• 2015 Fiat 500 "I Defend Gala 2015" One-Off Edition

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"The very rich are different from you and me," Fitzgerald once wrote. Let’s hope so. Let’s really hope so.

If you could capture and amplify the thoughts of most people upon seeing this Fiat, the collective "What the Hell??" would be heard around the world. This year, Fiat arrives at what is probably the world’s greatest and richest charity event. They do so with a one-off car destined for the auction block; the attendees will hopefully assist with checkbooks at the ready.

In the meantime, let’s take a moment to step back and truly appreciate one work of art(?) that could truly stand to make a difference in the world — especially to the lives of people who are very different from you and me.

Continue reading to learn more about the Fiat 500 "I Defend Gala 2015" One-Off Edition.


The Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award was established in 1984 by the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights. The award recognizes people from all over the world who have made significant and courageous contributions to human rights in their own countries.

The award recognizes people from all over the world who have made significant and courageous contributions to human rights in their own countries.

With the 2015 "I Defend" Gala coming up, set to happen against the spectacular Riva Tunnel in Monte Carlo, Fiat decided to show up with a Monte Carlo legend of its own. The 500 has been tearing up the streets of Monte Carlo since it has existed, and it will return this time in slightly more sedate form.

This annual black-tie gala is famous for two things above all else: amazing food and delicacies from some of the best chefs in existence, and a high-dollar auction of artwork from around the world.

This one-of-a-kind Fiat, designed and customized by "Umbrian master craftsman" Stefano Conticelli, will go up on the auction block alongside a series of photos by Harry Benson, and a painting by the aptly named Michelangelo Pistoletto.


2015 Fiat 500 "I Defend Gala 2015" One-Off Edition High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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2015 Fiat 500 "I Defend Gala 2015" One-Off Edition High Resolution Exterior
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2015 Fiat 500 "I Defend Gala 2015" One-Off Edition High Resolution Exterior
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To we heathens, Monte Carlo is best known as the home of casinos, F1 racing and James Bond movies. But the kind of people James Bond hangs out with apparently genuflect to the area just as much for its boats. All right, technically yachts — like the Riva yacht this Fiat was designed to recall.

It's real hide of baby cow, lovingly conditioned and weatherproofed."

It’s not altogether easy to find the influence of the modern Riva yacht in this design; the true automotive interpretation of a modern Riva would be a silver convertible Veyron with teak decking.

The red convertible top on this Bossa Nova White is a callback to the canopy tops on those yachts, as is the oak paneling on the rearview mirrors. As many of those original yachts had Italian calfskin leather interiors, Conticelli opted to carry that inside theme outside to trim the Fiat. That’s right — the beige trim on this Fiat isn’t beige paint, or God forbid plastic. It’s real hide of baby cow, lovingly conditioned and weatherproofed.

And that picnic basket hanging off the back? That’s not wicker — perish the thought. Also real bits of baby animal, carefully and geometrically woven to hold as many vegan soybean sandwiches and tofu rolls as the buyer can eat.

Overall, in terms of styling, it’s pretty certain that the kind of people who can afford to go to the annual "I Protect" charity gala will love it. Then again, they also eat snails and pickled fish eggs — perhaps the rarefied air of wealth has some effect on taste. But when you’re trying to raise as much money as possible for a great cause, it makes sense to cater to the folks with the checkbooks. It is a one-of-a-kind, after all, and nothing rolls in the fat money like exclusivity.


Fiat hasn’t said anything specific about the interior, apart from the fact that it’s based on the upscale Lounge Package. That means pretty much every interior appointment Fiat has on offer. And cow. Lots and lots of cow. Fiat does offer red leather with white accents ("Ivory Ambiance") on Lounge models, so that seems like the logical choice here. Other interior touches are anybody’s guess, but will probably be limited to Fiat’s already impressive array of factory options.


2015 Fiat 500 "I Defend Gala 2015" One-Off Edition High Resolution Exterior
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Say what you will about the "I Defend Gala 2015" Fiat 500, but at least it’s slow. Painfully slow. All right, it’s not as if anyone expects a Fiat to be a monster in the quarter mile, and in any case, it probably doesn’t make much sense to encourage contests of acceleration when you’ve got a $10,000 leather picnic basket hanging off the back. Still, 69 horsepower from a 1.2-liter gas engine (rather than the 85- or 105-horsepower options in the 2016 Fiat 500), does seem a bit deliberately underwhelming. You’d almost have to go back to the original Fiat 500 to get less, and that car probably weighed two-thirds of what this one does.

Personally, sorry to say — if someone wants to sell me something that looks like a Riva yacht and takes 13 seconds to get to 60 mph, it had better be an actual Riva yacht.


2015 Fiat 500 "I Defend Gala 2015" One-Off Edition Exterior
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If you don’t entirely get this car as an entity, then congratulations: That proves you’re still sane. Speaking as someone who generally likes Italian styling, owns a fair number of Italian suits, and is a big fan of Monica Bellucci — this thing is just pointless and ugly beyond comprehension. But then again, who cares what I think?

"The very rich are different from you and me," Fitzgerald once wrote. Let’s hope so. Truly. Let’s hope that the very rich people attending this year’s gala in Monte Carlo are very, very different from you and me — because if someone’s willing to lay down seven figures for something this irredeemably awful, at least it will go to a far better cause than the same amount wasted on furthering Jaden Smith’s acting career. And Will didn’t even get a baby cow picnic basket out of that deal.

Don’t ask some things to make sense. Just be thankful when they turn out for the best.

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Richard Rowe
Richard Rowe
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Press Release

The New 500 will be a leading light in Montecarlo at "I Defend Gala 2015", the first edition of the charity gala supporting the "Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Europe" Foundation, which champions human rights.

2015 Fiat 500 "I Defend Gala 2015" One-Off Edition High Resolution Exterior
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On 16 July, in Montecarlo, in the spectacular setting of the Riva Tunnel, the "I Defend Gala 2015" will take place: an evening devoted to defending the universal values of basic human rights, in aid of "Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Europe". The organization’s central priorities are focused on the power of the individual to generate change, and involve supporting defenders of human rights via strategic partnerships.

FCA has long been committed to various urgent issues such as sustainable mobility and education, both of which it supports through numerous projects. At "I Defend Gala 2015" it will participate with its New 500: a global icon sold in over 100 countries, a perfect emblem for the worldwide corporate charisma of FCA, based on the harmonious collaboration and different nations and cultures. The key moment of the evening will be the donation of a Fiat showcar, namely the very first New 500 to roll off the production line, which will be auctioned off during the event.

This one-of-a-kind convertible, "Bossa Nova White" with 1.2 litre 69 HP engine, Lounge trim level, is personalised with skill and flair by the Umbrian master craftsman Stefano Conticelli, who by using leather as a medium knows how to express the excellence of Italian products, just like the New 500. The car has a calfskin exterior customisation. The natural honey gold colour of this particular material, which is treated to withstand the elements, enhances the car’s iconic style elements: wheel arches, rear light clusters, headlights and chrome-plated whiskers. The picnic basket applied on the tailgate is made of the same material, while the mirror domes are covered with mahogany. This material, together with the sky blue profile of the applications and line running under the windows, is a tribute to the famous Riva yachts.

2015 Fiat 500 "I Defend Gala 2015" One-Off Edition High Resolution Exterior
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The prestigious charity gala, of which this is the first edition, will combine art and gastronomy and will feature numerous celebrities of all kinds and internationally famed artists, all contributing to the defence of ethics and human rights. The evening will be conducted by Kerry Kennedy, daughter of Robert Kennedy, actress and author and President of the "Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights" Foundation. After her opening speech will come the auction: ten lots, featuring prestigious works of art including a series of photos by American photographer Harry Benson and a work by Michelangelo Pistoletto.

This will be followed by a gala dinner conceived to leave an unforgettable memory in the minds and palates of the over 200 international guests, including actor Martin Sheen, and many Italians, such as the actress and TV presenter Giorgia Surina. The menu will be conceived by a gastronomic genius, Gualtiero Marchesi, and will celebrate the sublimity of Italian cuisine.

In the course of the evening a further thirty lots will be auctioned, this time through a system of silent auction, using digital devices to bid for strikingly individual items. As well as the silent auction, the music of Ilaria della Bidia and readings from the lives and works of notable defenders of human rights. Naturally, the activities carried out by the Foundation to promote tolerance, intellectual exchange and freedom of expression will by described and illustrated.

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