What's the difference?

"Look, it's a Fića! You have one of these, don't you?"

Nope on both counts – this is why.

I've probably written the following on this site just once but the Zastava 750, the car we know as the Fića, is originally a Fiat 600... It was introduced in 1955 as an unbelievably practical car for a working-class family of four.

However, the car you see above is a Fiat 500 – the Bambino. It was introduced two years later as a smaller-in-every-way version, better suited to the tiniest of European streets.

Allow me to geek out on the differences that Italian car nuts have taken to heart:

  • The 600 was an all-new car, but the 500 was the successor to this.
  • The 600 evolved and was replaced by this car. The 500 was replaced by this, known as the little iron by some, due to its appearance.
  • The 600 is the larger vehicle. Compared to the 500, it is:
    • Twenty centimeters longer
    • Six centimeters wider
    • Ten centimeters taller
    • 100 kilograms heavier
    • 30 km/h faster
    • It also has ~100 more cc's of displacement and twice the number of cylinders and horsepower
  • Seven skinny people can fit inside the 600 if desired. Not possible in the 500.
  • The 600's engine cover opens upwards like a liftgate. The 500's, for some reason, opens downwards like a tailgate.
  • The 500's hood goes over the front fenders (i.e. clamshell, see title pic); the 600's goes between the fenders. The 600 also has bigger headlights...

Actually, you don't need to know any of that stuff. Just put the two side-by-side:

Dr. Evil

Admittedly, though, these cars do have major similarities. They were both designed by the same man, are both rear wheel drive with small engines in the back, and officially have seating for four. Both also have convertible, Jolly, and Abarth versions, as well as strong cult followings.

So why is any of this important? Well, people often don't realize that these two aren't the same car!

The 600 motorized countries that aren't Italy, but the 500 was the one in all the famous Italian movies... So since most nations never got both models, it makes sense that they'd believe the 500 in the movie theater and the 600 they drove there in are one and the same.

But now you know. So the next time a 500 passes by and someone says they have fond memories of it, slap them in the face and tell them, "Nope! It was the 600, fool!"

Unless they're Italian. Then they're probably right.

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