Surfing with Brianna Cope at the 2013 US Open of Surfing

The pumped-up sensation felt before or immediately after an extreme surfing moment causes a swell of adrenaline that increases heart rate and blood flow to the muscles. During our recent trip to Huntington Beach, California, for the Vans US Open of Surfing, we got the chance to hang out with 19-year-old junior professional surfer Brianna Cope.

bri1 Brianna Cope at the US Open of Surfing

A native of Hawaii, Brianna was raised on the beautiful island of Kauai, where the sport of surfing is ingrained into everyday culture. Surfing wasn’t Brianna’s first sport of choice. Growing up, Brianna loved playing soccer, but as she began watching her older sister surf, her natural competitive spirit set in, and she began paddling out to sea.

At 11 years old, after only one year of experience, Brianna began making a name for herself at local surf competitions, acquiring many coveted titles. With a great deal of practice and determination, Brianna has successfully made it to the US Open of Surfing to compete against the most talented surfers in the world, including some from her hometown. “All of us surfers from Kauai are super supportive of one another. While we are still very competitive, we come together to positively represent our island,” she told us.

 bri2Brianna Cope is Jonesin’ for a FIAT® 500L

A combination of exceptional talent and a slew of high visibility sponsorships are making Brianna a familiar face on sandy beaches far and wide.  A recent spread in a well-known high-end fashion magazine and a partnership with Jones Soda Co. are making Brianna a familiar face. “I think of myself as a normal teenager, but I am still taken aback by the reaction I get from fans at such a big event like the US Open of Surfing.”

Since Brianna was going to be away from home for three weeks competing in Huntington Beach, we loaned her our FIAT 500 Cabrio to help her get around town. “At home I drive an SUV, so the FIAT 500 puts me at a much different level with the road than I am normally used to, and I must say, I really get a thrill from scooting through traffic,” said Brianna.


Brianna Cope takes a drive in her FIAT 500 Cabrio

“I love seeing people’s faces when I pull up next to them in the FIAT 500 Cabrio. That thing gets tons of attention.” We agree that the stylish cinquecento catches people’s attention but would not be surprised if the positive response was a result of Brianna’s infectious smile.

bri4Brianna Cope hanging out with fans at the Vans US Open of Surfing

After chatting with FIAT Backstage, Brianna took some time to meet fans and sign autographs by the FIAT 500L at the FIAT Cabana. “When I’m not competing, I love to interact and engage with my fans through social media, especially Instagram, where I post photos of my surf adventures and my life in Kauai.”

bri5Brianna in action during a Surf Competition

We’re big fans of sharing our adventures on Instagram too! To see more of our photos from the US Open of Surfing and other FIAT sponsored events, follow FIATUSA on Instagram.


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FIAT® Backstage Snapshots

To thank our fans, we are sharing the most compelling fan stories submitted throughout the year in our brand-new Snapshots video series. The series celebrates you, the fan, by featuring stories that are as interesting and diverse as you are.

For our inaugural post, we met with Debbie M., whose late father’s affinity for the FIAT® brand from his military days stationed in Italy inspired her to purchase a FIAT vehicle of her own. Her father’s dog tags, displayed proudly above the dash, serve as a reminder of him to her every day.

Hear Debbie’s touching story in our first FIAT Backstage Snapshots video below.

Does your FIAT 500 have a deep personal meaning to you? What fuels the connection that you share? We encourage you to tell us your story, like Debbie did, in the FIAT Story Booth, and our next Snapshots feature could be about you!

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2013 Woodward Dream Cruise


Detroit is home to Woodward Avenue — the location of the first mile of concrete roadway in the country. Ever since the birth of the American automobile industry, Woodward Avenue has become synonymous with Detroit, cruising culture and the automotive industry.

Every year at the end of summer, car enthusiasts from all over the country join together with their historical vehicles to cruise Woodward and bask in sweet nostalgia. FIAT Backstage was there to capture the FIAT® 500 and its forefathers.




Be sure to check out the FIAT USA Facebook page for more from our weekend on Woodward Avenue, and if you had the opportunity to attend please share your photos of your favorite FIAT vehicles from the cruise.

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Story Booth Collection 18

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.

Hazen Nester

One test drive. That’s all it took. After putting a ’12 500 Pop into Sport mode and leaving the Studio lot, the entire experience left me a giggling fool — from the exhaust note to the nimble handling to the aesthetics. It was no longer a question of if I would get it, but when. The answer was a week later! I smile every time I see it parked outside my building, and now that the weather’s warmer, I drive around with the windows down, feeling on top of the world and turning heads.

FIAT 500

This is the first car I’ve ever had that I feel reflects my personality. A fantastic piece of machinery!

Rita Linda

My first FIAT was a 4-door sedan, 4 on the floor — which my father bought for me when I graduated high school in 1969. In fact, he bought two of them — one for me and one for my brother. They were identical, except my brother’s had white walls. At that time my father paid $1,900 for each car. I drove it for more than 15 years before trading it in for a new car. I know it would have driven well for another 15 years if I had kept it. It was my baby before getting married and having a family. It stayed with me in college and after I got married, when I would tote the kids around.

I really miss that car.

Kurt Stevens  

FIAT runs in my blood. My first car was a ’78 FIAT 128 Saloon. At that time my brother was driving a ’74 124 Saloon and my dad owned a 1968 850 Spider. Sadly, we were forced to try new things when FIAT left America. These days I’m loving my 500T and my brother is restoring a 124 Spider. Welcome back to the USA, FIAT!

Turbo FIAT

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

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The Italians Are Coming! – An On-Set Look at “Italian Invasion” the New FIAT® 500L Spot

Quaint homes, dirt roads and a lot of wagons. It’s not a scene out of a history book; it’s the set of our new TV spot for the debut of the 2014 FIAT® 500L. The commercial takes a look back at the historic ride of Paul Revere, and puts a FIAT 500 twist on the chain of events. From the start, viewers are instantly transported back in time to a rustic scene, and from there things get pretty interesting. See for yourself below:

 As you can probably guess, creating a spot like this took a lot of creativity and hard work from a dedicated team of pros. From finding the perfect location, to creating the perfect costumes, to painstakingly planning the driving scenes, our “Italian Invasion” spot was a big undertaking – a fitting way to introduce the bigger, more versatile FIAT 500L. To give you a closer look into the creation of this spot, we chatted with the production team, who were more than happy to give us some of the on-set stories that helped make this commercial one to remember.

Read what the production team had to say about…

The location…

We needed to find something that had an authentic period feel to it. Location scouts were contacted and asked to submit suggestions. We also knew that we needed to be someplace where weather wouldn’t be an issue (e.g., it has been known to snow in Boston in March). Old Salem, North Carolina, provided the ideal setting and weather.

The Italians are coming

Although Old Salem provided an excellent backdrop for the commercial, it still needed to be “dressed.” The streets are now paved, so we had to truck in tons of dirt to place upon the streets. Crates and boxes of vegetable and hay were brought in. Horse and carts were used, and even goats and chickens roamed the streets.

The period costuming…

The creation of the wardrobe was amazing. We had to create authentic period clothing that could be instantly dismantled on camera in real time to create a more contemporary look.

The Italians are coming

 University of North Carolina School of the Arts, located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, was kind enough to allow us use of its workrooms in the costume design department to finesse the costumes prior to filming.  What made the costuming so authentic, was that many of the village locals, who were also extras in the commercial, wear attire reminiscent of the 1800’s on a daily basis.

Challenges on set…

The most challenging shot to capture was the scene of Paul Revere riding down the street on horseback announcing to the town that “the Italians are coming.” The horse and stunt rider were followed closely by a camera car pursuing them down the street, which was crowded with extras, horses and props. We also had a Humane Society representative on site to ensure that the horses were safe for the entire of the shoot.

FIAT Backstage

FIAT Commercial

 The most fun shot to film…

The transformations were a lot of fun to film. It was amazing to see the costumes deconstruct in real time on camera. As a side note, the costumes were donated to the University of North Carolina School of the Arts upon completion of the shoot. For the hair-cutting scene, we attached extensions to an actress’s short hair, so she could use authentic period-correct shears to cut the extensions.

FIAT Commercial

 Ready to kick off your own FIAT revolution? Contact your nearest FIAT Studio for more information.

Don’t forget to tell us below which part of the new 500L spot you thought was the most fun!

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Talking Curves with Surfboard Designer Donald Brink

Donald Brink is a high-end surfboard shaper and owner of BRINK Surfboards. His philosophy in life, surfing, shaping and especially board design is to keep things simple, and we agree. Just as Donald envisions the waves as he molds his surfboards to ride the ocean, we built the FIAT® 500L to ride the road.

We caught up with Donald in San Diego, California, while he was shooting this video for the Grind TV video series that celebrates our upcoming urban surf parties taking place nationwide.

FIAT Backstage: As a surfboard designer, you’ve obviously got a keen eye for killer curves. What about the design of the FIAT 500L do you find most intriguing?

Donald Brink: The FIAT 500L is extremely pleasing to the eye. What first stood out to me were the extra mirrors off the windshield and the curve of the roofline. I’m particularly fond of the two-tone white roof with red sides and dark windows. This car has a great driving perspective and ergonomics; nothing was distracting or out of place. Probably my favorite details of all are the subliminal lines in the headlights; they really help lead your eye in.

I spend all day editing design, adding things here, subtracting things there. The overall simplicity of the car causes the bold features that are included to make a stronger impact to the form and shape.

FIAT Backstage: Do you think the FIAT 500L fits into the surfing lifestyle?

Donald: Living in a coastal community, as most surfers do, parking at the beach is sometimes a problem. Parking a car this size is of huge value to someone living in a more densely populated community.

When equipped with a surf rack, the FIAT 500L is the perfect size to easily get a surfboard on and off the car. So many times you see a really nice car with expensive roof racks and together they just don’t look good, but this rack really seemed to flow with the lines of the car. You can tell that the FIAT brand has taken into account what the car would look like with a surf rack attached, so hats off to the design crew.

FIAT Backstage: What would a Donald Brink custom FIAT 500L look like?

Donald: It’s funny; I make custom and new things for people all day long, and so often my design aesthetic lends itself to be a little more rough and textured. I envision the car in a rustic metal, sepia toned, with coffee stains and dents; more abused, with the same lines and modern features.

Want more access to the world of surfing? Be sure to keep an eye on FIAT Backstage in the upcoming weeks to hear from some of the biggest personalities in the surfing world during our series of GrindTV Urban Surf Parties.

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Score a Scorpion Has Stung Again

The infamous scorpion has stung again.

This year we set out to give one FIAT® fan a brand-new 2013 FIAT 500 Abarth Cabrio in the return of our Score a Scorpion Sweepstakes. Score-a-Scorpion posed a challenge to fans to follow clues that led to “Scorpions” hidden across the Internet. Once fans collected all eight scorpions, they became eligible to win one of four exclusive Abarth Track Experiences or the ultimate prize, a 2013 FIAT 500 Abarth Cabrio.

This year’s lucky huntress was Lori Anderson from Kansas City, Missouri, who has her head in the clouds over her new FIAT 500 Abarth Cabrio. This wasn’t the first time Lori had scored herself a convertible cinquecento. Previous to winning, Lori was the enthusiastic owner of a 2012 FIAT 500c. Lori sat down with FIAT Backstage to tell us about this once-in-a-lifetime experience.


FIAT Backstage: What prompted you to embark on the quest to Score a Scorpion?

Lori Anderson: My husband and I purchased a 2012 FIAT 500c last fall. We love it very much but at times wished we had the Abarth Cabrio. We had posted various pictures from some of our adventures on the FIAT USA Facebook page when we read about this sweepstakes. My husband and I joked about winning, but never in our wildest dreams did we think this would happen. At least now we can have “his and hers” FIAT 500 vehicles.


FIAT Backstage: What was your strategy for finding clues and tracking down scorpions?

LA: I used search engines in many ways. I would break down the clues and search for key words.


FIAT Backstage: What was your reaction when you found out you won a brand-new 2013 FIAT 500 Abarth Cabrio?

LA: To be honest, at first I was skeptical. I am a pragmatic person and was hesitant to just send off my personal information.

I received the email saying I had won on July 3, but it was not until the following evening that I had access to our home PC to investigate further. It’s safe to say that it was the longest Fourth of July holiday ever.

I phoned the FIAT headquarters in Michigan the next business day and explained my skepticism. Around 3 P.M. in the afternoon I received a call back confirming that this was legit, and that I did in fact actually win a new car. I wanted to shout and show my enthusiasm, but I was at work and had to play it low-key.

FIAT Backstage: What is your favorite feature of your new Scorpion?

LA: Of course the awesome gas mileage. I also love that it’s basically an amped-up version of our FIAT 500 Pop, and it’s absolutely sexy! It’s very hard to sum it all up in “one” feature.

FIAT Backstage:  Do you have any fun road trips planned for your new ride?

LA: Most definitely. We just got back from the Rockies in the FIAT 500 Pop and loved the way it handled on the mountain roads. I can’t wait to go back with the Abarth.  Perhaps we will go south this time to visit friends in Baton Rouge or to Florida or even upstate New York to visit family. We can’t wait to just explore the small towns in our area; the FIAT 500 makes the drive more fun than just getting from point A to point B. We usually have admirers everywhere we go.

Congratulations, Lori. We can’t blame a girl for striving to feel the ultimate power of an Abarth!

Did you participate in the quest to Score a Scorpion? Share your hunting strategy with us in the comments below!

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