While this writer knows Zender as the maker of (mostly) fine body kits for German marques such as Volkswagen, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, the company has also been known to make kits for Italian autos. Its latest product, for example, has been applied to the Fiat 500 Abarth, resulting in what it calls the Abarth 500 Corsa Stradale Concept. We're not quite sure how we managed to miss it at the Frankfurt Motor Show, with its bulging fender flares, new front and rear fascias and side skirts, exhaust pipes poking from the bumper/diffuser, 18-inch alloy wheels and huge rear spoiler - but better late than never.
Not only does the kit lend the little Fiat a more aggressive stance, the body pieces also are made of lightweight carbon fiber, which is fitting for a car wearing the Corsa Stradale name (which roughly translates to "Road Race"). Also fitting is the 76-horsepower bump to 236 hp from the 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine. That substantial power increase comes courtesy of a larger turbocharger, modified pistons and camshafts, revised fuel injection with a bigger fuel pressure regulator, upgraded engine management and a stainless-steel exhaust system. So equipped, Zender claims the Corsa Stradale Concept does 0-62 miles per hour in 6.5 seconds, a 0.7-second improvement over the stock Abarth, and 0-124 mph in 24.7 seconds. It continues past the stock Abarth's 130-mph top speed and is claimed to top out at 144 mph.
A reworked height-adjustable coilover suspension helps keep body motions in check, and Zender has also upgraded the interior slightly, with custom sport seats in two-tone leather and stainless-steel pedals and door-sill garnishes.
Currently there are no plans to make a production version of the concept or offer the kit for sale, but we certainly hope Zender will reconsider.