Fiat has a record of letting fashion labels design its cars. Just look at the Fiat 500 special editions by Gucci, GQ and Tracey Emin. So it should come as no surprise that the Italians have let trainer company Vans have a go at making its podgy 500L a bit cooler.
The Fiat 500L Vans Design Concept is the result – unveiled at the weekend’s Vans US Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, California.
They’ve taken a regular Fiat 500L and given it a makeover which combines the rough ‘n’ tough flavour of beachwear and surf culture with the motifs of Vans trainers. It’s like a sneaker on four wheels.
What happens when a trainer firm dabbles in car design: the Fiat 500L Vans Design Concept
Look closely and you’ll spot some details from Vans original hi-top shoes throughout this one-off 500L, which rides on blacked-out 18in alloy rims.
The roof is trimmed in Vans checkerboard pattern while the sills and grille are finished in Waffle Sole design. So even if this car has no soul it may have sole… Naturally, there are surfboards lashed to the roof and there’s a basket to transport all the suncream and wax accessories that surfers need to look cool on the beach.
Inside, a clutch of Vans stickers adorn the dashboard while there’s more Vans Waffle Sole material on everything from the storage bins to the pedals. Even the wettest beach feet shouldn’t slip on these rubberised pedals.
It’s all to do with establishing the Fiat 500L in America. The boxier, bulgier 500 has been launched in the US to tap into the growing B-segment. It’s sold alongside the 500, Abarth, cabriolet and electric 500e.
And if building a one-off trainer-inspired 500L can reach out to a new generation of surfer dudes in California, then it’s job done. Even if we have a sneaker-ing suspicion this is just Fiat shoe-ing off for all the wrong reasons.