Members of the Autobytel editorial staff were recently discussing which of today’s production cars would be tomorrow’s auction stars, and now we know an early member of the club: The Fiat 500—if it has the right pedigree.
A 2011 Fiat 500 Prima Edizione just sold for $350,000 at a recent charity auction for the Fisher House Foundation. (The organization is committed to helping military families stay close to loved ones who are undergoing medical treatment.) For those who aren’t among the Fiat cognoscenti, the Prima Edizione model was a limited run of 500 units—of course—offered to members of the top Fiat fan club in the U.S. Unsurprisingly, one managed to get into the hands of famed car collector Jay Leno, and it actually was his car that was auctioned. And while that likely helped raise the bidding bar, what helped more was that Leno was handling auctioneer duties.
“We’re thrilled that the FIAT brand could play a part in the exciting evening,” said Tim Kuniskis, head of the FIAT Brand for North America. “Jay was amazing in raising money for the Fisher Foundation, which does inspiring work.”
Added Leno: “It was a lot of fun to see a Fiat 500 bring Ferrari pricing, especially for such a worthy cause.”
Of course, the 500 is a lot of fun too, and it will be even more so when the newest member of the family reaches dealerships. The 2013 FIAT 500 Turbo will feature a turbocharged I4 engine that makes 135 hp and 150 lb.-ft. of torque—increases of 34 percent and 53 percent, respectively, over the standard 500—as well as an upgraded suspension, its own unique look, and a sound system with Beats by Dr. Dre audio technology.
Best of all, even though the 500 Turbo may not be as rare as the Prima Edizione, you won’t have to pay a six-figure price tag to get one. When it goes on sale this fall, it will start at $19,500.