Here’s an interesting little curio. This tiny yellow beastie is a Ferves Ranger, built in 1967 by FERVES – a portmanteau of Ferrari Vehicoli Speciali. In production for five years, the Ranger took its mechanical package from the Fiat 500 and 600, something you might have guessed from the car’s miniscule size.
I say minuscule, but viewed head on it looks like any other forward control vehicle. Only in plan view do things get a bit odd.
It’s fair to say that side-on is not the Ranger’s most pleasing elevation, but it does betray the Ranger’s rear-engined. It also shows off the car’s soft-top roof. Looking like a hastily erected tent, it provided shelter for four rather tightly packed passengers.
The Ranger was designed to this scale for reasons that went beyond the cheapness and ready availability of Cinquecento components. It was intended as a kind of miniature SUV, providing all-terrain access to the cramped paths found in vineyards and olive groves, and the open roof makes a lot of sense if you imagine its occupants reaching out for drive-by fruit picking.
600 Rangers were produced, and around 50 are thought to still exist, which strikes me as a pretty health survival rate. A four-wheel drive version was also produced, but, disappointingly, I can find no mention of an Abarth variant.
(All images copyright Chris Haining / Redusernab 2017)