Friday, January 12, 2018

Fiat 850 Shellette by Michelotti (1967-72)

The years between 1950 and 1970 saw the emergence of the beach car, destined for wealthy clients living on the Mediterranean coast, or for the owners of yachts. The most famous was the Fiat Jolly, built by Ghia from the Fiat 500 and 600. However, other coachbuilders also got involved. Noted yacht designer Phillip Schell teamed up with Torino-based auto designer Giovanni Michelotti to produce the Shellette (a.k.a., Spiaggetta) as a tender for yachts. This was a vehicle that could be easily transported and offloaded to carry cruisers on day trips and run errands. It is then returned to the vessel and sailed to another port. 

Originally the Shellette was built using a DAF running gear, it was later based on the FIAT 850. Unlike the much more common Fiat Jolly, the Shellette is a far more refined and better equipped machine. Featuring a drive-train capable of comfortably moving the car along at 60mph, it also has heat and a stereo system.

The Shellette based on the Fiat 850 produced 47 hp. It has wicker seats and surrey-style top and streamlined fiberglass body. Only some 80 examples were built by Michelotti. Only about 10 are known to exist today. Famous customers included the Dutch Royal Family, who used a DAF-based Shellette, and Jacqueline Onassis, who drove a FIAT-based model on the Onassis' private island of Skorpios, and the celebrated French designer Philippe Starck. (,, &

Above: French designer Philippe Starck and his 1971 Shellette.

The Spiaggetta

Some Shellettes are marketed as the Spiaggetta.


(Photos from,,,,, &

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