Fiat 500 Abarth 595 recreation (p133), Alvis TD21 (p134), Range Rover (p137), Jaguar E-type V12 (p118)
Converted to Abarth-spec in Italy and wearing fresh paint, this frantic little buzz-bomb is a blast to drive, says Mike Le Caplain
This might look like a bona fide Fiat 500 Abarth 595 but it actually started life as a humble 500L. It was converted to Abarth spec – 594cc engine, non- synchromesh four- speed manual gearbox – in Italy, but there is no information within the scant history file as to when this happened. The car’s previous owner imported it in February 2016 before having it repainted and fitting the smart Mugello alloy wheels.
The bodywork is perfect, though the driver’s door sits proud of the surrounding bodywork at the top (the passenger door fits fine). There’s a small vertical scratch in the glass, plus another in the rear window. It takes a keen eye to spot the handful of paint blemishes, including a small chip and crack in the paint to the lower rear of the nearside front wheelarch, another crack in the offside rear wing body seam and a tiny scratch beneath the driver’s door mirror.
Chrome is mostly immaculate, though there are a couple of marks on the rear window chrome surround and minor speckling to the top of the rear bumper and rear numberplate light housing. The wheels are unmarked and shod with thickly treaded Hankook Centum K702 145/70 R 12 tyres. We couldn’t check the spare because it lives in the front boot and the release cable had come adrift. The exhaust finishers look new but the exhaust itself, while completely undamaged, is rather pitted.
Lifting the rear lid reveals an Abarth- spec engine that’s honest rather than concours, sitting in a clean and recently painted engine bay and set off by a scarlet-painted block. Rubber pipes and belts look new, likewise the distributor, the wires are sound and neatly routed and there’s no sign of any leaks. Oil is clean, golden and to maximum.
The interior is dominated by a three- spoke woodrim steering wheel and new-looking seat covers and carpets. The red quilted rear headlining and opening fabric roof look new too, though the latter’s fasteners are lightly corroded. Veglia instruments are limited to a rev counter (redlined at a suitably screaming 6000rpm) and speedometer that’s calibrated in km/h. Niggles are limited to a loose driver’s door pull handle and a baggy passenger sun visor.
The engine fires instantly with a characteristic metallic rattle and settles to a 1000rpm idle with no untoward exhaust smoke. It’s a riot to drive, with a fantastic symphony of pops, spits and crackles on the overrun, though the beautifully tight non-synchromesh gearbox requires deft double- declutching to avoid graunching. Handling is nimble and steering immediate – it’s a proper little sports car.
Price seems fair – Silverstone Auctions sold a similar recreation at its Restoration Show sale in 2015 for £15,750.
500 was resprayed and fitted with new alloy wheels in early 2016
Repainted engine bay lifted by scarlet block
New-looking seat covers and carpets in compact interior