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Fiat 500 Baldi Frog, when a compact has to be even smaller

If an old Fiat 500 seems like a tiny car, in Italy they manufactured an even smaller version that takes the concept of a compact vehicle to another level, this is the Fiat 500 Baldi Frog.

En 1957 appears Fiat 500, like a small compact that took the baton of the legendary 500 Topolino more than twenty years after the latter's production began. The little car that was named “New 500”, did not start out as a best-seller, but with the addition of a four-seater model shortly after its presentation, things changed.

It was from then on that the 500 triumphed, with production that lasted until 1975, and 1977 in the case of the station wagons called Giardiniera. The result was 3.893.294 units sold, a true bestseller that made the stroller the popular classic par excellence of Italy. 

It should be remembered that the 500 appeared at a time when various microcars were being manufactured throughout Europe, so the model presented by Fiat in 1957 was in many cases the first car that many families could access.

Part of this unprecedented popularity in the country can be understood if we analyze how the streets of many Italian towns are distributed, many of these being extremely narrow and difficult to maneuver. 

FIAT 500 BALDI FROG: EVEN SMALLER 

In the streets those who little more than Wasp and the Ape could move with ease, it was considered to manufacture a smaller car than the popular Fiat 500, as an urban model to move easily in the most complicated situations. 

This is when it appears an Italian company based in San Remo called Baldi GAMC, which had previously worked manufacturing versions with modified bodies of models such as the Fiat 850 or the Renault 4. 

At the Paris Motor Show 1973 the brand presents the Baldi BB5, also called Baldi Frog, or frog in English, based on the Fiat 500, but with a tiny size in comparison. The Baldi Frog was only 2,15 meters long, just over half a meter shorter than the 500. This made the microcar, logically, a two-seater.

The body was very square in shape and was made of fiberglass. The car shared some components with the 500, such as the front optics or the rear window, which on the Baldi Frog was mounted upside down. It also had a canvas opening roof like the model on which it was based. 

The Baldi Frog was 50 centimeters shorter than the Fiat 500.

The mechanics were also inherited from the Fiats. In Italy there were three models available, the Austere, 300 cubic centimeters, and the rally, of 595 cubic centimeters, with the latter being able to reach a maximum speed of around 100 kilometers per hour. 

There was also an even more basic version called that mounted a two-cylinder engine and 125 cubic centimeters from the Lambretta. The Baldi Frog was also marketed in France by a company called William, where it would only be offered with this mechanics and could be driven with a motorcycle license.

Finally, in 1975 the model was discontinued, after having manufactured only 300 units, thus giving one of the most curious versions of the Fiat 500 and which today achieve high prices.

Photographs of Baldi and William.

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Written by Javillac

This thing about cars comes to one since childhood. When other kids preferred the bicycle or the ball, I kept the toy cars.
I still remember as if it were yesterday a day when a black 1500 overtook us on the A2, or the first time I saw a Citroën DS parked on the street, I have always liked chrome bumpers.

In general, I like things from before the time I was born (some say I'm reincarnated), and at the top of that list are cars, which, together with music, make the ideal combination for a perfect time: driving and a soundtrack according to the corresponding car.

As for cars, I like classics of any nationality and era, but my weakness is American cars from the 50s, with their exaggerated shapes and dimensions, which is why many people know me as "Javillac".

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