Posts Tagged ‘frank stephenson’

2008 Fiat 500

Posted: February 17, 2009 by The Car Spy in FIAT
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So you think the new ‘chingkweechentoe’ is cute eh? And who do you think styled this little piece of retro charm? Someone clever like Giugiaro? Maybe Pininfarina or even Bertone perhaps. It had to be an Italian surely! How about the Mini then? Now that must have been a young talented Brit designer straight out of the RSA with all that funky styling going on. Actually think Moroccan and his name is Frank Stephenson. A talented chap who developed his craft in an art college in California. Think BMW X5, Ferrari F430, Maserati Quattroporte and he had a hand in all of them including the Mini and the Nuova 500. No wonder he is now ensconced at McLaren Automotive! So maybe he is busy sorting out the P11 as we speak. Back to the Fiat for now as we contemplate this cutest of cute cars. If you needed reminding of what the original looked like then this is a facsimile of all those curvy features from the 1950’s in a 21st century dressing. The cheeky face is still recognisable along with the pert rump – a bit Mini-esque in fact. It’s bigger though of course to accommodate the raft of rules from the safety police. It is quicker, much quicker. These days the 1.4 500 can muster 100 bhp compared to the 13 horses that its grandad whipped to a frenzy. The new model is comfortable too. This is no buzz-box. The ride is as civilised as you would expect in a modern car and road-holding is typical ‘wheel-at-each-corner’ style. We are selling a Bossa Nova white ‘Lounge’ variant on behalf of the owner with its red leather interior, aircon, Bluetooth and Microsoft Windows Mobile USB for all you technophiles. This is a nearly-new 2008 model with only 700 miles on the clock and a manufacturer’s warranty until March 2011. Click here and go all soft and cuddly.

Sounds like a mouthful to us Anglo Saxons but ‘599 GTB Fiorano’ makes a lot of sense to our Italian cousins. The easy part is 599. This is the size of the engine minus the last 9cc. GTB stands for Gran Turismo Berlinetta which gives us a clue to the body styling i.e. it’s a Coupe. And finally Fiorano is the handy little ribbon of tarmac just outside of Maranello which is great for pushing Enzo’s finest to their limits. Maranello must be a great place to live! The 599 has a lot to live up to though. Built as a replacement for the 575 Maranello it had to look good and from an engineering point of view it had to move the game on. Well Pininfarina did the styling under the capable hands of Frank Stephenson who’s cv includes having a hand in the New Mini, X5, F430, Maser Quattroporte, 612 Scaglietti and pretty little new Fiat 500. He then went on to Alfa to replace our friend Wolfgang Egger who then went on to Audi. There must be something in the wine in Northern Italy to produce such an abundant crop of styling gurus! Is the 599 beautiful? Not in a pretty way perhaps but in a dramatic way it succeeds. It certainly looks like a Ferrari. And the mechanical bits? If speed is the benchmark (and it invariably is) then a 0-60 time of 3.5 seconds recorded by Evo Magazine suggests that the boys with the spanners and computers at Maranello have been putting in some overtime. Some tests have recorded even closer to 3 seconds for the same sprint which places the 599 way near the top of the league for high-performance exotics. Want to buy one? Well give us a call on ++44 (0)1474 854490 because we know of a cancelled order for a 599 that is going to be ready towards the end of 2008 and there’s still time to change the spec!