2007: Marking the debut of a great vintage and a great car

by Jenny Cuddihy on July 12, 2012

There are some words that, when heard, immediately conjure up images of Italy.  Gelato.  Pasta.  Sophia Loren.  Fiat.

Fiat has been dominating the market since its founding in Torino in 1899.  They started with a small production (only 24 total cars, to be precise) but that number had grown to a market share of 89% of the Italian market by 1925.

By 1918, only 10 years after they opened a factory in the US, they were already setting a standard of luxury abroad, with a Fiat costing $6,400 in the United States (compared to a Ford Model T that clocked in at just $525).

After World War II, there was a demand for an economy car, which Fiat filled in 1957 with its Fiat 500.  At a length of only 10 feet (3 meters) long, it was considered the first city car, seamlessly able to get in and around ancient fortified cities whose roads were built for chariots and not for SUVs.  While ideal for cities, this car could definitely go the distance.  In May 2007, Aussie couple Lang and Bev Kidby drove their 1969 Fiat 500 32,000 kilometers in 99 days, from Vladivostok through Europe and the US, making it the smallest car to complete a world circumnavigation.  The love affair for this car continued long past its production stopped in 1975.  The band Lush proudly proclaimed what they prefer to drive in their song “500 Shake, Baby, Shake”, with lyrics like: “Shake Baby Shake/ You know I worship from afar/ Brake Baby Brake/ How I wish you were my car.”

In 2007, fifty years after its initial introduction, Fiat launched a new Fiat 500, switching the engine from the back to the front and debuting designer Roberto Giolito’s updated design, inspired  from the original.

Keeping with tradition, the Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino commissions an artist, athlete or entertainer to create a commemorative tile for each vintage.  The tiles are hung on the Town Hall in Montalcino and unveiled each February during Benvenuto Brunello, along with the rating of the vintage (2007 being deemed 5 stars).  To celebrate the re-launch of this beloved car, the Consorzio chose Fiat to design the tile for the 2007 vintage.


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