Summer is officially here and with temperatures in Europe nearing 40 degrees Celsius, if you’re renting a car abroad, a convertible is a very good option. However, you don’t just want any convertible. You want something unique that will make your holiday unforgettable. Enter the 500 Jolly Icon-e
The 500 Jolly started life in 1957, when Ghia got their hands on it. The Itallian style firm simply cut the roof off the Cinquecento. This made the car more stylish and made it extremely popular with the celebrities who lived on the Riviera.
The man behind the original was a man named Gianni Agnelli and it is his grandson, Lapo Elkann who is behind the Jolly Icon-e. The car is made by Garage Italiana Customs. They took an original 500 with a hard top roof and removed the roof and doors. Removing these key structural components however means that the car needed strengthening. This was achieved by inserting a safety cell. In place of doors, there is rope. Like the sort of thing you would see in a museum. This is the only thing separating you from the outside. There are also no seatbelts, which seems like a strange omission in this day and age. However, the top speed of the car is only 85 kmh (53 mph.) Care still must be taken whilst driving however due to the lack of seatbelts.
The interior is about as simple as it gets. There are 2 seats and a back bench, that are handwoven in natural rope. The dash is just as simple as the original car’s was. However, the instrument panel has now become digital, to give a slightly more modern vibe. That’s about it though. This is motoring simplicity; and I love it.
The most interesting part of the car is the fact that the Icon-e doesn’t have an engine. It instead uses an electric motor which is found where the engine would have originally sat. Then at the front, the boot is filled with batteries. The motor is flanged to the original gearbox. The car was made in partnership with Michelin. Therefore, it sits on Michelin whitewall tyres from the Vintage line.
The Jolly Icon-e can be rented exclusively from Herz’ Selezione Italia for €300 a day. That is quite the cost considering there is extremely little room for luggage due to the batteries and the lack of safety features. But the Jolly is more than that. It has character and is extremely good fun due to the implicity of open air driving. If you want to own one, it is €50,000 which is again, expensive. But I can assure you if you do decide to buy one, that you won’t see anyone in the same car as you. There also won’t be anyone having as much fun as you. Unless it rains that is.