One of the most common reactions I've gotten (and I'm sure I will continue to get) when I tell people what I've bought is, "Šta će ti Fića?" ("What do you need a Fića for?"). Well, the Fića (the nickname in Serbian given to this car by the people; pronounced "fee-cha") has a certain 'je ne sais quoi' about it.
It's what the original Mini was to the British. It's what the original Beetle was to the Germans. It's what the 2CV was to the French. It's what the Model T was to the Americans. Like these examples, the 750 resulted in being much more than basic transportation that put a country on wheels.
In 1951, engineer Dante Giacosa was asked by Fiat to create a very economical four-seater car that was light and sturdy, spacious but had a small footprint, and above all affordable to the people that built it. At the 1955 Geneva Motor Show, the new (and surprisingly advanced for its time) Fiat 600 was presented to the public for the first time.
It was instantly accepted as an engineering marvel, and it quickly became more of a status symbol and less of a basic mode of transportation. 300,000 found homes in the first year alone.
Soon after, Fiat made agreements with automakers from Germany, Austria, Spain, Argentina, and Yugoslavia to locally produce their own variants of the 600 (the Serbian-made one was called 'Zastava 750'). Fiat alone made over 2,600,000 copies from '55 to '69, with total worldwide production (including all variants) hovering around 4 million.
Even though production has long passed, this little car has the same cult status now that it did generations before. Fans of the car exist across the globe, some being part of clubs dedicated to the diminutive runabout. Others simply can't hold back a smile when they see one as pleasant memories of their first something-or-other in one come back to them.
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