I have always been a fan of quirky and unique things, so when Chrysler announced that it would be making the Fiat 500 available to the U.S. market in 2012, I was intrigued. Although I was not quite intrigued enough to want to buy one of the little cars myself, I took comfort in knowing that such a niche car would be around to break up the monotonous traffic landscape; i.e., the rounded-off box shapes of SUVs and the rather nondescript forms of modern sedans and compacts.
For whatever reason, as I examined photos of the small round car, I couldn’t help but imagine what the 500s would look like if they were painted to resemble pool balls. The debut of the sporty Abarth edition inspired me to take my absurd notion one step further and spend a few minutes with the newfangled Photoshop machine to see what this styling exercise might look like.
With its 1.4-liter turbocharged engine and performance suspension, the 160-horsepower Abarth is a pretty cool and capable performance car, so I’m guessing that at least a few are going to see some track time and likely be fitted with racy graphics along with the traditional white gumball and number. Since Chrysler isn’t shy about offering multiple special editions of its muscular SRT Challenger in new and flashy colors and stripe combos, the pool ball theme might be something that would lend itself well as an extra-cost option on the 500 Abarth. Maybe there could even be a cross-promoted marketing tie-in with the Brunswick Corporation to link demographics that have absolutely no logical connections to one another. The interior could also feature green felt inserts in the seats and a talc dispenser in the console.
To advertise the sporty new Fiat 500 Abarth-Brunswick to even more markets that don’t really care, I envision a televised race series in which the “stripes and solids” cars, numbered 1 through 15, are piloted by celebrities. The starting grid, or rack, would be a triangular formation, and the pace car could be another 500 Abarth in solid, cue-ball white. The cars would all be equally prepared so the results would be a testament to driver skill. Fans could root for their favorite celebs such as Lindsay Lohan or George Clooney. But remember, there’s no gambling allowed.
Since the late Paul Newman was both an avid race car driver as well as a skilled pool player, proceeds from the races could go to his charitable foundation and the series could bear his name. I’m sure that if he were alive today, Mr. Newman would be proud to be a part of such a cohesive and ingenious concept . . . or he would send someone to kick my butt for thinking up such a stupid plan. Either way, I’m glad I decided to break this story as I’ve been wracking my brain wondering if I should even share this idea at all.