It’s a boat. It’s a sub. It’s a…Fiat? These may look like brand new 2013 Fiat 500 hatchbacks, but don’t be fooled – they’re actually purpose-built watercraft made to look exactly like the latest Cinquecento.
If these floating Fiat 500 replicas remind you of the Fiat TV spot where 500s dive into the ocean off the coast of Italy and swim their way to the U.S., then they’ve served their purpose. According to Ariel Gavin, the barchettas were built for marketing and event purposes. In this case, the Fiats swarmed Huntington Beach, California last weekend as part of Fiat’s sponsorship of the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing, which runs through July 28th.
According to Fiat, each Fiat 500 boat began life as an actual Fiat 500 car. The exterior is made from a Fiat 500 stripped of its mechanical innards, and placed atop a fiberglass hull. The car's floor was cut and modified to fit a jet ski within, while openings -- including the wheel wells -- were filled with foam to keep it watertight. We know one unit is dressed as a 500, another as a 500c, and a third as a red 500 Abarth. Fiat does, however, hint that it ordered a few additional examples, including one that resembles the new 500L crossover.
All we know for sure is the floating Fiat is pretty darn cute – and the perfect compliment to the Mini Cooper boat, which was built last year for a crew rowing event. Perhaps it’s time for a comparison test on the high seas…