From the Lumière brothers' native city to the home of the international Film Festival: just like a star on the red carpet, the Fiat icon revelled in the attention first in Paris and then in Cannes in the continuation of its tour. It began in Italy last month and will visit some of Europe's loveliest squares, involving fans and collectors of Fiat 500 models from the past and present. The inspiring "500 Forever Young Tour" forms part of a larger project, launched by the Fiat brand to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Fiat 500, an icon that maintains its identity while always remaining up to date.
The French stage started on April 25 from the MotorVillage Rond-Point des Champs Elysées, the spectacular FCA brand showroom in the heart of Paris, also a location for exhibitions and cultural events centred on Italian taste in all its forms. The undeniable star of the event was the 60th anniversary special series Fiat 500, which is premiering the exquisite "Dolcevita" two-tone body colour, combining Tri-Coat White and Pastel Ivory. And the exclusive special series received a film star's welcome from the visitors, who photographed it incessantly, together with the historic Fiat 500 models on display beside it and the many merchandising products dedicated to the iconic Italian car.
After its first appearance on the Paris catwalk, the great little star moved on to Cannes, the French capital of film with its famous international Festival. Its destination was a striking location in the "Quai Saint-Pierre" quarter, one of the oldest parts of the town, not far from the sea and the "Palais des Festivals et des Congrès" which has hosted the cinema-fest since 1947. Here a scene taken straight from the sixties was created with actors in costume and vintage shops - a fashion boutique, a chic café and a colourful grocery store - with some of the finest Italian products on show, fitting companions for the two icons on display outside: the 500 of yesterday and today and the period Vespa scooter.
Encapsulating all Italian industry's creative flair, these two symbolic objects have moved beyond the status of "means of transport" to become "genuine emotional experiences". And it warmed the heart to see the historic 500 cars and Vespa scooters driving together along the "Corniche de l'Estérel", the road that winds around the peninsulas of the Estérel Massif and through the elegant little towns dotted along the Cote d'Azur.
Included in the period installation created on the Cannes seafront, near the ubiquitous newspaper seller with the papers of the time, were the splendid trio of a red Fiat 500 F (1969), a blue Fiat 500 L (1970) and a yellow F 500 L (1971). Next to them was a Vespa, the scooter that owes some of its fame to the "paparazzi" who pursued the Hollywood stars through night-time Rome in "La Dolce Vita". The photographers were just as entranced by the three 60th anniversary special series Fiat 500 cars on show on the seafront. In fact, just like a true star, the great little car is still delighting the public with its timeless style. Available only in the convertible version, the exclusive numbered limited edition pays homage to its ancestor through the contemporary reworking of stylistic features that made it world-famous, like the vinyl dashboard, the chrome trims on the bonnet, and the vintage logo on the nose between the chrome moustaches, as well as on the liftgate and steering-wheel. There are also retro touches inside the 60th anniversary special series Fiat 500, including the piping on the upholstery in ivory leather with contrasting maroon stitching to match the central dashboard fascia, and the two-tone mats.
Not far from the "Quai Saint-Pierre" is the bustling Forville market, the most famous in Cannes, surrounded by countless shops in the nearby narrow streets. Every Monday, this is the site of the flea market, thronged with tourists and locals in search of vintage items. The Fiat 500 is no vintage object; it is always up to date, capable of renewal in keeping with its own tradition, making it an authentic four-wheeled myth. Today, sixty years after its first appearance, the great little car continues to thrill with its unique design, and to find favour with all those who appreciate beauty and originality. What's more, from the technological point of view, the sixtieth anniversary special series provides the best today's market has to offer in terms of technology and on-board comfort. And the special series will star again in the next stage of the "500 Forever Young Tour", which will visit another fascinating European country. And so continues the story of the 500, a car that has been influencing fashion, society and lifestyle every since 1957, becoming a genuine global icon with about six million cars sold to date.