SEAT 600 model production began

Thursday 27th June 1957

SEAT 600 model production began. Made in Spain under licence by Fiat, it helped to start the economic boom, the Spanish miracle (1959–1973), that came at the end of the slow recovery from the Spanish Civil War. Technically, the car was basic and not very modern; it was a license-built Italian Fiat 600 of 1955 with a rear-engine/rear-wheel-drive layout. The engine was a 4-cylinder, water-cooled unit formerly with a displacement of 633 cc producing 19 hp (14 kW) and later 767 cc, yielding 21.5 hp (16 kW) at 4600 rpm. It was a relatively inexpensive vehicle (then 60,000 Spanish pesetas) and was the first car that came within the modest but rapidly growing economic means of most Spanish families from the mid-1960s to the early 1970s. The vehicle has become an icon of the period. The SEAT company was born as a joint venture of the Spanish state holding agency National Institute of Industry, six Spanish banks and Fiat – almost all SEAT models up to 1982 were license-built Fiat based cars although the 1200/1430 Sport “Boca negra” and 133 were models created in-house by SEAT in the 1970s. Up to 797,319 SEAT 600s and 18,000 SEAT 800s were made until 1973. They were exported to Argentina, Mexico, Poland and Finland. The Fiat version enjoyed far less success in its homeland than the Spanish model, probably because the Italian market was more advanced than the Spanish at the time. Among the reasons for ending production were the thin and weak b pillars, which made seat belt installation very difficult. The SEAT 600 was replaced by the far less successful SEAT 133, a modernized derivative of the SEAT 850 designed by SEAT.

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