There isn’t a lot of Christmas cheer surrounding cars, short of strapping a red nose to your hood and mounting some antlers in the windows. Luckily the city of Albany provides one event each year that combines Christmas and cars in a far less humiliating way. The Capital Holiday Lights is a drive-thru light show in Washington Park. Our friends at Armory Fiat of Albany are sponsors of the event, so we asked if we could borrow a Fiat 500C for an evening. Did we say less humiliating?
The 500C is a perfect candidate for a drive-thru viewing. The retractable roof opens up to provide passengers with a much more comprehensive view of the displays. For an added experience, the rear window folds away and the roof retracts completely at the push of a button. Like wise men, we selected a 500C Lounge that had the optional Luxury Leather Package, which included heated seats. With our chestnuts roasting, we donned our Santa hats and prepared for the Christmas cheer.
It was a clear and frosty 33 degrees as we entered Washington Park and fully retracted the roof. We instantly received a compliment from the girl operating the ticket booth, who was a fan of the Gaillo yellow paint. Points for Fiat.
Much like the Fiat 500 Sports we tested a few months ago, the 500C is powered by a 1.4L MultiAir engine making 101HP. That’s roughly 673 reindeer power, using some questionable Internet conversion maths. Old Saint Nick will have a hard time keeping up, with a measly 9 reindeer power. Our car was optioned with the 6-speed automatic transmission. It’s not the transmission we’d choose for dashing through the snow, but it made it easy to manage the frequent stop-and-go inside the park.
With Jack Frost nipping at our noses, we enjoyed four separate display themes. All the while, the Fiat’s heater worked flawlessly to keep us from becoming Italian ice. At the conclusion of the display, we pulled into the parking lot of the Lake House. Thankfully, Santa’s helpers were on hand with hot chocolate for sale. They even had a live reindeer, though he wasn’t very cooperative when we asked if he’d like a photo op. We suspect he was busy planning.
The Capital Holiday Lights will be open until January 4th, so there’s still plenty of time to experience the displays for yourself. All proceeds go to the Albany Police Athletic League. Armory Fiat also has 8 500Cs ready for the new year, including the one we borrowed for the evening. So if you’re looking for a fun to drive convertible, we can’t think of a better car for the job. It won’t fit in a stocking, but I’m sure they could find an oversize bow for the last-minute shoppers.
Limited Slip Blog wishes you and and your family a Merry Christmas.