Most manufacturers reveal new models in the metal at car shows, but Fiat’s booth at this year’s LA Auto Show featured something a little more organic.
Along with some of its new cars, the Italian marque took along the giant wooden model that it used to build the original Fiat 500 supermini.
While the creation of modern cars involves high-tech computer design processes and clay models, manufacturers used to construct wooden bucks to help to visualise a car’s exterior.
Essentially a master template, the wooden buck was eventually replaced with more modern methods that sped up the design process, but hobbyists still use them to create components.
The buck that Fiat has displayed at the show was used by the company from 1956 to 1964, crafted from the original Fiat 500 design by Italian engineer Dante Giacosa.
Fiat’s designers gradually tweaked the wooden body panels and made changes to the buck template over the years as its design evolved, particularly the location of the front badge.
Appearing at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the wooden template was displayed alongside the latest model in the 500 family, the all-new Fiat 500X crossover.
Officially launched in Turin earlier this week, the 500X is a more rugged and capable version of the standard 500 supermini, designed to appeal to a broader range of drivers.
The latest off-roading model from Fiat, the 500X comes complete with optional four-wheel drive and is available in two versions with a choice of three drivetrain options to expand its versatility.
Naturally drawing heavy inspiration from the design of the original 500 with its cute looks and round bodywork, the 500X also features the same five doors and extended wheelbase of the 500L.
Buyers can specify the 500X in 12 different body colours, while it also comes with a larger 350-litre boot, a 5- or 6.5-inch colour touchscreen and an optional Beats by Dre stereo system.
Power comes courtesy from a choice of three petrol and three diesel engines, available with either a front-wheel or all-wheel drivetrain and wheel sizes that range from 16 to 18 inches.
Features include daytime running lights, adaptive electronic stability control functions, plus a lane departure warning system and a reversing camera as an optional add-on.
Though it hasn’t yet seen general release to the public, the 500X has already caused a stir with critics, having been named one of the top cars to look out for next year by Auto Express.
Priced between £14,595 for the entry-level model and £25,845 for the range-topping version, the new Fiat 500X will go on sale in the UK in the middle of next year.