Turin, Italy: The Fiat 500 celebrates its 60th birthday today by joining the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), in New York, according to a company statement.

Here it will share space with the Smart Car (2002), the Volkswagen Beetle (1959), and a Willys-Overland Jeep (1953). The Cisitalia 202 GT (1946) was the first vehicle to enter the museum’s collection in 1972.

The vehicles in the collection are innovative designs representing a range of purposes such as speed, sport, and transport.

Together, they span more than five decades of automotive design; individually, the automobiles are recognized for their aesthetic excellence, functional capability, historical significance, practicality, or affordability— criteria also applicable to other mass-produced design objects in the Museum’s collection.

“While the Fiat 500 has unquestionably left its mark on automotive history, it is equally true that it has never been just a car,” said Olivier François, Head of Fiat Brand and Chief Marketing Officer FCA. “In its 60 years of history, the 500 has transcended its material manifestation to enter the collective imagination and become an icon, which has now the honour of being certified by being acquired by MoMA in a tribute to its artistic and cultural value.”

The model acquired by MoMA will be a 500 F series, the most popular 500 ever, made from 1965 to 1972. Fiat's "great little car" was an instant success worldwide, and the 18 HP of its 499.5 cm3 engine gave it a top speed of 95 km/h.

Over 4,000,000 units were made from 1957 to 1975. From the new 500 in the late 50s, on to the Sport and then the D, both more powerful, followed by the F, which holds the record for the number produced, through to the more comfortable L, and finally the R.

“The Fiat 500 is an icon of automotive history that fundamentally altered car design and production” said Martino Stierli, The Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at MoMA.

With the launch of the new generation Fiat in 2007, the Fiat 500 appeared in a variety of interpretations, both hatchback and convertible, with an array of successful special editions (such as the 500 by Diesel, the 500 Gucci and the 500 Riva).

The Fiat 500 is the best-seller in Europe, ranking first in eight countries and among the first three in six others, according to the statement.

Source: http://auto.economictimes.indiatimes...-york/59451906