The Seat 600, the car that put Spain on wheels in the aftermath of its devastating civil war, is having its 60th birthday this month.
To celebrate, the Spanish marque restored a 600 convertible, and is displaying it at the Barcelona motor show, which is currently under way.
The car was hand restored by a team of around 30 people. Over the course of 1500 hours, the car was taken apart, each part restored and then put back together.
According to Angel Lahoz, an engineer at the company’s technical centre, the vehicle required over 1000 original spare parts, and sourcing these components was one of this project’s most difficult tasks.
The first Seat 600 trundled off the company’s production line this month in 1957. This restored Seat 600 D cabriolet, though, was built in 1965. Owned by a private individual, the car has largely been stationary for the past 25 years, and required extensive work on its mechanical and electrical systems.
This 600 convertible features a restored manually-operated sliding roof and its original steering wheel. New features include a retro-influenced blue-grey paint, and around 50 metres of houndstooth fabric for the interior trim.
Based on the Fiat 600, the Seat 600 had a rear-mounted 0.6-litre four-cylinder driving the rear wheels. Nearly 800,000 units of the Seat 600 were produced by the Spanish firm during the car’s production run, which ended in 1973.
Seat was founded by the Franco’s government in 1950, and began producing its first vehicles in 1953. From almost the very beginning until 1982, Fiat was primary Seat’s technical partner and minority shareholder.
In 1983, the company hopped into bed with Volkswagen, with the German automaker acquiring majority control in 1986, and total ownership in 1990.