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Lucarelli Monza 500 Motore Centrale R230 – Click above for image gallery

There's a grand tradition to mid-engined hatchbacks that blend exotic layout with utilitarian bodystyle, and as promised, that tradition has now embodied itself in the Fiat 500.

Developed by Lucarelli Monza – a new tuning house eager to make its mark – the Abarth 500 Motore Centrale is a substantial re-engineering of the Italian retro hatch. The engine has been moved – apparently to a glass display case – in the rear, and extensively modified in the process. With a new turbocharger and intercooler, new catalytic converter and pistons, the 1.4-liter turbo four now drives 230 metric horsepower to the rear wheels, aided by an electronic limited-slip differential.

While the front MacPherson struts have been left intact, a new wishbone suspension has been crafted for the rear, joined by upgraded brakes with four-pot calipers all around and some revised bodywork with ducting fitted to help keep the engine cool in its new orientation. Aznom, meanwhile, has been brought on board strictly to outfit the interior with Poltrona Frau leather and Alcantara.

The road-going R230 is quoted for a 4.7-second sprint to 100 km/h (62 mph) and a 240 km/h (150 mph) top end. An R280 Pista version is also available with an extra 50 horses and 220 fewer pounds, plus a mechanical diff, full roll cage, adjustable suspension and data recorder, dropping its sprint down to 3.9 seconds and raising its top end up to 260 km/h (160 mph). No word on pricing, but you can bet that getting a budget hatchback to reach those kinds of numbers isn't a cheap proposition.

Have a closer look in the gallery below, and follow the jump to see and hear the pocket rocket zipping around the streets of Monte Carlo thanks to Marco at Marchettino. Thanks to all for the tips!

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      That is really awesome! Great car! 0-60 in 3.9 sec? That's sports car territory.
      Prince David
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is a monster hatch! I love the sound the engine makes, oh and the beautiful scenery from Monaco just completes the package!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Cooler than most of the cheesy penis extending hyper-mobile monstrosities at Top Marques. Slap the Mopar SEMA 500 body kit on it and I will gladly relinquish a kidney for one.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Awesome car, reminds me of the old Renault R5 turbo's. Awesome cars in the background too, one hell of a tuner show we are missing. What's up with the motorcycles just taking up a whole lane there?
      Rick C.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Back to its roots I see. The original 500's later evolved into the giant-killing Abarth 695's. It's only fitting they moved the engine back to the rear, and made it RWD again.
      • 3 Years Ago
      they need to offer this as a kit for sale in the US
      Rick C.
      • 4 Years Ago
      OK, now I want to see that movie.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Lotta room in the back there... I wonder if something a little bigger than a 1.4L would fit in there? (Even if it's just a bigger 4cyl!)
      • 4 Years Ago
      You mean this is finally possible? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGTxs2QeWJg (miyazaki's early feature animation directoral work)
      • 4 Years Ago
      Love it, but the glass display case is dumb and clunky looking, and the engine is nothing great to look at.
      Justin Octavi
      • 4 Years Ago
      Koenigg CCX at :54..pure awesomeness!!
      Tippy Dobbs
      • 4 Years Ago
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