• Jul 31st 2007 at 8:55AM
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When you go shopping for a used car it's always a good idea to take a look in the glove box and trunk because you never know what surprises you'll find. This past spring mechanic Lee McKee picked up a decomposing 1959 Fiat 500 that was sitting in the lot of the Talladega's International Mo­torsports Hall of Fame and Museum intending to use it for parts.
In the trunk he found documentation that the Fiat formerly owned by NASCAR founder Bill France had been used by Shell scientists for their annual fuel economy competition that continues to this day as the Shell Eco-Marathon. This year's winner was a streamliner that achieved 1,902 mpg.

In its day the 500 was stripped to the bare essentials, including ditching the reverse gear, radiator, fan and water pump and limiting the top speed to 16mph. It did manage to achieve 244mpg in 1969. Thanks to its history, instead of being parted out, the Fiat will now be restored to its 1969 condition.

[Source: Montgomery Advisor via Hugg, thanks to Linton for the tip]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      My post with my email address of vapor@gt.rr.com is no longer active. Please refer any questions about the fiat to me at mympgcar@gmail.com To follow the restoration of the car visit www.59fiattestcar.com ken
      • 8 Years Ago
      That looks more like a FIAT or Zastava 600. The 500's front was different. BTW: The 500 did not have a water pump!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Back in the 60's my dad had a 500, and we would all (two parents two kids and one large dog) fit in that tiny thing. It was a great car, and easy to maintain, as it was very simple mechanically. If you ever got stuck in a snowbank, two adults could lift the front end out of the snow.
      • 8 Years Ago
      looks like a fun project.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Empire Autohaus and Lee McKee do not own the Fiat in this article anymore. The new owner can be reached at vapor@gt.rr.com
      • 7 Years Ago
      Lee-please return the paperwork that accompanyied the car so the historical value can be retained. The information is time dated. Most of the information disclosed to schieve the mileage can be found on the internet today. Today's technology far exceeds that old documentation. The car will be restored for public showing. Ken
      • 8 Years Ago
      Hay I got one of them rusting in my back yard to
      • 8 Years Ago
      It was THAT small?

      Jesus Christ.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Wow. 244 miles at 16 mph. Great.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I am italian and I confirm that car is a Fiat 600 and not a Fiat 500. Mattias was right! Bye from Pasquale from Portogruaro (Venice - Italy)
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