We are pretty open in letting you know that we have had it about up to *here* with the “new” 500 models that Fiat continuously releases. So oftentimes when we see a new 500 model we just continue on without stopping. They are typically unexciting and only add a slight difference from the original 500. It’s like getting rainbow sprinkles on strawberry ice cream instead of red sprinkles; they are the same sugary flavor, just a different color.
Well, when we came across the latest rendition of the 500, which is actually a custom build by Lazzarini Design, it was more like they dipped the ice cream in chocolate – you know, the cool stuff that hardens on the ice cream – added peanuts, then strapped a big nasty V-8 engine to the ice cream cone!
Yeah, it’s that freaking cool, but is this Fiat 550 Italia by Lazzarini Design realistic?
Click past the jump to read our full review on this custom Fiat 550 Italia.
The first thing that stands out on this custom design is the fact that the front end is actually cut out and a plastic insert is in place of the original 500 grille, which actually makes the rather timid-looking 500 look like it means business. On the lower, outer parts of the front fascia you also get a pair of louvered air intake vents.
Keeping with the Italian theme of the car, you get red, white, and green stripes – the colors in the Italian flag – running up the hood of the 500. Also Italian’d out are the side view mirrors, as the driver’s side is red and the passenger’s side is green, but it’s missing the white, so it could be confused with a Christmas theme too…
On each corner of the 550 Italia you get a set of dish-style rims, which are obviously much wider than come on the car from the factory. In the center of each rim is an Italian flag-themed center cap.
On the roof, there’s a massive air intake duct, which looks like it is straight off of the Eclipse from the original Fast and Furious . Then again, unlike in the movie, this intake actually serves a purpose, which we will get into later. On the backside, there’s a double-decker wing of monstrous proportions, which appears to be made from carbon fiber.
The car is wrapped in a wide body kit that increases the front width of the Fiat by 400 mm (15.74 inches) and it increases the rear width by 600 mm (23.62 inches). To compensate for the extra luggage in the hatch, which we’ll get to in a bit, the 500’s wheelbase had to be stretched 300 mm (11.81 inches) to 2,600 mm (102.36 inches).
Overall, there is some serious sexiness going on with this Fiat 500 turned 550. It’s definitely a breath of fresh air into an otherwise stagnant and boring brand.
The interior was pretty much left out in Lazzarini Design’s release about this vehicle. From what we can see from the images, the interior carries on the Italian theme, with red, white, and green leather seats and steering wheel wrap.
The rear seats are removed to make room for something more important than passengers, and there is a pretty serious roll cage inside to keep things safe.
Engine and Drivetrain
Okay, okay, we’ll quit teasing now. The biggest deal in this entire car is the luggage it’s hauling around. No, it’s not some exotic Italian leather luggage set, it is a hunk of Italian muscle that would make even Rocky Balboa cower in fear.
That’s right, the “Italia” name isn’t just to represent the country and its soccer team, but it also indicates the engine that drives this beast. Mounted directly behind the driver’s seat in place of the rear seats is a 4.5-liter V-8 engine ripped straight from an unwilling Ferrari 458 Italia.
Lazzarini Design had to slightly detune the 570-horsepower beast down to 550 horsepower to prevent completely warping the petite 500’s fragile body. Still, 550 horsepower in a car that Lazzarini Design claims to weigh only 2,200 lbs. Mmmm, we like it.
The Fiat 550 Italia also boasts the rear suspension, differential, and 7-speed transmission from the 458 Italia. The Italia’s limited-slip differential had to be slightly modified for it to work properly in the more compact 500.
To make the last bit of room needed for the extra muscle, the fuel tank was moved to the front of the vehicle.
What more can we say about the drivetrain, besides “wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!”
When Can I Get One?
Ah, the $1 million question… Well, this model is not in production yet, but according to Lazzarini Design’s website, it is currently seeking an investor to pony up $550,000 to fund the project. If they can find this investor, we could honestly see this model hitting production on a very limited basis.
Since the model isn’t a true reality yet, there is no pricing available on it. Considering the fact that this beast uses a Ferrari Italia engine and entire rear cradle, we would venture to say is will run at least $200K. It could possibly even range all the way up to $300K.
We love it. We had yet to see a true custom Fiat 500 that totally sweeps us off of our collective feet, and this one is certainly close to it. All we need to see is a final production model and a little more information on the interior and suspension. Short of those components coming up a total failure, we see this as the ultimate supercar killer in a compact package.
Is this a realistic plan? We honestly think so. Finding an investor to give half-a-million bucks for this type of project shouldn’t be too hard. That investor would likely get his money back fairly quickly and maybe even profit a little. In all honesty though, only time will tell.
- Nice body kit and not too over-the-top
- Love the wheels
- 550 ponies in a 2,200-lb car, c’mon...
- No interior details
- No estimated performance specs
- May never happen