THIS WAS a project I promised myself as a retirement present. I’m a panel-beater and spray-painter by trade, so it probably doesn’t look like much of a retirement! But it was something I wanted to do. I moved to Australia when I was just 23 and wanted to build something that reminded me of the Bambinos I remember from back in Italy.
It needed to be something special and I suppose there isn’t a whole lot of the original car left, other than the body shell.
Originally this was a 500F Bambino, though I’ve taken it out to 695cc with mostly Abarth parts, much of which you could buy as a kit. I also updated a lot of the ancillaries, such as the electric fuel pump and oil cooler kit.
Stock Bambinos can fetch $20-30k
Call 13 46 46 for a quote or visit shannons.com.au
I added a five-speed manual gearbox and it can do 130-135km/h, which is a lot more than standard.
I did the conversion from left to right-hand drive, making a new dash along the way. That was quite a lot of work as it’s now running full instrumentation in a custom-built cluster.
It’s topped off by a steering wheel by Sports Line, plus a set of front seats I imported from Italy.
The suspension has been done, too, with premium Assetto
Corsa gear, as have the front brakes, which are now discs rather than drums. That’s all sitting on 13-inch wheels which are similar to Minilites.
Much of the bodywork came from Italy as well, though I did the paint. That was very time-consuming, getting it just right. It’s a Harlequin-style from DNA, and I think it was worth the effort.
It doesn’t just sit around. We get to a lot of shows with this car and we’re doing some fairly big distances along the way. I just love the car and people’s response to it.