Friday, August 2, 2013

Feeling Jolly

I dream of owning a little Florida beach house one day... and I simply cannot imagine a more appropriate car to tool around in while visiting said beach house than a vintage Fiat Jolly! I have even spotted the elusive Jolly in two of my favorite haunts... Palm Beach and Boca Grande, Florida.
 

The "Jolly de Plage" or "Joker of the Beach" was created by Gianni Agnelli, Fiat chairman and famous Italian playboy, in 1957 by as a "land tender" to his 82 foot ketch.  Used as beach cars, estate roundabouts, yacht tenders, and golf carts, the Jolly came in pink, coral, white, pale yellow, and sky blue. They feature wicker seats and the option of a fringed surrey top. Each Fiat Jolly is unique, as many were custom handmade to order creations.
 
 
Originally designed as pricey yachting trinkets for the Mediterranean elite, Jollys were also popular in the U.S. Reported Jolly owners have included Aristottle Onassis (he owned three), Yul Brenner, John Wayne, Grace Kelly, and even Mae West. President Lyndon Johnson used his model 500 Jolly on his Texas ranch. Thirty-two Jollys were used as taxis on Catalina Island off the coast of Los Angeles from 1958–1962.
 
Jackie O via
 
President Johnson takes daughter Luci and grandson Lyndon Nugent for a drive via
 
These adorable little cars are extremely rare and expensive. It is estimated that fewer than 700 of the little runabouts were made between 1958 - 1966, and sadly, fewer than 100 of the originals exist worldwide today.  
 
In March, a 1958 Fiat 600 Jolly sold for a record $110K at an RM Auctions sale at Amelia Island, Florida! I guess I'll have to keep dreaming, but looking is free... :)

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Want to learn more about the Fiat Jolly? The New York Times ran an excellent feature last month, and Don Rich, a collector and Jolly enthusiast, has collected a plethora of facts and folklore at coolbeachcars.com.
 
 
Which one is your favorite? I'll take the baby pink with hot pink and white striped top, please!

8 comments:

  1. For a car so rare, you were able to find such a great collection of photos! I'd take any one of them because I adore the rattan seats! So cute! So vintage!
    Sharon

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  2. Omg love them all! My 4 yr old wants yellow so that will have to do!:)

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  3. I want one, preferably pink, but, then, I'll take any of them. So "vintagie" adorable!

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  4. Oh my gosh I LOVE them! So adorable...I would want a pink one. To bad they aren't going to start making them again...I bet there would be a market for them!

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  5. I'd be jolly if I had a Jolly. I wouldn't mind an Amphicar either--especially here in Florida.

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  6. Totally obsessed with the Fiat Beach Cars! What a wonderful collection you have here. Thanks for sharing and I hope all your beach dreams come true!

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  7. Do you think I could get our golf cart (current mode of transportation here on the island) to look like this? Hmmm...

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Thank you for your lovely comments. They absolutely make my day!

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