My Boy And His Fiat 500 Abarth.

Updated September 10, 2014

 There’s a friend of mine that goes by the name of NaQueal James. (It’s pronounced Nah-quell) He, and I have been long time pals for about 20 years now, and every now and a again we share a phone call to catch up on things, and possibly see what’s going on in the car world. Little did I know that, the story he was going to tell me, would have my jaw on the floor.  NaQueal is a man in his early 30’s, single, and an avid entrepreneur. He’s had a solid 9 to 5 gig for a quite a long time now, but he’s one of those down low tech guys who likes taking things apart. He and I share a love of cars, and we can talk about what’s hot, and what isn’t for hours, but when he told me that he bought himself a 2013 Fiat 500 Abarth I damn near lost my lunch. I know at some point I told him, that if I was next to him, I’d slap the Hell out of him, but of course I needed to know why. He began telling me how his Honda Element was giving him issues one day, and he just so happened to stop on a street that had a few dealerships on it. The closest one to him at the time, was the Fiat/Chrysler dealership, and he walked in inquiring about any mechanics that may have been close by. He told me that he was awestruck by the layout of the place, and how the little Fiats were on turntables spinning around and such. He told me that they walked him into an area where he could use a phone to call the mechanic, and then afterward he went back towards the showroom.  

 There was this cute little, pint sized all Black Fiat 500 Abarth sitting in front of him, and for some reason he couldn’t move. One of the dealers must have caught him staring, and begin hitting him with the sales pitches. Now, NaQueal is about 6 foot tall, and pretty husky, so you’d think he’d have no business even trying to sit I one of these cars, let alone discussing it with a dealer. Well the dealer only had to tell him what that model came with, and he was pretty much hooked. The Fiat 500 Abarth came with a stout 16V, 1.4Liter 4 cylinder, Turbocharged engine that made 160HP, and 170lb-ft of torque. I think the word turbo, is what did it for him. Anyway, the Fiat guys got him to sit in it, and then take that very one from the showroom, and go for a drive. He told me that the Fiat had him hooked with its ability to launch off the line every time, he stepped on the pedal.  

 So long story short, he bought the car. He calls it RiRi, named after Rhianna, for being a bad little bitch. His words, not mine. Now, enough time has gone by, and he’s let me know that he was seriously considering upgrading the power for the Fiat. Without blowing up his savings account, he managed to find some upgrades that not only gave the Fiat 500 Abarth a bit more power, but it kept the look of the car completely stock. He’s a stickler for sleeper cars. So as it stands now, the Fiat is looking stock, but can run with some of the best tuned Civics out there. He told me that he threw in an AEM Cold Air Intake, and found someone who could change the impeller that was in the turbo. His horsepower now stands at 191HP, and 178ft-lbs of torque to the wheels. This is how he likes it, and I can’t really blame him. Granted when I drove it, my left knee kept rubbing against the underside of the dashboard which bothered me to no end, but the car did drive really nice. I’ll do what I can to keep all of you posted when more upgrades come into play. Also be sure to check out his photos of the Fiat.

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Calvin Escobar

The Car scene is so diverse Where I come from, most enthusiasts recognize the amazing engineering (particularly the engines). The bulk of the ridicule originates from the manner in which many of the vehicles are modded/maintained. Thus, the jokes and or hate tends to be aimed more at the owner rather than the machine. All of which makes seeing properly sorted old Toyota's and Hondas at car meets, auto shows, and track days all the more refreshing.

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