If doomscrolling has you feeling down, allow me to offer a brief reprieve. This is the Fiat Topolino and, as you’ve probably guessed, it’s a re-worked Citroen Ami, the tiny French quadricycle taking the internet and Monaco by storm. As part of the Topolino treatment, Fiat gave the Ami the face of an old Nuova 500, and it works perfectly. The new Topolino is just so incredibly friend-shaped, like come on. You just want to give it a gold star and a tiny hat, it’s so pinch-me cute. The roll-back sunroof, the retro mirrors, the dog dish hubcaps, it’s all just so perfect. Fiat even painted it the same color as mint chocolate chip ice cream, just to send the aww-meter through the ceiling. You don’t look at the Topolino like a car, you look at it like a puppy.
Unfortunately, Fiat is so flip-flapping confident in the new Topolino that it’s only released one photo and seven paragraphs of marketing-speak on this tiny guy. While I’d love to see more of this new voiture sans permis, now’s a perfect time to show you its cousin, the Citroen my Ami Buggy.
Powering the Ami is a 5.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack feeding an eight-horsepower electric motor. Despite such meager figures and the silhouette of a telephone booth, it sports a range of 46 miles and an electronically-limited top speed of 28 mph. I’d be surprised if the Topolino deviates much from these figures, as speed isn’t the goal here. Fiat claims its littlest vehicle “will expand urban electric mobility,” which makes me picture the slowest-ever remake of the Blue Brothers mall chase.
Alright, technical stuff over, let’s talk heritage. Topolino is Italian for “little mouse” which is just the most adorable thing, although this new model doesn’t look particularly mousy. That’s because it’s a throwback in spirit to the original Topolino, a mouse-shaped car designed to mobilize Italy. America had the Model T, Britain had the Austin Seven, and Italy had the 1936 Fiat 500. With a top speed of 53 mph and a reasonable price tag of 8,900 lire, it was a massive success. Fiat sold more than half a million of these little things over a 19-year timespan, cementing this peoples’ car as an icon. It might not be quite as synonymous with la dolce vita as the Nuova 500 that came after, but that doesn’t matter, it’s still utterly charming. Mind you, the 500C model lost its mousey face, but here’s a picture of one absolutely zooming to make up for it.
This might sound moderately unhinged but Fiat would be silly to not sell the Topolino in America. Before you ask me if I’ve gone mad, let me be perfectly clear: The Topolino would not compete with cars. See, Americans spend an awful lot of money on golf cars in areas where you can take one to the shops. Retirement villages, sandy locales, Jason Torchinsky’s living room, those sorts of areas. The Topolino would be like a luxury Changli, competing with the electric Moke, various Club Cars, and a litany of E-Z-Gos. I reckon on aesthetics alone, it’s a slam-dunk in that category. In summation: Stop what you’re doing, a new microcar just dropped, and it has the potential to shut ‘em down and open up shop. I wonder if the Ruff Ryders could roll with this wonderful little quadricycle?
(Photo credits: Fiat, Citroen)
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