Fiat 500 really is a work of art

Fiat 500 described as an "unpretentious masterpiece" by MoMA curator.
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Fiat 500 described as an "unpretentious masterpiece" by MoMA curator.

 

In celebration of its 60th birthday the original Fiat 500 is joining the ranks of cars that have been exhibited in art galleries.

The 500 - more commonly known in New Zealand by its Bambina nickname - is undoubtedly the best-loved car in Fiat's history.

It is celebrating its 60th birthday during July with a special event that honours its history and "the style and design that made it famous across the globe" with an example joining the permanent collection of MoMA, the Museum of Modern Art, in New York.

"The Fiat 500 is an icon of automotive history that fundamentally altered car design and production," says Martino Stierli, the Philip Johnson chief curator of architecture and design at MoMA.

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"Adding this unpretentious masterpiece to our collection will allow us to broaden the story of automotive design as told by the Museum.

"The model acquired by MoMA will be a 500 F-series, the most popular 500 ever, made from 1965-72. More than four million 500s were made from 1957-75, with the F-series holding the record for the number produced.

According to Fiat Chrysler NZ, more than 5000 original Fiat 500s spent their lives in NZ, either imported or assembled locally in Otahuhu where production peaked at 800 a year. The "Bambina" nickname also originated here.

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With its addition to the MoMA collection, the 500 joins a handful of other cars to have become art gallery exhibits (not counting special exhibitions of car design) that most famously includes the original Range Rover that was exhibited at the Louvre in Paris as an "exemplary work of industrial design" upon its launch in 1970.

 - Stuff

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