My love affair with silly beach cars started when my father bought my mother a red Citroen Mehari for Valentine’s Day in 1971.
The silly plastic car with no doors or roof was a magical part of my childhood.
We were very, young and my mother would secure my sister’s and my hair down with matching liberty of London scarves tied under the chin for the drive up and down Florida’s A1A to our beach club.
The Mehari made it to school on special occasions where we all piled in and went roaring around Gulf Stream. No seat belts or doors. no roof, no rules..just fun.
My daughter, Eliza, and her pals posing in our Jolly.
The car had a rather confusing gear arrangement. It was not a normal American set up and the long gear shifting gadget was a constant source of terror for my mother as we lurched around, gears grinding.
My mother had a lot of style. Her “real” car at the time was a 60’s Corvair convertible.
She had her initials painted on the drive-side door and the children’s on the passenger door.
Her signature Liberty scarf tied under her chin one hand on the wheel and a Winston Slims 100 in the other.
(A fun little set of cards from Hermes about how to tie a scarf!)
At the same time we were wizzing around Palm Beach County in my mothers little plastic Valentine’s Pressie some friends of my parents bought a Fiat Jolly.
It must have been the funny bug-eyed headlights or the wicker seats but I had the Jolly on my mind for many years before I even had any idea where to get one. And then came along EBAY.
The first summer we discovered EBAY we were addicted. Being that we do not have shops in these islands a chance to shop for vintage and other treasures online soon became a problem.
(In another blog I will get into all the trouble buying endless
piles antique china got us all into with our husbands.)
Alas, it was not long before an immaculate 1959 Fiat Jolly 600 appeared with my name on it.
It would be 10 years later that I was able to buy Babe Paley’s Jolly which had been safely secured in a garage in Lyford Cay.
It was not until we went to renew its long expired license that we realized the car had been Babe’s. All the more fun because it had been a gift from Gianni Agnelli himself!
(Marella Agnelli pictured in her Jolly of the same era)
The Babe Jolly, in all its wicker seated glory, is headed to Charleston to accompany our new shop there.
What fun it will be!