THE SEAT 600 is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year and to mark the occasion, a 30-strong team from the Spanish manufacturer have hand- restored and modernised one of the convertibles.
More than 1,000 original spare parts were used and 1,500 hours spent taking it completely apart and restoring each element. One of the greatest challenges, said Ángel Lahoz, an engineer at the Seat Technical Centre who was responsible for the project, was to find the parts.
The convertible, built in 1965, had been bought by a private individual and left sitting for 25 years, so it needed painstaking electronic and mechanical work, said Lahoz, who added: ‘The final result is almost better than when it originally left the factory.’
The restoration used 15 litres of paint and 50 metres of exclusive houndstooth fabric, and Jordi Font, head of colour and trim at Seat, said the bluish-grey paint colour was ‘absolutely on trend and reminiscent of the first 600s that came out’.
He added that the fabric represented ‘an allegory of the famous houndstooth pattern in black and white that echoes a time past’.
The manually-operated sliding roof is seen as a particular stand-out feature, while the steering wheel and horn button are the originals.
The restored 600 was put on show at the Barcelona Motor Show in May.
Following its launch in 1957, the Seat 600 became a social phenomenon, and for many middle-class families their dream of buying their own car for a reasonable price finally came true.
It was such a success that in 1958, production was multiplied six-fold.
The model was produced until 1973 and nearly 800,000 units were sold in all.
Seat is the only company that designs, develops, manufactures and markets cars in Spain.
Now a member of the Volkswagen Group, the multinational has its headquarters in Martorell in the province of Barcelona.
It exports 81 per cent of its vehicles, and has a network of 1,700 dealerships in more than 80 countries.
In 2016, Seat posted an operating profit of £124 million – the highest in the history of the brand – and notched up global sales of nearly 410,000 vehicles.
The Seat Group employs more than 14,500 people at its three production centres – Barcelona, El Prat de
Llobregat and Martorell, where it manufactures the highly successful Ibiza and Leon.
Additionally, the company produces the Ateca and the Toledo in the Czech Republic, the Alhambra in Portugal and the Mii in Slovakia.
Its technical centre operates as a knowledge hub that brings together 1,000 engineers who are focused on developing innovation for Spain’s largest industrial investor in research and design. Seat already features the latest connectivity technology in its vehicle range and is currently engaged in the company’s global digitalisation process to promote the mobility of the future.
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