The best-loved car in Fiat’s history, the Fiat 500 ‘Cinquecento’ becomes a work of modern art and joins the permanent collection of the MoMA, the Museum of Modern Art, in New York.
“The Fiat 500 is an icon of automotive history that fundamentally altered car design and production,” said Martino Stierli, The Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at MoMA. “Adding this unpretentious masterpiece to our collection will allow us to broaden the story of automotive design as told by the Museum.”
The model acquired by MoMA will be an original-condition 1968 500 F series, the most popular 500 ever, made from 1965 to 1972. Fiat’s “great little car” was an instant success worldwide and the 18 horsepower of its 500cc engine gave it a top speed of 59 mph (95 km/h). Over 4 million units were made from 1957 to 1975, from the new 500 in the late ’50s, on to the Sport and then the D, both more powerful, followed by the F, which holds the record for the number produced, through to the more comfortable L and finally the R.
MoMA’s press release:
The Berlina exemplifies a clear expression of form following function, a logical and economical use of materials, and a belief that quality design should be accessible to all. The development of inexpensive, reliable cars like the Fiat 500 was instrumental in knitting together communities and nations and fostering a feeling of freedom of movement throughout the postwar European continent. Through its design and its centrality to the story of mid-century Italy, the 500 embodies many of the principles that typified mid-century modernist design and connects it to themes explored in works throughout the Museum’s collection.
For more information, visit moma.org.