As you’re reading this, Ferrari’s engineers are working flat out to prepare for the 2022 launch of the company’s first ever SUV, the Purosangue. Though Maranello is late to the luxury SUV party, the decision to put a Ferrari badge on a high-riding all-wheel drive car is a bold move by a brand know for its supercars and racing machines.
But maybe not that bold. Because back in 2009 Ferrari applied its iconic Prancing Horse emblem to the back of a tuned-up front-wheel drive city car.
The Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari was unveiled at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show and it was, unsurprisingly, ridiculously expensive. Like, Porsche Cayman or BMW 1M expensive. The UK list price when it eventually arrived in showrooms was £37,500 ($52,800) which, adjusted or inflation works out at something like £46,700 ($65,800) in today’s money. For a Fiat 500.
Okay, so technically it was based on an Abarth 500 Essesse, but that was just a Fiat with the wick turned up. Back in 2009 the base Abarth 500 came with 135 hp, and the £16,100 ($22,700) Essesse upped that to 160 hp. But despite costing more than double, the Tributo Ferrari only nudged power up to 180 hp courtesy of new pistons and a remapped ECU.
However, you did also get different alloy wheels mimicking those on Ferrari’s 360 Challenge Stradale, beautiful carbon-fiber Sabelt bucket seats, big Brembo brakes, and a smattering of Ferrari logos on the sill kickplates, key fob and trunk lid.
You also got Ferrari-level exclusivity. Just 500 were built, including 152 right-hand drive cars, and the combination of that rarity and the Ferrari connection means you’ll still pay handsomely for a Tributo 10 years down the line.
We found a couple for sale in the UK, both priced at just under £28,000 ($39,400). Which, when you think about it, isn’t bad depreciation. Ferrari specialist Simon Furlonger has a 33,000-mile red car, but we rather fancy the unusual Giallo Modena car at Vintage & Prestige Classic Cars. The dealer claims its one of just six painted in yellow, and it comes with the original Tributo leather luggage kit.
Zero to 62mph took just under 7 seconds in a Tributo, which is not slow, but it’s not fast either. Even a ratty old Ferrari Mondial, currently about the only other way to buy a Ferrari for less than $40k, might give you some trouble from the lights. If it didn’t break down, that is. The Tributo might not be a real Ferrari, but it should be a lot less painful to own.