By Gordy Leach, WCCO
Italy has an auto industry and Italian cars are imported to America. Ferrari and Lamborghini come to mind. But I’ve been driving around Minnesota for 40 years, and I’ve only seen a few Ferraris — and no Lamborghinis — in “real life.”
However, next month, you’ll be able to buy a new Italian car right here in Brooklyn Park at the new Luther Fiat. The Fiat 500 is the Italian car they’ll be selling, and unlike a Ferrari, you’ll be able (they say) to get one for less than $16,000.
The 500 is a cute little car, and this picture has a dollar bill in it so you can see how small the press release is that Luther sent to WCCO-TV. The release included a pint-size model of the 500, but the real bonus was a set of customizing stickers that came with the package. Since we are dedicated to automobiles here at The Garage, there was really no choice but to spend a few minutes making a custom compact, or at least a model of one.
One of the things Fiat dealers are marketing with this new arrival is that it CAN be customized with various colors, interiors, and trim levels. There are two wheel choices, available sunroof, optional Bose audio system and — wait for it — NINE EXTERIOR DECAL OPTIONS.
The 500 is being marketed as one of those “cute little cars” like the Mini Cooper and the VW New Beetle that also happen to be good little cars, with plenty of modern safety and technology features for the price. The Fiat 500’s 1.4 liter engine uses “MultiAir” variable intake timing to improve fuel economy and power while reducing emissions.
So, here is the WCCO version of a custom Fiat 500. Notice the number 4 inside a fire ball over the checkered flag motif on the driver’s door. Just because the 500 has a four cylinder engine and gets 38 miles to the gallon, it doesn’t have to look boring! Actually, I’ll bet a light-weight car like this with its 5-speed manual transmission will be great driving fun. A six-speed automatic transmission is in the works.
This top view shows off the roof flames, Italian colors and the Minnesota sticker. Do you think the yellow stars on the hood are too much?