Fiat’s Vans Concept 500 Tapping “Board” Culture

New vehicle latest to try to draw surfing fans.

by on Jul.28, 2014

The Fiat 500L-Vans concept is designed to supplant the traditional "woody" as the vehicle of choice for surfing fans.

Cars and surfing enjoy a special relationship on the beach and in popular culture, especially in Southern California where vehicles such as Woody wagons became embedded local lore. Fiat recently partnered with Vans adding another vehicle to the list of makers looking to capitalize on the “board” culture: the Fiat 500L-Vans concept.

Over the years, makers have sought to capitalize on the connection by customizing vehicles with surfers and their fans in mind. The Honda Element was the most recent stab at it and and Chrysler also brought out a Woody version of the PT Cruiser.

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Fiat’s new concept is making a play for the surfing crowd and it was unveiled over the weekend at the Vans US Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, California.

Vans makes shoes and apparel such as t-shirts, hoodies, socks, hats as well as backpacks aimed at skateboarders, snowboarders and surfers.

The Fiat 500L-Vans concept uses many of the styling cues that the Vans company is famous for, including the check board pattern from its shoes.

The Fiat 500L-Vans design concept borrows details from Vans original hi-top shoe, which are used throughout the vehicle, including vintage palm patterned canvas, Vans logo stickers on the instrument panel, and Vans Waffle Sole on the pedals and in storage bins, according to Chrysler designers.

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On the exterior, the roof displays the Vans Checkerboard pattern, while the step pad, cladding and grille texture are accented with the Waffle Sole design. Other unique features include a two-tone body color paint scheme, 18-inch matte black wheels and a roof rack with a basket and a double-decker surfboard carrier.

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The concept vehicle shown off on the beach in California also suggests one of the ways Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is eyeing to bolster Fiat sales. Through June, Fiat sales are up 16% and could hit 50,000 units this year, which has been relatively soft for small cars.

(To see why the U.S. car market shows now signs of slowing down, Click Here.)

In North America, the Fiat brand portfolio has expanded with the introduction of the high-performance Fiat 500 Abarth and Abarth Cabrio, the fully electric Fiat 500e and the Fiat 500L, a slightly larger five-passenger model offering a bigger option for fans of the of the 500.

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One Response to “Fiat’s Vans Concept 500 Tapping “Board” Culture”

  1. Jorge says:

    Don’t hold your breath as far as being popular amongst surfing fans. The woody was popular because it was cool, dirt cheap, laid back and practical which the newer stuff is not.