A look back in history:
The Fiat 500 is just a little italian car but this doesn't mean it hadn't achive some greatness. Since it's birth in 1957 in Mirafiori assembly plant near Turin, it was exported all around the world. It's even now one of the most famous Italian car, with its inconfondible shape and many version of it produced through the years, the Abarth, the 500L and so on until the brand new modern 500 of the 2007.
For more information on Mirafiori's plant take a look at my previous article :
Not all the 500 produced was assembled in their birthplace. Five thousand of them came out from a plant at the other hemisphere of the world. The first of July 1959 in the harbour of Auckland - New Zealand the cargo ship Sumbawa brought in the country 30 new 500, the latest version with a two stroke engine, which produceed the astonishing quantity of 15 bhp...
The car was a success in New Zealand, mostly cause of the price. After two years Noel Turner owner of the Torino Motors got the exclusive rights to produce the 500 in the country. They produced twelve cars at day, for ten years, in the Otahuhu's plant. The cute shape of the car got her in the 1965 the nickname of Bambina, giving at the car a better definied personality, following the paths of the Mini and the Beetle.
The Bambina goes to Antartica:
In 1964 a Bambina started her journey to Scott Base, a research facility located at Pram Point on Ross Island, for assolve the job of service car. They chosed the 500D because it had an air cooled engine and was a very light car, easy to lift in case the soft snow would have block her. Painted in orange for be more visible in case of emergency this little car reached the Base and did her duty until be took back to Auckland and be sold. A great achievement for such a little car!
This and other stories about the Fiat 500 in New Zealand are in Todd Niall's book Bambina.