Abarth Fiat 500/595/595SS/695SS (1957 – 1971) Review

Abarth Fiat 500/595/595SS/695SS (1957 – 1971) At A Glance


+A less obvious Mini-Coooper alternative

-Try finding one in the UK

One of the legendary names in the tuning industry, Carlo Abarth had cut his teeth tuning and improving the Fiat 500 – and producing his famous 595 and 695 models. These were based on Fiat’s updated version of its tiny 500, named the 500D. Abarth transformed the Fiat from a basic, budget run-around to a pocket rocket that could challenge the performance of many larger and more expensive sports cars – including the Mini-Cooper. Handling options were offered, while the 695SS could be bought with front disc brakes and wider wheelarches.

The cars became so sought-after that they are still made by replica manufacturers, with Abarth stripes and the distinctive Abarth scorpion badge. The two-cylinder engine was tuned and bored out to 593.7cc and power went up to 27bhp. Although the rise doesn’t seem significant, it was enough in such a tiny, lightweight machine. Little else was changed for this new model, named the 595. Following that, a more powerful version, called the 595SS, appeared which gained was boosted to 32bhp by using a bigger carburettor. By enlarging the Fiat engine still further, Abarth managed to obtained 30bhp from a 689.5cc unit and 38bhp for the 695SS.

Ask Honest John

Does my Abarth 500 have an alarm?

"Having recently bought an Abarth 500, we went on a ferry and I decided to turn off the motion alarm to stop the alarm going off. I could not find any reference to alarms/immobilisors in the handbook. Question is, does it have an alarm? I may have answered the insurance question incorrectly if not."
Owners' forums suggest that is has an immobiliser but not an alarm. To double check, it might be worth ringing Abarth customer service and quoting your VIN number.
Answered by Sarah Tooze

What should I replace my Renault Twingo with?

"I have had my RenaultSport Twingo for five years and am looking at replacing it after 94,000 miles. It has always been a big enough car for me, but I'm looking for something nearly new that is small and sporty. I like the look of the Abarth 595, Volkswagen Polo GT/GTI, Citroen DS3 and Peugeot 208. I have between £13,000 - £15,000 to spend and will do a mixture of town and motorway driving. I will be covering under 15,000 miles a year. Which car would you go for and why?"
The DS3 1.6 THP 155 was good fun but has had a few engine problems. See the car by car entry: Better a plain 500 Abarth on 16-inch wheels than the fancy versions on 17-inch wheels that are robbed of steering feel. Polo 1.8GTI ol. Polo 1.4 GTI Twincharger an absolute disaster. Peugeot 208 GTI nothing like as good as a Fiesta ST.
Answered by Honest John
More Questions