Lazarus 500

I would never buy a Fiat 500. They’re just not manly enough. Oh wait, scrap all of that!

In the news today: the Fiat 500 that I would gladly drive, although it’s not officially called 500, but 550 Italia. That doesn’t mean you get 50 cubic centimetres more, it means you get almost 500 power horses more.

Here’s the story. The 550 Italia doesn’t actually exist other than on paper sketches drawn by an Italian studio called Lazzarini Design. They thought it’d be a good idea to spoon a Ferrari 458 engine, a 4.5 litre V8, into the cute and fluffy little car. Nope, it’s not under the hood – obviously that would never fit – but instead they’ve shoved it up its hindquarters: it’s right behind the front seats. They’ve had to increase the wheel base by nearly five inches. But despite that bit extra length, the 550 Italia is still a two-seater. Let’s be honest, a Fiat 500 has never been more than that. At least in this one you can engine-fry your groceries on the back seat.

So, why the ‘550’? There may be two reasons. The official version is that Lazzarini has brought the V8’s power down from 570 to 550 staggering horses and so it’s a reference to power. I’m sure 20 hp less on 570 doesn’t make a difference on the concept’s insanity level, so they must have done it because it just looks better from a marketing perspective. Or something. The other reason might be in the prospected price: a mere five-hundred-and-fifty-thousand-U-S-dollars. For that money you could also buy two Ferrari’s and then stick the engine of one next to the other’s.

When will we see this thing on the road? Well, Lazzarini is currently “looking for investors”. My guess is that means as much as “not for a very long while”.

Lazzarini. They should’ve called it Lazarus. Only a drunk could have come up with something as mental as this. Love it!

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