their ‘birth year’ car, ideal for a top-end present. People have been buying watches made in the year of their birth for ages, so why not take the same approach to cars?
If you were born between 1957 and 1975, there’s a Fiat 500 out there for you, made in your birth year. And if you were born between 1972 and 2000, the Real Italian Car Company will find an equally adorable Fiat 126 made in the year of your birth: the successor to the venerable 500.
Your birth year is marked by a special (removable) dashboard plaque created by Maurizio Telerma: the Real Italian Car Company’s artist in residence, who has also conceived the beautiful Italian keyrings and accessories that come with each car. And all for less than the price of a decent Rolex.
You can get a 500 in any configuration or colour – including the ultra-rare ‘Jolly’ variant, which was Italy’s answer to the Mini Moke or Citroen Mehari. These open-topped Fiats were made famous by Gianni Agnelli throughout 1960s and 1970s and went on to become the choice of Hollywood stars vacationing in places like Portofino, or other Italian delights. It’s not for the shy and retiring.
The Real Italian Car Company has some ambitious plans for the future: with an electric version of the classic being developed, as well as a rental service for those lucky enough to be spending their holidays in Tuscany. Both will be ready in time for the summer. Best of all, they’re great guys who are fun to chat with: you can’t help but be swept along by their enthusiasm for this stunning little car.
With prices for classic cars rising fast, this is a fantastic way to get into bespoke ownership at an affordable price: the cars start from just €9,000, fully delivered. In terms of instant appeal, there’s nothing else quite like it out there.
To find out more, please visit: www.realitaliancars.com.
Anthony Peacock works as a journalist and is the owner of an international communications agency, all of which has helped take him to more than 80 countries across the world.
Photographs courtesy of the Real Italian Car Company