FIAT 500 ABARTH ESSEESSE
THEN £16,000 NOW £5,000
Fiat’s perky reboot of the old Nuova 500 has been with us for over a decade now, and it’s comprehensively proven that, along with the likes of the MINI and the new Beetle, retro-styled cars are a hit with consumers. (Unfortunately this is also true of the heinous PT Cruiser, but let’s not dwell on that abomination.)
While the cooking models have been flying off the forecourts, there’s always been a keen focus on developing the sporting variants. There’s a bewildering array of quick 500s, one of our favourites being the 695 Biposto, which had a titanium Akrapovic exhaust, Bacci Romano dog-ring gearbox and Sabelt bucket seats. The Tributo Ferrari had a big turbo and a Challenge Stradale paintjob. The deep-purple Tributo Maserati was like a baby GranTurismo. These specials were all worth a fortune to collectors. But there’s also a secret bargain one you should know about: the 500 Esseesse.
This was basically a £2,500 dealer conversion kit for new cars, taking a stock 135bhp 500 Abarth and adding a 160bhp remap, uprated brakes, lowered suspension, sport induction and 17-inch multispoke wheels. This premodified starlet retailed at over £16,000, and today you can grab one for as little as £5,000. And you totally should.