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302kW Pogea 500 Abarth is a Bambino Bomb

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Friedrichshafen, Germany – Pogea racing has made a name for itself as a purveyor of wickedly fast luxury cars to the gentry, but even Eduard Pogea admits this project is mildly insane.

We’re talking about a 1.4-litre Fiat 500 Abarth that kicks out 302kW at 6400 revs and an (electronically limited!) 445Nm at 3350rpm, with practically every removable body panel replaced in carbon fibre to bring its kerb weight under a ton.

The resulting uberhatch will hit 100km/h from a standstill in 4.7 seconds, its acceleration limited only by the grip of its Michelin Pilot Sport 215/35 R18 gumballs, and tops out on the autobahn at 288km/h. Yes, the autobahn, because the craziest thing about this pint-sized rocketship is that it’s street-legal.

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Which begs the question - how do you more than triple the output of Fiat’s 1.4-litre turbopetrol four without turning it into a hand-grenade?

By throwing cubic money at it, that’s how. Start with a reinforced block and rebalanced crankshaft, add upgraded H-shaft conrods, forged pistons, bigger exhaust valves, a CNC-machined cylinder head with high tensile-strength wheel studs (!) in place of the standard head studs, a special, all-metal head gasket, racing camshafts and a big hairdryer, blowing in through a custom-made 70mm throttle body and out through a seriously authoritative 70mm auspuff.

The resulting 302 kilowatts and 445 Newton-metres reach the front wheels via an aluminium-mass flywheel, a double-plate clutch and a five-speed manual ‘box (Pogea says there’s no way Fiat’s MTA automated transmission can handle it - he’s tried) with a reinforced bell-housing, specially reinforced third and fourth gears, a long, long top gear, limited-slip differential and its own oil-cooling system.

Keeping the shiny side up are KW Clubsport dampers adjustable for ride height, preload, compression and reload damping, with Uniball upper mounts and strut braces on both axles, as well as additional stabilisers and camber adjusters on the rear wheels. Negative acceleration is entrusted to huge six-pot callipers and 322mm perforated dics, behind Pogea’s own 18 inch rims and Michelin’s tackiest street takkies.

The light stuff

New body panels include both bumpers, the bonnet, side skirts and all four fenders (with 48mm of extra flare to house the eight inch rims and tyres on 20mm front and 30mm rear spacers), side mirror housings, roof spoiler and rear diffuser - all in carbon fibre.

Inside, there’s more of the light stuff in the form of custom made half-shell racing seats trimmed in either leather or alcantara synthetic suede, a virtual instrument panel, a pioneer double DIN audio system with Apple CarPlay, Ground Zero plug-in subwoofers on both sides, and an Alpine rear view camera with 360 view. All the plastic interior trim is also covered with leather or alcantara to match the upholstery.

The cost is equally outrageous: If you provide the base vehicle, a 1.4-litre Abarth 500, the engine mods alone will set you back €21 000 (R280 000), or Pogea will supply the complete conversion and the base vehicle for €58 950 (R795 000) ex factory without taxes.

But here's the kicker: he's only going to do five of them, including the one in the pictures. So if you want one, you'd better get in quick.

IOL Motoring

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