Coinciding with the introduction of the new FIAT 126 at the 1972 Turin Motor Show, the FIAT 500F and the 500L were dropped from the FIAT range, to be replaced by the FIAT 500R ('R' standing for 'Rinnovata' or Renewal), which was a hybrid of the 126 and the outgoing 500's. The body shape remained identical to the previous air-cooled FIAT 500 saloons and the short folding roof was retained. The 500R didn't have the 'frills' of it's predecessors, actually having less equipment inside that the 500L. There was no glove box and a round hooded speedometer with various illuminating information segments was again used. This was positioned directly infront of the driver as before. It also lost the bright trim along the sills, around the windscreen and the gutters and returned to simple bumpers, uncluttered by overriders and 'nerf' bars. A plain rectangular badge with 'FIAT' spread over four square sections replaced the shapely badge that had been fitted to the FIAT 500L. The uniquely styled pressed wheels of the FIAT 126 were fitted. Power came from the 594 cc engine of the FIAT 126, but it was down-rated from 23 bhp to 18 bhp. This was married to the standard FIAT 500 crash type gearbox.
Engine: Rear mounted, 2 in-line vertical cylinders with overhead valves, air-cooled four stroke of 594 cc giving 18 bhp at 4,600 rpm.
Engine Lubrication: Pressure
Maximum Speed: approaching 100 kph (62 mph)
Fuel Consumption: 5.5 litres per 100 km (51 mpg)
Gears: 4 speeds forward with 2nd, 3rd and 4th in constant mesh, plus reverse.
Final Drive Ratio: Spiral Bevel 5.125 to 1.
Brakes: Foot operated, self adjusting hydraulic drum brakes to all four wheels, with hand operated mechanical brake to rear wheels.
Suspension: Front: Independent with transverse lower leaf spring and wishbones. Rear: Independent with semi-trailing arms and large coil springs.
Telescopic shock absorbers to all wheels.
12 Volt electrical system.
Length: 2970mm (9'9")
Width: 1321mm (4'4")
Height: 1324mm (4'4.12")
Source: Reg J. Prosser