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Seat 600

The other rear-engined fiat-type car

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The Seat 600 was launched in 1957 as a licence built version of the Fiat 600 which was revealed in 1955. It became Spain’s most popular car right to the end of production in 1973 and outlasted the Italian version, the Seat 600 completely changed the Spanish roadscape, and research by today's Seat company shows that even as late as 1971, one in four cars on Spanish roads was a 600.

The Seat 600 never made it to the UK and the few Seat built Fiats that later arrived only wore Fiat badges. The Seat became a national institution and a symbol of Spain’s transition into the modern world. It figured in folksongs and films, and writer Manuel Vazquez Montalban, a keen observer of Spain's reinvention, wrote that "The day Spaniards got into their 600s; they began to leave their past behind them, embarking on a weekend trip from which they have not yet returned."

The final Seat 600, an "L Especial" in white, left the assembly line on 3 August 1973 amid much fond press coverage. Around 800,000 had been built, about 10 per cent exported, typically to Latin America. Seat, however, was not the only licensee of the Fiat 600. Zastava in Yugoslavia played out a similar story, and today you'll more Zastava 600s and 750s in the Balkans than Seat 600s in Spain. And these are cars that have lived through a civil war rather than the aftermath of one.

Huge displays of Seat 600’s are regular at the Barcleona Classic Car Show some race-tuned, some customised, some wearing coachbuilt bodies. Recently a model was seen for sale on the island of Menorca for 3500 Euros.