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Old 1 Week Ago   #1
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Question Opinion on this 500?

OK, I'm seriously thinking of pulling the trigger on this baby, but I have no experience with Fiat. I can tell you everything you want to know about a VW Bus though. :/

There are a number of these available in the souther NY area and all for about the same price. Many ads claiming "restored in Italy" and I'm sure that's where this one came from.

Supposedly the engine was redone and enlarged though no details on what work was done. No details on what body or restoration work either, but as you can see, it looks rather nice.

So I'm looking for clues. I notice the doors don't shut smooth. They latch well, but they pop open when unlocked. This is either a misalignment or bent frame. How to tell is what I need to know.

There is a crack next to the lip of the soft top. (sun roof? What do you call that section)

The only other clue I see is that when I use the directionals, you don't or barely see the blinker light on the dash and when you do, you can see the red battery light lighting up too. The lights work on the exterior, but the dash lights seem weak.

Just for reference - The asking price for this vehicle is $13k US


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Old 1 Week Ago   #2
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Re: Opinion on this 500?

Underside
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Old 1 Week Ago   #3
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Re: Opinion on this 500?

more underside
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Old 1 Week Ago   #4
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Re: Opinion on this 500?

Interior
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Old 1 Week Ago   #5
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Re: Opinion on this 500?

It's not much help, but mine has similar issues with the doors, and it's due to poorly fitted / incorrect door seals. The rubber seals are just a smidge too big for the doors to shut easily and push the doors out. So it may be something as simple as that?
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Old 1 Week Ago   #6
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Re: Opinion on this 500?

Quote Originally Posted by BambinoClassic View Post
It's not much help, but mine has similar issues with the doors, and it's due to poorly fitted / incorrect door seals. The rubber seals are just a smidge too big for the doors to shut easily and push the doors out. So it may be something as simple as that?
Funny, I had the same door seal issue on my Bus and I completely forgot about that.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #7
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Re: Opinion on this 500?

Hi .The car looks good on the exterior and has had an engine swap to a 650cc model which is good.You get an alternator with this. It needs the electrical problems solving. BUT I think none of the running gear(i.e.shocks rubber gaiters brakes ,in fact most of the underside needs attention. So if it were me and I was not desperate I would give this one a miss especially if you are not very good at mechanics.
Hope this helps dont be put off just look around for a better one. Bryan
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Old 6 Days Ago   #8
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Re: Opinion on this 500?

I agree on the door rubber pushing the door open - i cut mine down and instantly both doors shut beautifully.
I also share the view that the "restoration" appears to be only surface deep and a 126 engine. All underside components haven't been touched. ....a typical shiny paint resto....
It looks to be rust free - which is worth its weight in gold - but budget $1000 - 1500 to replace all wearable items - and the engine doesn't look like its had much attention...
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Old 6 Days Ago   #9
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Re: Opinion on this 500?

Quote Originally Posted by AndrewHarvey View Post
I agree on the door rubber pushing the door open - i cut mine down and instantly both doors shut beautifully.
Little opportunistic question, that may end up being of assistance to walter - when you say 'cut down' what do you mean? cut a bit off the inner / body mounted segment of the seal so it was slimmer, but the outer face of the seal was still intact?
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Old 6 Days Ago   #10
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Re: Opinion on this 500?

firstly.. I personally would not buy a restored car unless there was a detailed collection of photos that could also be verified as the car in question....
Restored nice shine paint.... as has been pointed out.. there are lots of these about, and it could be done by any "Expert Restorer" then sold on..
(Just my observations and not wishing to cause offense to anyone who does do good restorations)
Have a look on Youtube for examples of restorations that end up looking nice, there are some quite scary vids...

Bambino.. you have a D.. remember everything is different... door seals are specific to N/D cars
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Old 6 Days Ago   #11
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Re: Opinion on this 500?

I cut back the tubular " compressable" part of trim back to the section that presses over the steel flange of the door opening. Seals great and now closes easy....
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Old 6 Days Ago   #12
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Re: Opinion on this 500?

Whilst I would always prefer to restore my own car from scratch, I'm guessing that the rarity of these later cars in the US. makes it very unlikely that you will find a reasonable, un-restored car.

The seller will also have had to factor in the costs of importing the car, which I guess expains what seems to us in the UK to be a relatively high price-tag.

The doors have a slightly wide gap at the front which I think often happens when the front fenders? are replaced, but overall, the fit of the panels seems quite good. That crack in the bondo? on the roof is worrying but is unlikely to indicate structural problems. Theres a good chance that the car carries a lot of padding and old paint under the yellow "veneer".

I wouldn't be afraid of the mechanical work or the costs of the parts as the work is relatively straightforward and the parts are much cheaper than for most cars, whether old or modern. It's just that at that price you expect to get some good use out of it without having to pay out more.

The worst that could happen is that you eventually discover the sort of crude welding that BigV is hinting at, but experience on this Forum suggests that you will have to sort out engine and mechanical issues and bodges whatever car you buy.

I would spend a lot of time, if permitted, looking under the front bonnet to examine the quality of non-factory welds and repairs to the joins at the fenders to front panel and fenders to wheelarches etc. Also, if you can remove or pull back the front carpet and the rear seat squab you will see how good the floor and inner sills/wheelarches are.

One way to find out more if you can't dig about the car is to encourage the seller to brag about what has been done in the restoration; whilst you might want new fenders, rocker-panels and floors to have been fitted, far better if they weren't and yet the car is still sound.

I would buy it but then I'm an idiot.
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Last edited by fiat500; 6 Days Ago at 13:02.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #13
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Re: Opinion on this 500?

Thanks guys.

I'm mechanical, but when it comes to body work - I pass.

I don't have a garage or shop to work on and store the car needing work and I plan on using it as a daily driver. I've run into cosmetic restoration jobs before with the VW's, thankfully, the guy I bought that from had dumped all the money into the mechanicals after buying a "cosmetic restoration"

This is the car I was thinking of driving cross country (3,000+ miles) so it sounds like you're all telling me - she's going to look pretty on the side of the road as I fix stuff.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #14
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Re: Opinion on this 500?

I think most people will agree...
Mechanical problems can be sorted simply (ok not always that simple) by unbolting and replacing parts...
but Bodywork is not so simple... welding will require repaint and tends to be much harder...
So I would pay much more attention to bodywork if buying a restored car...

just look at the questions and advice given online...
there are very few "How do I cut out the Rusty section and weld in a new piece without the car falling apart and make it so you can't tell" type questions..

Something else i have always noted on "Restored Classics" is the lack of attention paid to electrics....
50+ year old looms retained with corroded connectors and hardened cables...
why are there elec issues with a restored 500...
when there are lists of replaced parts.... but never seems to mention a 80 loom
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Last edited by Bigvtwin996; 6 Days Ago at 13:37.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #15
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Re: Opinion on this 500?

Quote Originally Posted by Bigvtwin996 View Post
50+ year old looms retained with corroded connectors and hardened cables...
why are there elec issues with a restored 500...
when there are lists of replaced parts.... but never seems to mention a 80 loom

..sensible comment. I'm driving around with a 48 year-old wiring-loom which gives no problems at the moment. Food for thought though...now where's me extinguisher.
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