Those of a certain age, that certain age being OLD, remember seeing the original Italian Job in the theater. In the movie an all star cast is up staged by three small cars, MINI Coopers. And lurking in the background, in a cameo role, is one Fiat Cinquecento (500).
In Detroit, the revival Fiat 500 got plenty of floor space in the Chrysler stand, what with Fiat controlling Chrysler. So the incongruity of a Fiat 500 next to a Mopar parts display is odd, but not unexpected.
However, what really jolted the senses was the Fiat 500L in British Racing Green with a white roof. Whoa! Fiat Countryman? Mini 500L? If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then this is flattery taken to the ultimate limit.
Both MINI and Fiat take advantage of a certain hipster delight in all things retro. And being hip certainly helps move the sheet metal. But at some point what’s hip becomes passe, and it’s time for the ‘next big thing’. When that happens, if all you have is an image (sizzle without the steak), look out.
But in the interim let’s enjoy the visuals and the fact that MINI and Fiat have revived the relevance of both John Cooper (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/