The FIAT 500 Returns To NYC

Spring means the return of many things – namely baseball, flowers and giant chocolate rabbits.  But of all of spring’s great returns, we might be most excited for the New York International Auto Show (NYIAS), where we always have a great time.

For example, in 2010, we celebrated the FIAT brand’s return to the United States with the Big Apple debut of the 500, where we showcased some of our European models before unveiling the FIAT 500 at the Los Angeles Auto Show later that year.  Our Grigio (grey) and Bianco Perla (brilliant white) “twins” shared the stage at the Jacob Javits Center with some real-life inspiration.


In 2011, we skipped spring entirely and looked straight toward summer with the North American debut of the FIAT 500c.  Already a big hit in Europe, the 500c was (and still is) the only four-seat cabrio priced under $20,000 and provided Americans an affordable way to go topless.

Fiat 500 Cabrio New York Auto Show World Debut

But topless can be as sustainable as it is fun.  To prove that, eight full-size 500c planters gave temporary home to 12’ pear trees, which remained after NYIAS as part of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation and New York Restoration Project’s MillionTreesNYC effort.


As we continued to build on the excitement of 2011, FIAT soon became a staple of auto shows throughout the country.  We continued to celebrate the 500c’s North American debut by hosting the East Side House Settlement Gala Preview of NYIAS 2012, during which a 500 Abarth was auctioned off to benefit the East Side House Settlement’s college prep programs.


So, what do we have in store for NYIAS 2013?  We’re excited to introduce East Coast enthusiasts to the whole FIAT lineup, including the new 500L.


The Abarth Tenebra and 500 Turbo Cattiva concepts will also be taking center stage.  The Tenebra’s on-trend matte Grigio finish is the perfect look for fashion-forward Manhattan.


But the Cattiva also makes a strong statement with its unique Rame (copper) finish accented with matte and gloss Nero (black) accents.


So are you as excited for NYIAS as we are?  With the domestic auto show season almost complete, what’s wowed you, or what are you still looking forward to?  Let us know in the comments!

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The FIAT 500 Turbo: The Devil in the Details

This blog comes with a warning.

A warning that there are no pictures of a 500 taking a hairpin turn with precision, and there are no pictures of the latest celebrity event we sponsored. Nor are there any high-rez screen grabs of our new ‘Topless’ commercial. Instead, what you’ll find is an in-depth look at exactly what makes the FIAT 500 Abarth give you shivers as you feel the pull of the 1.4L MultiAir® Turbo engine.

Decades of sporting heritage may give the FIAT 500 Abarth its soul, but its heart is most definitely its 1.4L MultiAir® Turbo engine. Rated at 160 horsepower with 170 ft-lb of torque, the small engine produces big power efficiently partly through turbocharging, an increasingly mainstream performance technology.

But how does a turbocharger help produce so much more horsepower, exactly? We sat down with our engineering team who designed the North American Abarth with a larger turbo and unique engine tuning for the US market.

An engine’s performance is limited by the amount of air it can pull into the combustion chamber.  A turbocharger forces extra air into the combustion chamber which allows the engine to work more efficiently and produce more power.

Put simply, a turbocharger works like two fans, connected at opposite ends of the same shaft.  A Turbo utilizes the normally wasted energy in an engine’s exhaust to spin a fan on one end of the shaft.  As the exhaust fan spins, the fan on the other end of the shaft spins to pull in and compress large volumes of fresh air (much more air than the engine could without a turbo).  This compression process is called “Boost”.  Compressing air in a turbo does create a problem, when air is compressed it heats up and hot air is not good for engine efficiency.    To maximize the turbocharger’s efficiency in the Abarth, the compressed air is routed through dual intercoolers, cooling the air before it enters the engine, allowing a cooler, denser air charge, which provides even more efficiency and more power.  In the Abarth, the turbocharger is capable of more than doubling the amount of air the 1.4 liter engine could pull in on its own.

 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth cutaway

The benefit to a performance car such as the Abarth is clear – on the track, turbocharging boosts both its power and torque safely and efficiently, allowing it to take on the world’s foremost race cars in stock form.

The Abarth did just that at the 2012 Targa Newfoundland rally, placing second overall, taking top honors in the Next Generation Challenge (a separate contest for small performance cars) and winning the President’s Manufacturers Cup.

Even on civilian duty, a turbocharged engine makes a difference – the 2,500-pound Abarth is capable of up to 34 MPG in average highway driving.

FIAT use the same efficient turbo technology in other models such as the FIAT 500 Turbo and FIAT 500L (available summer 2013) spooling up to meet the needs of practically every lifestyle.


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Italy has inspired some of the greatest stories ever told.

With your help, we’re merely adding to the collection.

We love to hear your fondest FIAT memories, and we’ve gathered a few of our favorites. Don’t forget, you can share your FIAT story with us over in the FIAT Story Booth. Who knows? Maybe your story will be featured in our next batch of favorites.

You can see some of our previous favorites here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Michael Pardo

I fell in love with the 850 Spider back in 1970 when I went with my Dad to pick up his new 124 wagon at the showroom. It was that unfortunate brown color, but I didn’t care, this was the car for me. We had many FIAT cars when I was growing up: a 600, a couple of 1100s, the 124 and a nice little 128 3p that was my brother’s in high school. Sixteen years ago I finally fulfilled my dream of getting that 850 Spider and now have my new 500 to share the garage.


William Sisco

When I was in college I drove a new white FIAT 128SL with a red all-vinyl interior. It was the first front wheel drive car I ever drove. It was a really beautiful little car.


When I first saw the 500 online and the news that it was coming to the USA, I knew I had to have one. This past spring I purchased my red 500 POP w/5 speed. I love the car, the handling and the comments I receive.

Tina Sutton

I have a 2012 Abarth, and it is the most fun of any car I have ever owned. My plates are CIAOBAB, and I love driving up and down I-5 in Washington!



Do you have a FIAT story of your own? Share it with us!

The post YOUR FIAT STORY – COLLECTION 10 appeared first on FIAT Backstage.


FIAT Into the Green Winner Experience

When the FIAT Into the Green Sweepstakes caught her attention, Maria Louis had no hope of winning.

“No one ever wins these things. I just entered and thought that would be it,” said Maria.

But Maria entered and won.

“I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “Even after I won I was skeptical. This can’t be real!”

It took some convincing, but on Wednesday, February 20, Maria, along with her fiancé Adrian, boarded a plane bound for Hollywood as the second winner of the sweepstakes. The couple lives in Vancouver, Washington, a city 14 minutes outside of Portland. They’d been to L.A. several times, but nothing like this time around.

They were floored when they arrived to a stylish, Beverly Hills boutique hotel as fantastical as it is familiar. The lobby’s plush seating, crimson red carpeting and wood-carved side tables shaped as pigs offering guests apples made it clear that this was not going to be a typical trip to L.A.

“The hotel was way more than I expected. It was so nice,” said the youthful, down-to-earth mother of three.

As nice as the hotel was, it couldn’t keep Maria and Adrian in their room for long. The pair took to the town for shopping and dining in the city. But nothing compared to the exclusive “Una Notta Verde” (a green night), hosted by Ron Howard, Hans Zimmer, Vanity Fair and FIAT on Thursday night. Maria and Adrian were given the Hollywood treatment. Arriving by limousine to Cecconi’s, a classic Italian restaurant popular among A-listers, the couple walked the “green” carpet, posed for the paparazzi and mingled with celebrities from movies, music, film, television and fashion, including Jamie VanDyke, star of the FIAT 500e Test Track commercial. The couple dined on beef tartare, tomato mozzarella bruschetta, and crab cakes topped with cilantro tartar sauce, followed by berry tart, chocolate mousse, and a sampling of petit fours and cookies for dessert. At one point during the night, the couple shared a tray of appetizers with a sitcom star.


On Friday, we had the pleasure of joining Maria and Adrian for an eco-friendly lunch at Wilshire Restaurant, a popular, critically acclaimed neighborhood restaurant in Santa Monica. The restaurant boasts menu developed around local, organic and seasonal ingredients, taking advantage of the area’s uniquely rich and diverse farmers’ markets, and of course their acclaimed patio.

Over steak tacos, prickly pear lemonade and sticky toffee pudding, we listened as the ITG winners reminiscence about their experience with the FIAT brand.


“My uncle used to drive a FIAT in the 70s. I remember his car really well,” said Adrian. “He used to let me drive it a lot and I really liked the way it looked. I like that the new models have a similar design as the old ones but updated.”

After lunch at the Wilshire Restaurant, Maria and Adrian spent the day cruisin’ L.A. in a FIAT 500 Cabrio, reacquainting Adrian with the 500 and providing Maria with a first-hand introduction. Impressed with its fuel economy and style, Maria thinks the 500 would be perfect for her daughter to commute to Portland.

Swanky hotel. Chauffeured limousine. “Green carpet” treatment. Celebrities. A FIAT 500 ride and drive. We made a believer out of Maria. Are you next? Enter the final phase of the “Into the Green Experience” by March 15 for a chance to attend an exclusive Hollywood event.

Need another reason to enter? Go behind the scenes of the 2013 Vanity Fair Campaign Hollywood events, including “Una Notte Verde,” and see what you could be missing.

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Get Crafty: Mid-Century Mod Wall Art

gc1If you’ve been following our Get Crafty series, you know that we like to keep it simple. But simple doesn’t have to be drab. We asked Lish Dorset of Handmade Detroit to help us with a project reflecting the first Cinquecento’s clean, mid-century design and the vibrancy of the current FIAT 500 lineup’s color palette. That project? Canvas colorblock wall art!

 FIAT colors

“Henry Bertoia was a major power player in mid-century design, and he actually had roots in both Italy and the United States, like FIAT,” Dorset said.

“We frequently forget to give the creative part of our brains the benefit of doubt they deserve, but this project pays tribute to everyone’s inner artist and the easy mid-century modern,” Dorset said.

To get started, you’ll need…

    • Stretched canvases in a variety of sizes (try your local art supply or craft stores)


    • Acrylic craft paint (our choices reflected old favorites, such as Rosso red, and new standouts, like Rame orange)
    • Foam brushes, medium and small size
    • Pencil
    • Ruler
    • Painter’s tape

For the smaller canvases, draw a diagonal line down the center of your canvas. Place a piece of painter’s tape on one half to protect as you paint the other half. Once the paint has dried, move the tape to that half and paint the other half.



For larger canvases, try experimenting with the shapes and sizes. On this canvas we focused on one large blocked area paired with a smaller area.


On larger canvases, apply the paint directly to the surface in one thin layer. Once the first coat dries, look to see if a second coat is needed or if spots need to be touched up.


Canvases don’t always have to be white to start with. You can paint them a base color of your choice or choose a linen-based fabric canvas, like the one we chose in a Grigio-esque grey.

With a bolder base, we focused on basic shapes central to mid-century design – think straight lines, triangles, circles, or rectangles, similar to this one in Giallo yellow.

 We also used cookie cutters to create shapes to paint in with small brushes.



Once your paintings are dry, find a wall space large enough to house them all together. Stand back to admire your artistic achievement and the sleek mid-century flair you’ve brought to your newly artsy space!


Did you take a crack at creating your own wall art? Tell us about your experience and link to your photos in the comments below!

The post Get Crafty: Mid-Century Mod Wall Art appeared first on FIAT Backstage.



Italy has inspired some of the greatest stories ever told.

With your help, we’re merely adding to the collection.

We love to hear your fondest FIAT memories, and we’ve gathered a few of our favorites. Don’t forget, you can share your FIAT story with us over in the FIAT Story Booth. Who knows? Maybe your story will be featured in our next batch of favorites.

You can see some of our previous favorites here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 (links to previous Story Booth posts)

Sean Kane

Two years ago my uncle, Damon Kane, who was featured on your blog, was diagnosed with ALS. Upon learning of his diagnosis, he gave me his immaculate 1982 FIAT X1/9. I was (and still am) a huge Jeep fan, and Damon introduced me to the world of compact and fun sports cars. I fell in love with the X1/9 driving it through the hills of eastern Pennsylvania.


Geographically, we are separated by almost 900 miles. Even with modern technology, it is difficult to stay connected with each other at that distance. His FIAT X1/9 has given me the opportunity to further learn and understand his passion for this car. He has not only given me a gift that will always remind me of him when I open my garage door, but he has also given me something I can share with my daughters.

Ashleigh Terrazas

I had to wait until I was 17 to get my license; then I waited until I was 18 to get my car. By that point, I would have taken anything. When I got my first car I did not have that “Oh my gosh!” jumping up and down, screaming moment. I was content. It was a decent used car, and I was fine with it. Five years later, that car has driven across the country, is almost ten years old, and the wear is very obvious. My fiancé and I had been talking about getting a new car for a while, but I didn’t think it would actually happen.


On Valentine’s Day, we pulled into a FIAT dealership in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Two hours and a test drive later, I was in love. We made it official and I finally got my “Oh my gosh!” moment. I even got teary eyed.

And of course my FIAT 500 Pop is RED: the perfect Valentine’s Day gift!

Alin Giurgiu

Back in 2002 I was living in Romania and was looking for an old car to buy cheap and restore. I found a FIAT 850 from around 1965 for $15. It took me a year to restore the car and upgrade few things; like LED in the front and rear lights, racing fog lights, aftermarket radio with steering control, aftermarket speakers, and smoked rear light and tinted windows. When I finally decided to take the car to the streets I was surprised to see people’s positive reactions in my city.



Do you have a FIAT Story of your own? Share it with us!

The post YOUR FIAT STORY – COLLECTION 9 appeared first on FIAT Backstage.


Uconnect Makes Its FIAT Debut

In March 1876, Alexander Graham Bell patented what became the modern telephone, changing human communication forever.  We don’t know exactly how Bell’s first phone worked, but we do know a thing or two about Uconnect, the innovative in-vehicle communication, and entertainment system making its FIAT debut in the 2014 500L and 500L Trekking available in summer 2013.

Uconnect allows for intuitive hands-free control of communication, entertainment and navigation tools.  A popular system for nearly a decade, the all-new 500L models will feature Uconnect 5.0. This latest version of Uconnect has been built using the past incarnations of the proven Uconnect technology drivers love.


Featuring a 5” touchscreen, Uconnect 5.0 enables hands-free calling through Bluetooth-equipped smartphones.  The system can also “read” texts received on paired phones equipped with both Bluetooth and Message Access Profile (MAP). Drivers can also reply to text messages by selecting from a list of 18 pre-defined responses – all by using voice recognition.

Uconnect 5.0 also allows for voice control of navigation, AM/FM and optional SiriusXM Radio, and can stream music wirelessly from Bluetooth-enabled smartphones.  Other audio devices can connect to the system through its media hub, which includes an auxiliary jack and USB port. The 500L and 500L Trekking also include an integrated CD player.

For those who like to live just a little larger, the 500L models will also offer Uconnect 6.5, featuring a 6.5” touchscreen display and all of the communication and entertainment features of Uconnect 5.0.  In addition, Uconnect 6.5 provides dealer-activated navigation with over 6-million Points of Interests (POI’s), and a media hub with SD card reader.

Both Uconnect 5.0 and 6.5 are available with an optional Parkview rear backup camera and the optional Beats Audio System for studio-quality sound – just the way the artist intended.

Both the 500L and 500L Trekking featuring Uconnect 5.0 and 6.5 arrive in FIAT studios in mid-2013.

Have you used Uconnect in a vehicle before?  If you already know and love the system, share your story in the comments.

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