It is not easy to describe how important SEAT 600 was for the brand and for the country. It was the first car SEAT ever exported and it helped to kickstart the “Spanish miracle” – a sudden economic boom after a difficult period after the civil war. It was affordable to most families and so it really helped to motorize the country. And now, 60 years later, SEAT is showing some love to the model again.
To mark the occasion of 60th anniversary SEAT decided to restore one of the 600 convertibles. And SEAT really did look seriously to this task. A team of around 30 people was gathered to fully modernise and restore this automobile completely by hand. All of them showed care for the car as if it was an exotic supercar and not an affordable people’s transport. And it really did need lots of love.
This specific SEAT 600 convertible has been sitting for over 25 years. If you know anything about cars, you understand that such a long time of inactivity really destroys the car. Everything had to be changed and restored, but SEAT spared no expense. Here are some highlights that SEAT chose to underline for this restoration project:
- More than a thousand of original spare parts had to be located and installed. Of course, through the years some parts were changed with aftermarket ones. Specialists restored every single part from the car that they could, but the real challenge came when they had to find more than a thousand spare parts for thi old vehicle.
- 25 years of neglect. The original owner bought this SEAT 600 convertible back in 1965 and used it for a long time. However, for the past 25 years it was just sitting, which means all electronics had to be changed and mechanical work was painfully meticulous.
- 15 litres of paint. You think this car, copied from Fiat 500, is small? It required 15 litres of paint to finish it. Bluish grey was chosen as it was typical for the period.
- 50 metres of houndstooth fabric. Of course, interior was remade as well. Now it has a nice houndstooth fabric everywhere – it was specifically created for this car. Jordi Font, who is head of Colour&Trim at SEAT, said that this fabric is an “allegory of the famous houndstooth pattern in black and white that echoes a time past”.
- Roof mechanism and steering wheel. This being a convertible, so fitting to Spanish scenery, manually operated roof mechanism had to be restored by hand too. Car is lucky enough to have an original steering wheel too.
SEAT 600 was a huge hit. People, who did not have much money, finally could by a car – an Italian dream came to Spain. Its production was finally terminated in 1973, but the legacy still lives. 800,000 units were sold.