top of page
Fiat 500R (no, that doesn't stand for 'racing')

Fiat 500R (no, that doesn't stand for 'racing')


The final incarnation of the Fiat 500 was the R, and in many ways it was the ultimate evolution of the Fiat 500. There were substantial mechanical changes, including a new engine and gearbox, which was shared with the then-new Fiat 126. The two models would be sold alongside each other for three years, with the 500 providing the most stripped-out option for utilitarian transport. As a result, Fiat went back to basics with the R: the classic round speedometer returning after the L’s square dashboard. Mechanically, the 500R is the most modern-feeling car to drive, which has won it a lot of fans.



The 500R was launched in 1972 and continued on sale until 1975, alongside the Fiat 126 that was intended to replace it. The R stands for ‘renewed’ and it was the most comprehensive mechanical reworking of the Fiat 500 throughout its history. A brand new engine arrived, with 594cc capacity, matched to a synchromesh gearbox for the first time. There were also better brakes, and the suspension was adjusted at the same time. The specification remained fixed throughout the lifespan of the model.



Number and type of cylinders: two cylinder vertical in-line (rear mounted)

Bore and stroke: 67.4mm × 70mm

Total displacement: 594cm3

Power and RPM: 18hp at 4000rpm

Compression ratio: 7.1:1

Distribution: overhead valves, chain driven side camshaft

Ignition: battery and distributor

Electrical system: 12 volts with 32Ah battery

Power supply: inverted Weber 26 IMB 10 carburettor

Lubrication: pressure with gear pump, centrifugal oil filter

Cooling: forced circulation air


Transmission and brakes

Clutch: single dry disc

Gearbox: four-speed plus reverse

Bevel gear ratio: 8/41

Transmission: rear-driven wheels

Rear axle: with independent wheels

Wheels: disc without slots

Tyres: 125R12

Shock absorbers: front and rear telescopic.

Suspensions: front, deformable wishbones, transversal leaf spring lower arms; rear, oblique triangulated wishbones, coil springs.

Brakes: hydraulic drum on four wheels.



Chassis type: Integral with metal shell

Fully loaded weight: 845kg

Wheelbase: 1840mm

Tracks: front, 1121mm; rear, 1135mm

Height: 1325mm

Length: 2970mm

Width: 1320mm

Steering: screw and sector


‘Performance’ (if you can call it that)

Maximum speed: 100kph (62mph)

Fuel consumption: 5.5l/100km

    bottom of page