Fiat City Car (1972)

Posted by Scott

Designed by Centro Stile Fiat, the 1972 Fiat X1/23 City Car concept was an all electric concept far ahead of it’s time. I can’t even explain how hard I would roll this thing all over San Francisco if I could get my hands on one and the battery lasted longer than 5 minutes (assuming they weren’t very efficient given that we still haven’t gotten the whole thing right 40 years later). I see a lot of those Smart Cars all around the city and get jealous when I see them park perpendicular. Does anyone have an ultra-compact like this? Did it live up to the hype?


34 Comments Leave A Comment


John says:

May 28, 2010 at 2:56 am

Being a country boy, I couldn’t live with anything smaller than a Jeep. There’s a lot of rough terrain in the north that compacts just can’t handle.


Olivier says:

May 28, 2010 at 3:56 am

Hmm yes I don’t think I’d have to switch to the dark side of bodyboarding ith one of those…this old skool compact looks cooler than the new ones though :)


Kyle says:

May 28, 2010 at 4:12 am

I’ve lived in a rural-suburb my whole life. I’ve seen everything from trucks to mopeds to smart cars to hummers. I would probably have a garage full of little cars like this if I had an episode of Cribs.

But like John said, rough terrain and jeeps go together perfectly. Nothing like a bit of unexpected offroading through a 50 or 60 year old logging trail. However, jump back into the city and what do you need anything bigger than this little guy for?


Alex / HeadUp says:

May 28, 2010 at 6:14 am

LOL would love to see a picture Scott of you “rolling hard” thru the city in one of these!! “they see me rollllinnnn, they hatinnnn”

This just got me thinking about advertising today for smart cars, and how that might be applied to the Fiat City Car (can you hear the refined voice of the announcer as he says the name and the car whips around the bend of a beautiful country road?), would be kind of funny to see that done.


qbot says:

May 28, 2010 at 7:51 am

Potholes in Montreal would destroy this car in a second. This car would be ideal for a city without potholes and trips to the market. That’s about it.


mza says:

May 28, 2010 at 10:09 am

this makes current smartcars look like they were designed by playmobile.

it would be pretty great to utilize those 6 foot gaps people leave all over the place on the street though. ahh downtown living.


Scott says:

May 28, 2010 at 11:28 am

Reagan! haha, nice man. that’ll have to be my new business card.

yeah, this thing would have to be city only, I could probably get away with this and a bike, but then I’d pretty much be trapped in the city. I keep wondering if I could get away with city car share, that would probably be a better alternative.


NAVIS says:

May 28, 2010 at 3:21 pm

You’d be amazed at what small cars can handle…. I took a 899cc Fiat Seicento from London to Mongolia…


Trog says:

May 29, 2010 at 6:12 pm

I’m going to disagree with you on this, Scott. This (and most of the smart cars) are not very stylish at all, even with the retro look to them. They’re expensive, cramped, childish-looking cars. I personally like the stylings of 5-door hatchback subcompacts. Obviously they’re not part of not the “hybrid/electric” bandwagon everybody is on, but they’re cheep good looking gas-sippers. I’d much rather have a Ford Fiesta or a Chevy Aveo.


Stu says:

May 29, 2010 at 7:06 pm

Neat looking, but I’d rather have a Suzuki Samurai EFI. Its interesting to note that a Sidekick/Tracker can fit into SmartCar parking stalls in Vancouver/Victoria.


L-tron says:

June 1, 2010 at 3:19 pm

whoa! I want that! This thing is stylin’. Although I would be frightened driving it as people these days love to drive SUVs and trucks for no apparent reason and those things would flatten this mobile. It’s a shame that we are just starting to promote and develop high efficient and environmentally friendly cars. The technology has been here for so long. :p


Pegasus says:

June 3, 2010 at 2:53 pm

The concept drawing (last pic) is much better than the actual photos of the prototype. The drawing makes the final look the like the Happy Meal Toy version.

It looks to me like the original concept had gull-wing doors (or am I mistaken about those panel lines?) The lines are just that much crisper – love the door handle slot paralleling the bottom of the window and lining up with what looks like slightly gratuitous slots in the back panel. The round dot for the handle of the final prototype just doesn’t quite look as good.


Pegasus says:

June 3, 2010 at 2:57 pm

… but definitely prettier than the smart car! (if you’re looking for efficiency, might as well go for a diesel TDI VW bug with the added bonus that you don’t look like you’re driving a playmobile toy. My dad’s diesel bug gets as good mileage as a smart car, and has well over 300,000 km on the original engine)


Opensource Obscure says:

June 10, 2010 at 2:08 am

I’m from Italy. I think this car was never released to the public, as I never ever heard about it – while official Fiat cars have always been well-known, mainstream, popular products.

This prototype clearly shows some peculiar elements (front lights, black stripes on sides, air holes) that got into Fiat 126 and 127, two small economic cars that had a relevant success in Italy during the ’70s and ’80s.


Oliver Edwards says:

June 11, 2010 at 4:01 am

Really nice piece of work from the time, reminds me of VW models from early 90’s. However, the car looks very vulnerable. Mind you the Italians are pretty hardcore drivers, so no need for safety!
Hand it to Tesla, they will certainly have a solution for compact battery power.


used car parts says:

June 17, 2010 at 12:01 am

This car is very fun to drive. It’s a very rare find. The changes featured in this car were mostly cosmetic and almost all concentrated on the interior of the car.


Louise May says:

November 30, 2010 at 5:51 am

These cars look like fun! I do remember seeing them around when I was growing up many years ago! They have came a long way compared to the city cars of today! Great photos by the way!