FIAT 500 L

Production: 1968/1972

Fiat 500L

Fiat 500L

The Fiat 500 F, produced from March 1965 was immediately successful amongst the public and the press and as the months passed it became the most sold car in Italy.

Despite the constant success, the first months of 1968 seemed to register a slight inversion of this trend, even though the total always stayed more than positive.

In order to satisfy the taste of its clients, now more and more sophisticated and demanding, next to the F was also built another version of the same model, with the same mechanics but equipped with more extra accessories and more detailed: the price of this version was about 10% higher.

This is how in the fall of 1968 the Fiat 500 L was born. Just like the fiat 500 F this version too was very successful from the beginning, so much that the sales of the F dramatically dropped. In the first three months of 1971 the proportion was 1 to 7.

Distinctive traits of the “Luxury” model:

Interior: many changes in the details.

The dashboard was covered with an “antiglare” black vinyl and a new rectangular instrument derived from the older Fiat 850 was added: the speedometer scale raised to 130 Km/h; also a fuel gauge was added. The ashtray assumed a squared shape and chrome coloured edges and the switches were closer to each other than in the F model.

The steering wheel changed too and it assumed a more “”sportive” look: it was black and thicker than before and it had two metal bars on it on which was placed a showing horn that presented the Fiat logo on a red background. With the F/L was introduced for the first time (since 1970), an optional diablock that incorporated the board key: these models also had a chromed cap on the lock on the dashboard. At the base of the gearshift was situated a small black plastic glove compartment. Another characteristic of the model L was a central paper holder pocket with a new shape.

New upholstery for the doors, the same one as the one on the seats, realized with a particular striped texture. The simple closing doors handles were replaced by the more practical paper holder pockets that could serve as handles as well. The internal opening lever mechanism was modified and re-dimensioned (in the shape and in the functioning system). In the first two series the window lifting handle was chrome coloured (as was the doors opening lever); with the third series (from 1971) it became black plastic.

The chassis was covered with a loop carpet and reclining seats were introduced.

The exterior: The 500 L presented extra protections on the bull bars (most commonly known as safety bolts or “ercolini”), so that the outside reached a length of 3025 mm (instead of the usual 2970 mm).

The 500 L was the only model in Italy where the licence plate was not placed on the radiator grille, below the logo, (where it would be covered by the bull bars), but below the metal bumpers.

There is a new long-shaped logo embellishment on the radiator grill that reminded of the style of the Fiat sedan; on the rear door appears a diamond shaped logo that said “Fiat 500 L”. With the L, the denomination of “Nuova 500” officially disappeared. One year later the F will adopt the new logo too: “Fiat 500”.

New chrome coloured profiles were applied on the seals of the windshield and of the rear window, while the drip trays were covered with a polished moulding.

The new chrome coloured hubcaps were not the only thing that changed in the wheels, which also got new radial-ply tyre. New colours became available in the catalogue: black and dark yellow.

Another change concerning the exterior was on the windshield wipers, which became pressure fastened instead of being welded together (later these will be applied also on the later versions of the F, which will keep on being produced next to the L).

From the models F/L produced after 1970 onwards the licence plate light on the engine door was moved higher than in the previous series.

Given the incredible success of the L (still the most popular model) and of the F, it became necessary to increment the production. The Turin factory was not enough anymore, so the cars started to be built also at the Autobianchi of Desio (Milan) and at the Sicilfiat of Termini Imerese (Palermo).

Price: 525.000 (1968) / 670.000 (1972)