Fifty years ago, Fiat brought its 500-based Abarth 595 to the Turin Motor Show, and this year the automaker pays tribute to that performance model with the Fiat 500 Abarth 595 50th Anniversary at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The 299-unit run of cars will be available for order in Europe from September 15, 50 years to the day after the original car was launched.
The new Fiat 500 Abarth 595 pays tribute to its forbear with matte-white paint, a hand-painted logo on the hood, and hand-painted stripes. Red leather seats have white central inserts and red stitching, and the leather-wrapped steering wheel bears a historical Abarth emblem. Red dashboard and door-panel accents, along with stainless-steel pedals and Italian-flag stripes atop the steering wheel, round out the visual identification.
In keeping with the go-fast spirit of company founder Karl Abarth, the 595 50th Anniversary gets a 180-hp version of Abarth's 1.4-liter turbo-four engine and the paddled-shifted Abarth Competizione six-speed single-clutch automatic transmission. It's a far cry from the original 1963 Abarth 595, which boasted just 32 hp from its 593-cc two-cylinder engine.
On the modern car, a Record Monza dual-mode exhaust emits more noise when the engine crests 3000 rpm. Brembo brakes with four-piston front calipers grabbing 12.0-inch rotors bring the car back to rest. The seventeen-inch alloy wheels are painted 695 Magnesio Grey and have a red accent ring.
Abarth plans to play up its heritage with a series of new TV commercials to air in Europe, a planned rally of at least 595 Abarth cars, and even a smartphone app that plays "music" using Abarth car exhaust notes. But this 50th anniversary car says heritage all by itself -- the white paint and red racing stripes scream traditional Abarth paint scheme. The historical logos, high performance quotient, and classic color scheme should ensure that all 299 copies of the Fiat 500 Abarth 595 50th Anniversary find homes without a problem. There are, sadly, no plans to bring the limited-run model to the U.S.