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Robb Design Portfolio: The Joker’s Wild

Robert Ross

1960 Fiat 600 Jolly

 A version of the Fiat 600 custom-built by Italian coachbuilder Ghia, the Jolly attracted owners from Lyndon Johnson to Aristotle Onassis, the latter of whom kept one on his yacht and employed it for transportation when he docked in Mediterranean ports. The Jolly, which means “joker” in Italian, also was a coveted accoutrement for golfers, resort guests, and estate owners with a sense of style—and a sense of humor. It was available in a range of pastels and featured wicker seats and a fringed surrey top. Measuring only 10.5 feet long, the vehicle also came with a relatively hefty price tag, costing nearly twice as much as the standard versions of the 500 and 600 models. Fiat and Ghia built about 500 examples of the Jolly from 1958 to 1969, including about three dozen that served as taxis at the time on Southern California’s Catalina Island. Alas, all of that fun in the sun and salty air took its toll on the cars, as fewer than 100 still exist.

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