Museum of Modern Art to display classic Fiat

  • 1968 Fiat 500 F

    1968 Fiat 500 F Courtesy of FCA

  • Only three of the McLaren Spa 68 supercars are being built.

    Only three of the McLaren Spa 68 supercars are being built.

  • A silver outline of the Belgian Spa-Francorchamps track is painted on the rear fenders and embroidered on the car's headrests.

    A silver outline of the Belgian Spa-Francorchamps track is painted on the rear fenders and embroidered on the car's headrests.

 
 

A cheeky Fiat commuter is going on public display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

The cute 'lil classic is a 500 F series, the most popular 500 ever, and it will be a highlight of a new exhibition called The Value of Good Design, which showcases industrial design.

The 1965 to 1972 Fiat 500 F series was the most popular version of the car. The model was produced from 1957 to 1975, and relaunched in 2007.
The 1965 to 1972 Fiat 500 F series was the most popular version of the car. The model was produced from 1957 to 1975, and relaunched in 2007. -

The original 1968 Fiat 500 F "Berlina," commonly referred to as the Cinquecento, will be on display in the exhibit from Feb. 10 to May 27.

The tan-colored car was acquired by the museum last year and it now has a permanent home in its collection. The 500 F was made from 1965 to 1972 and boasted 18 horsepower from its 500-cubic-centimeter engine. It was ideal for running errands around and through tight city streets.

More than 4 million Fiat 500s were made from the model's run of 1957 to 1975. A new generation was relaunched in 2007 and is still produced today.

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The Spa 68 version of the McLaren 720S commemorates Bruce McLaren's Belgian Grand Prix win in 1968.
The Spa 68 version of the McLaren 720S commemorates Bruce McLaren's Belgian Grand Prix win in 1968. - Photos Courtesy of McLaren
McLaren 720S Spa 68

In 1968, a fledging McLaren race team scored a major victory. Now, a Brussels dealership is celebrating by commissioning three special supercars.

The win was in Formula 1 racing at the Belgian Grand Prix. Company founder Bruce McLaren piloted a Papaya Orange M7A to first place, marking the company's first Formula Grand Prix victory.

It was Bruce's fourth Formula 1 career win but his first victory driving his own McLaren car. At that time, it made him only the third driver to win a Grand Prix in a car of his own design and construction. The victory set the McLaren team on a path to eight World Constructors' Championships and 12 World Drivers' Championships.

Its twin-turbocharged V-8 engine produces 720 horsepower.
Its twin-turbocharged V-8 engine produces 720 horsepower. -

To mark the event's 50th anniversary, McLaren Brussels had McLaren Special Operations build three unique cars, starting with 720S models. That car features a carbon fiber chassis and a twin-turbocharged V-8 engine producing 720 horsepower, with a 0-to-60 time of 2.8 seconds and maximum speed of 212 mph.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

From there, each was painted in Bespoke Anniversary Orange, echoing the color of the '68 race car. They also get custom satin black, twin-spoke wheels.

Another exterior touch is a silver outline of the Belgian Spa-Francorchamps track at the time, painted down low on the rear fenders, ahead of the tires. The track is also embroidered on the headrests, too, and there's orange stitching throughout.

On the carbon fiber door sill covers, there's special inscription reading "First McLaren F1 victory, Belgian Grand Prix 9th June 1968 -- Bruce McLaren." The ignition key references the win, too, with each painted Anniversary Orange and featuring silver "Spa 68" text. All three cars also have a dedication plaque with its unique number.

The McLaren 720S Spa 68 Collection cars are available from McLaren Brussels, but two of them have already been purchased.

• Share your car's story with Matt at auto@dailyherald.com. Purchase his book at COPOthebook.com.

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