My fondest memory of going out in our beloved Fiat 500 Giardiniera is when my dad and I attended a microcar rally in September 2019. The ride was usual for a classic car – windy, quite loud and absolutely amazing. The day was strangely nice for the time of year and the open top allowed the sun to come into the car, illuminating the interior and highlighting its austere beauty.
My first memory of the rally was driving to the visitor’s entrance, where we were told our car should be in the main event. We immediately jumped at the opportunity and drove around to the display car park. We were right on the edge of the rally but our car was quite prominent and afterwards, I found a photo of it on Google, which was cool. We walked around the other cars and it was intriguing to find out about them and what makes a microcar (it’s because it has an engine of 500cc or less, so the Giardiniera was only just eligible for microcar status, because its 500cc) and the cars there were quirky and the sort you would never usually see, like the Peel P50, made infamous by Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear.
Despite the huge array of weird and wonderful cars surrounding me, there were no other Giardinieras there, which made me slightly sad because I love Giardinieras but many people have never heard of or know anything about them and this was a place I’d hoped we may find someone else who loved them like we do.
Despite this, I also felt proud to own such a rare and unusual car, in a place where the Reliant Robin was common and even bland in comparison to some of the other cars.
This event was memorable to me because it was the first time I became really interested in cars, especially small cars that were deemed fast if they could beat a Vespa in a drag race. The craziness of them astonished me and really got me interested in how strange and ingenious cars can be.
The trip home was a completely different experience to me, as I realised that even this tiny Giardiniera was a huge feat of engineering and I was so aware that, even if the ride wasn’t perfect, there were huge gaps between the door and frame and the noise of the wind when you go beyond 35mph is unbearable, it’s still an amazing piece of machinery to look at and experience first-hand.
This event was also very special to me because it was the last car event I went to with my dad, the owner of our precious car, before he sadly passed away, meaning I won’t be able to get his insight and knowledge about cars at events again so I have done my best to remember every detail perfectly. He too was enthusiastic about cars, especially Giardinieras so that is how I learnt about them and almost every other car, too.
Editor’s note: We welcome Billy to the Fiat 500 club as a junior member – so sorry to hear about the loss of his Dad but pleased that Billy is taking over his Dad’s membership. Hope Billy is able to take this very special car to more events in the future.