Let’s say you wanted a modern interpretation of the original Fiat 500 Abarth. You know, that wild little Italian egg that was rear-wheel drive, and renowned for having the rear trunk open to help keep it cool. Like this. They might’ve only had around 40 horsepower, but that’s plenty when you’re behind the wheel of something that weighs around half of a modern lightweight hatchback.
The modern Abarth is no slouch itself, and like the original, it has a ton of personality. Something we at Car Autance love, especially my colleague Kevin Williams. He picked one up for stupid cheap.
But it’s not exactly like the original… it’s front-wheel drive. The original was RWD with the engine in the trunk. Or as they call it in Italy, the scarosso. Luckily, those with enough scratch (and the ability to find one unit out of just 100-total produced) can go the aftermarket-slash-body-in-white route and buy one by a name that’s like what Ruf is to Porsche: Giannini.
Giannini has actually been around for a long time. It’s been a household name in all-things Italian racing dating all the way back to the 1920s. Though unfortunately, according to their About Us that I hyperlinked, it looks like they don’t do much wild modification like they used to, but rather currently stick to doing custom work for Fiat.
The Giannini 350 GP is everything one would ever want in a modern, tiny (and I mean tiny) hot hatch. An Alfa 4C’s 1.7-liter turbocharged powerplant, RWD, pushrod-actuated inboard coilover suspension by Öhlins, carbon fiber bodywork, a manual or dual-clutch gearbox, and all packaged under the skin of a beautiful, race car-looking body. These things look like total screamers; luckily 19Bozzy92 has us covered with what they look and sound like in action:
Goddamn, just look at those wide wheel arches with accompanying wide wheels. It also sounds as glorious at startup as it does at wide-open throttle. The regular ol’ modern, Fiat-factory Abarth sounds like that, too. Though the 350 GP has just a hint more aggression in its tone. Un poco.
Making It Even Wilder
Taking it next level Giannini unveiled the GP4, which was essentially the same car, just all-wheel drive instead of rear-wheel drive. a Spanish tuning/racing shop by the name of D4S took the concept to the next level and made an ice-racing variant. There aren’t a whole lot of details about this specific race car on their site, probably due to it being classified as a prototype. They do have some fun photos on their Instagram. But again, Bozzy has us thoroughly covered with the eye-opening footage:
Four-wheel drive, a 3.5-liter naturally-aspirated V6 out of an Alfa Romeo, full tube-chassis, the works. Man would this thing be so fun to wheel around!
I wish more companies would do wild things to Fiat 500 Abarths. Again, they’re great cars on their own, but there’s really something special about a heavily modified little egg, that’s totally unlike its original, dealership-lot-fresh counterpart.