12.08.2005 The F500 - a perfect blend of Italian retro-chic and cutting edge performance - the "Prancing Mouse" IS ABOUT TO BE BORN

The F500 is described as "a perfect blend of Italian retro-chic and cutting edge performance." The first "Prancing Mouse" is currently taking shape at the former premises of the Arrows F1 team at Leafield.

This ambitious new project - which will see the iconic Fiat 500s being rebuilt to modern standards and fitted with a 200bhp Ducati motorbike engine and a sequential 6-speed gearbox - is being carried out by race car constructor, Hartham, who are also at present pressing ahead with their new GTP and LMP3 sportscar designs. The new car - known as the F500 will achieve 0-60mph in under 4 seconds and hit a top speed of 120mph.

"We are currently building the first customer car at our UK site," Hartham Director Andre Brown told Italiaspeed this week. "This will be ready for test drives in September, and will use a Ducati 996 engine. Further road legal engine options include the Ducati 999R engine, and for track day customers' we will also offer the fitting of a 'World Superbike'-specification Ducati 999R engine. This final option will bring the power to weight ratio up to rival the Ferrari Enzo.

"The car will typically be available in Ferrari Rosso Corse red with Crema leather interior, though we will be happy to accept customer preferences," concludes Andre.

The F500 - the perfect blend of Italian retro-chic and cutting edge performance

The Fiat 500 will forever be inextricably linked to style and passion and has become an undisputed style icon over the last six decades. Drivers all around the world have fallen in love with the car’s unique blend of Italian style, rear wheel drive and affable curves. Automotive technology has moved on but the 500 still holds a special place in many people’s hearts. The opportunity has arisen to combine this Italian verve with modern technology and the free revving performance offered by a modern powerplant, to create a car to further the legend.

The F500 maintains the original shape of the Fiat 500 and - as mentioned earlier - it replaces the engine with the thunderous Ducati 999 Corse unit which delivers 200 bhp to the rear wheels; over ten times more power than the original 500, and a sequential six speed gearbox. Other key features include a carbonfibre composite chassis and Brembo disc brakes, meaning that this evolution of the 500 has all the trademarks of a true racing thoroughbred - right down to its Sabelt six point racing harnesses. All of this combines to deliver a power to weight and driving experience that belies its retro exterior. The F500 is truly a miniature supercar in every sense.

Manufactured at a former F1 premises in the UK, and with production strictly limited to 500, the F500 exudes the exclusivity to go with its exquisite styling and impressive performance – every discerning car collector should have one.

Ducati 999RDucati 999R

Further road legal engine options for the F500 will include fitting of a 'World Superbike' specification Ducati 999R engine

Hartham LMP3
Hartham GTP

British racecar constructor Hartham are also at present pressing ahead with new GTP and LMP3  sportscar  designs

Fiat 500

The iconic Fiat 500 is being rebuilt by Hartham - to modern standards - and fitted with a 200bhp Ducati motorbike engine


BODYWORK Exterior - Carbonfibre panels suspended on chassis tub; Ferrari Rosso Corse red paintwork; Interior - Painted & natural carbon dash, crema leather door-cards

Chassis tub - Folded & bonded carbon skins over 1” aluminium honeycomb – composite monocoque, aluminium hard points; Roll-over structure - Full FIA specification cage in chromoly tube; Crumple zone - Front mounted composite energy absorption structure

Pedalbox - Bespoke billet CNC machined aluminium pedalbox; Gearchange - Sequential H-pattern – chrome gearlever gate; Dash - Re-trimmed Ducati clocks; Steering wheel - Fiat 500 mounted onto quick release boss & collapsible column; Seat - Carbonfibre seats trimmed in crema leather; Harness - Six point Sabelt racing harness

WHEELS, HUBS, UPRIGHTS, BRAKES & STEERING Wheels - 13” split rims in aluminium or magnesium with centre lock  mounting; Hubs & uprights - Bespoke billet CNC machined in aerospace grade aluminium; Brakes - Brembo four pot alloy callipers on Brembo Composite Ceramic discs; Steering rack - Motorsport aluminium quick rack – 1¼ turn


SUSPENSION Wishbone - Independent aero-section asymmetric double wishbones; Springs / dampers - Push rod activated, inboard Nitron three way adjustable spring dampers; Setup - Fully adjustable corner-weights, camber, castor, toe & ride height; Bearings - Aerospace grade spherical and rod end bearings


TRANSMISSION Gearbox - Six speed sequential; Ratios - 1st 37/15, 2nd 30/17, 3rd 28/20, 4th 26/22, 5th 24/23, 6th 23/24; Primary drive - Straight cut gears; ratio 1.84; Final drive - quaife differential with integral reverse gear; Clutch - Dry multiplate with hydraulic control; Gearchange - Chrome H-pattern gate, twin cable operated; Driveshafts - Splined with lightweight motorsport tripoid joints


ENGINE Type - Ducati 999R. L-Twin, 8 valve Testastretta Desmodromic; liquid cooled; Displacement - 999cc; Bore & stroke - 104 x 58.8mm; Compression ratio - 12.5:1; Power - 110kw – 150hp @ 9750rpm  (200hp WSB spec. available); Torque - 11.9kgm @ 8000rpm; Fuel injection - Marelli electronic fuel injection, 54mm throttle body; Exhaust - Single carbon muffler with catalytic converter; Emissions - Euro 2; Lubricants - Shell Advance


PERFORMANCE 0-60mph - Sub 4 sec (estimate); Top speed - 120mph (limited); Power to weight - 428bhp / tonne standard. (up to 600bhp / tonne available); Weight distribution (%) - 53R : 47F

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After three months of travelLing, and covering 16,000 kilometers in their Fiat 500, Danilo Elia and Fabrizio Bonserio have reached Beijing

Details: www.f500.co.uk & www.hartham.com / © 2005 Interfuture Media/Italiaspeed