Race cars come in all shapes and sizes and representing the cute end of the spectrum is the extremely rare 1949 Fiat 500 Topolino 750MM by Zagato.
The standard 500 Topolino was a VW Beetle equivalent that was manufactured by Fiat from 1935 to 1955, but this particular car is very special. It was one of eight made by coach builder Zagato to make it into a mini-racer and now it’s the only known survivor.
Not only is it unique, it’s beautiful. Zagato was never one for over the top styling; instead it liked to keep things simple to the point where it could be the original design (like this Maserati). And boy does the car look pretty in that orange sunset at 1:09 onwards.
This is, of course, more than just a 500 Topolino with bits stuck on. The original body was removed and Zagato designed and built a more aerodynamic replacement you see in the Petrolicious video. Not by machine, but by hand, which is something its current owner, Scott Gauthier, appreciates.
Gauthier is actually in the jewelry business ─ specifically shiny things made by hand. He started out as a janitor at a jewelers before working his way up to becoming a designer, earning the money for his vast collection of classic vehicles.
Obviously a petrolhead, yet Gauthier is content being just another part of the car’s history – one that will outlive him. “First of all, I’m not the first owner, I’m not the second owner, I’m not going to be the last owner. I’m just part of this car’s history.
“The car will live on longer than I will and that’s one of my favourite things about finding cars that are almost gone and restoring them so that I not only become a part of the history, but I’m extending it to someone else.”
It may not be the fastest or the most expensive, but this is a little car that just about anyone can appreciate. “It’s a wonderful feeling. I love driving [my cars], this more so than any other in my museum. It’s like a smile-mobile. I drive it down the street and no matter who it just brings smiles to people’s faces and that’s a pleasure to be a part of,” he added.
Petrolicious has done a sterling job of giving the unique Zagato the attention it deserves so you definitely should watch it. Then try not to imagine restoring your own Topilino…