The Fiat 500 is an automobile with its own very distinctive character. It’s certainly an acquired taste and whether or not you’re into it, one thing’s for sure, it’s pretty unique – especially with the one million different trims, models and editions you can order one in.
No doubt, as part of their launch strategy for the heavily refreshed 500 (only in Europe for now), Fiat have announced a special one-off edition – to be auctioned off for charity – that makes the already-unique hatchback even more unique. Full-unique, you could say. As a vehicle to raise awareness and money for the “Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Europe” Foundation – which champions human rights, Fiat wanted to make a splash, and a splash they made.
The first production one-off new-generation car to roll off the assembly line, the 500 started its life as a 69-hp Bossa Nova white (with a red roof), 1.2L convertible, equipped with the Lounge trim level. From there, Stefano (Bottega) Conticelli, an Italian designer (I had to look him up), went and truly followed Fiat’s mandate to design something unique. Conticello hand-laid honey-gold leather trim… to the exterior of the Fiat. Yes, leather. Yes, exterior.
No part of the Fiat is left hide-free and the calkfskin leather adorns the every body panel on the car. Around the headlights, foglights, taillights, grille, and even the wheel arches. A leather stripe runs across the hood, front fenders, across the doors, and the rear quarter panels.
The leather is outlined with a sky blue stripe, a tribute to the famous Riva yachts. The rear picnic basket mounted on the tailgate is made from the same calfskin leather adorning the rest of the 500. The mirrors are spared from the calf’s hide and they’re covered with mahogany.
I feel that I have legitimate concerns about the durability of the leather but Fiat says the leather has been “treated to withstand the elements”.
Honestly, I enjoy the aggressive Fiat 500 Abarth. It’s quick, quite aggressive-looking, light, unique, and most of all, it’s fun to drive. Really fun. I can’t help but wonder why Fiat didn’t create a special edition Abarth convertible, or a fire-breathing track-ready 500, or even a tricked out, decked out, accessorized 500L. Anything other than the thing that senior editor Yarkony aptly described as a “tex-mex panda”. To me, it looks like a poor attempt at camouflage and at first look, my first thought was, “that spy photo is pretty high quality”. A friend of mine mentioned it looked a “Pokeman character gone wrong”. While another friend (known for their outrageous fashion statements) told me they thought it was, “an absolute masterpiece”.
The special Fiat will be auctioned off at a very exclusive and prestigious event – the “I Defend Gala 2015”, an evening devoted to defending the universal values of basic human rights – taking place at none other than the Riva Tunnel in Monte Carlo. The profits from the sale will aid “Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Europe”.
What I will say and give maximum credit for is that the high-res photos show the work to be top-notch. The hand-laid leather looks to be extremely well applied and the blue stripe stitching is masterful. And at the end of the day, “Fiat 500 1/1 – Bottega Conticelli, Umbria Italia, for Monaco Boat Service” should fetch a pretty penny at the Monte Carlo prestigious charity gala to raise funds to better humanity.