Where haute couture meets vintage style
When the Fiat 500 was launched back in 1959, designed by Dante Giacosa, it instantly became an Italian icon, recognised the world over. And now Pirelli has resurrected an equally iconic tyre to go with it: the CN54. This new tyre forms part of the Pirelli Collezione – a family of tyres dedicated to cars from 1950 to 1980, which combine a classic look with modern technology.
For all the different versions of the Fiat 500 that were made from 1957, Pirelli has recreated the Cinturato CN54 in 125 R 12 size, which was originally launched in 1972. This is a radial tyre with a tread pattern design and sidewall that is similar to the original, but made with modern technology. Pirelli Collezione tyres make use of contemporary compounds to offer increased grip and improved road holding on wet surfaces, guaranteeing reliability and high safety standards without compromising on the original style.
A shared history
The Fiat 500 was born in 1957, at just 2.95 metres long with a 479cc engine that put out 13 horsepower and delivered a top speed of 85kph. The tyre size was a conventional 125 12, featuring either the Cisa tread pattern or the tried-and-trusted Stelvio, not to mention the Rolle design that was available for the larger Fiat 600 as well. The Fiat 500 range would expand over the years, from the original N version to the D that was presented in 1960. This version was the first car to adopt Pirelli’s Sempione ‘Safety Shoulder’, featuring more rounded sidewalls for better road holding through corners. The Fiat 500F came out in 1965, followed by the L in 1968, both with Pirelli 12-inch tyres. When the R version was launched in 1972, the Pirelli Cinturato range was sufficiently wide that Fiat’s runabout could also be had with a radial CN54 tread pattern, in 125 R 12 size. This is the tyre that Pirelli is making again for owners of this classic Italian icon. The CN54 of the time was directly derived from rallying experience, maintaining the tread pattern design of the classic CA67 – which made the Cinturato name famous all over the world, thanks to a new belted structure that improved both comfort and tyre life.
Pirelli’s Collezione: history on the road
The Pirelli Collezione family was born with the goal of preserving automotive history through tyres that serve a dual purpose: maintaining the look and driving feel of the original versions, but improving efficiency and safety thanks to modern technology and production processes. The range starts with the legendary Stella Bianca, first launched in 1927, then takes in the Stelvio, brought back to life in 2018 to exclusively supply the Ferrari 250 GTO – the most expensive car in the world – as well as the CA67 (1955), CN72 (1964), CN36 (1968), CN12 (1968), Cinturato P7 (1974), P5 (1977), P Zero (1984) and P700-Z (1988).
Throughout the development process of these reborn tyres, Pirelli’s engineers used the same vehicle parameters that the original designers would have relied upon at the time, but making use of all the know-how and experience when it comes to materials and production processes that have been built up in the meantime. The result is a compelling mix of performance, style and authenticity. The images, plans and other materials supplied by the Pirelli Foundation archive were a fundamental part of this process. The Foundation has kept all documents relating to the design, development and production of every Pirelli tyre over the years: including homologation certificates, mould designs, tread pattern studies and testing results, as well as price lists and catalogues. Pirelli Collezione tyres are available from specialised classic car tyre dealers, such as Longstone Tyres, as well as from Pirelli’s flagship P Zero World stores in Los Angeles, Munich, Monaco, Dubai and Melbourne.