Launched as the Nuova 500, it was marketed as a cheap and practical town car. Measuring only 2.97 m (9 ft 9 in) long, and originally powered by a tiny 479 cc two-cylinder, air-cooled engine, the 500 redefined the term "small car" and is considered one of the first city cars.
Despite its diminutive size, the 500 proved to be an enormously practical and popular vehicle throughout Europe. Besides the two-door coupé, it was also available as the "Giardiniera" station wagon; this variant featured the standard engine laid on its side, the wheelbase lengthened by 10 cm (4 in) which yielded a usable rear seat, a full-length sunroof, and larger brakes from the Fiat 600. Production of the 500 ended in 1975, although its replacement, the Fiat 126, was launched two years earlier. The 126 was never as popular as its predecessor in Italy, but was (and still is) enormously popular in the former Eastern Bloc countries, where it is famed for mechanical durability and economy.
Fiat previewed the all new 500 in March 2007 exactly 50 years after the first Fiat 500 was presented. The design of the new 2007 Fiat 500 is based on the 2004 Fiat Trepiuno concept. This car features a distinctive retro-look just like the Volkswagen New Beetle and BMW MINI but is substantially cheaper than those cars, with a starting price of 10,500 (similar to how the original Fiat 500 was cheaper than the Volkswagen Beetle and Austin Mini). Fiat shares the underpinnings of the new 500 with Ford for the 2009 Ford Ka. Production takes place in Fiat facilities in Tychy, Poland, and was scheduled for mid 2007, with commercial debut in September 2007.
Source: Wikipedia Fiat 500 Article.