THEN £16,000 NOW £5,000

Fast Car - - Up Front -

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.

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