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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Spanish Miracle Mobile

A "Seis Cientos", circa 2006.

The SEAT 600 is an iconic Spanish car whose 17 year production span coincided with what is called the Spanish Miracle (1959-1973). This was a period when a new breed of Spanish technocrats began making reforms to the infrastructure, and opened Spain to the lucrative guiri economy.

Based on the Italian FIAT 600, the SEAT 600 sold for 70,000 pesetas, or about 420 euros. The modest price tag made it hugely popular with Spain's working class families.

The first version had a 633 cc rear-mounted motor and boasted a top speed of 95 km per hour (that's a mere 59 mph). Not exactly a hotrod. But the 600 is like the tortoise that keeps going while the hare sleeps by the roadside. Despite its wimpy engine and its stripped-down, no-frills package, the 600 was a reliable and unstoppable workhorse. In its 17-years of production - between 1957 and 1973 - about 800,000 models were sold.

Every once in a while you'll see one of these classics.

There's even a bright and shiny Moritz-sponsored 600 tooling around town. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of the actual car, but I do have the miniature 1/43 scale version that came free with my 6 pack of Moritz:

A mini-Moritz mobile, pimpin' 9 stories above Barcelona.