The Fiat 500 has meant a lot of things to a lot of people. For countless citizens of post-War Italy, it meant mobility. For its manufacturer, it meant its first major commercial success. And for design aficionados, it now stands as a work of modern art.
That’s not just our opinion, or even Fiat’s. The Cinquecento has officially been recognized as such by those who might be considered the ultimate arbiters on the subject: the curators at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
On the occasion of the original’s launch 60 years ago today, the MoMA has announced the addition of Fiat 500 to its collection. The precise example is a 500 F, the most prolific of original Cinquecentos, made between 1965 and 1972. As you can see, it appears in flat beige, with solid wheels and a fabric roof panel.
Of course the Fiat isn’t the first piece of rolling modern art acquired by the Manhattan museum, whose growing but selective automotive collection already includes a 1946 Cisitalia 202 GT, 1952 Willys-Overland Jeep, 1959 Volkswagen Beetle, 1963 Jaguar E-Type Roadster, 1990 Ferrari 641/2 grand prix racer, and a 1998 Smart car.