World's coolest courtesy car is also one of the rarest Abarths in existence
By Cam Tait / Thursday, 27 October 2022 / Loading comments
We’ve all been in this situation. You take your car to a dealer to get some work done and you’re offered a courtesy car for a few days. It does its job, and, okay, sure, you might rag it here and there, but after awhile you’ll step into it and wish you had your car back. Courtesy cars can be so rubbish, in fact, there have been numerous forum threads on the subject – like this one here.
This isn’t something that’ll be familiar though bar a few select Ferrari owners. Back in 2015, Ferrari decided that its customers (well, some of them) deserved to be pampered when their cars came in for a service. Instead of lumping them with something cheap, gutless and, God forbid, boring, it would instead toss them the keys to what is easily the coolest courtesy car of all time: the Abarth 695 Biposto Rosso Officine.
Though you might think of it as a modernised version of the Tributo Ferrari, the Rosso Officine was built in extremely limited numbers and would serve exclusively – for a brief period, at least – as official Ferrari service cars. Dealers were instructed not to sell them until they’d completed at least six months of service as courtesy cars and (apparently) they weren’t officially recognised by Abarth until they found new owners.
Mechanically, it’s nearly pretty much identical to a regular 695 Biposto, packing the same 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine and 190hp output. Bigger brakes were part of the upgrade over the standard car, as well as adjustable shocks and a mean Akrapovik exhaust system. The big changes can be found on the inside, though, with the rear seats replaced with a titanium roll cage and a boot net to keep your race helmet in place. A carbon dash helps turn the Biposto into a mini Ferrari Speciale, as do the carbon door inserts and grab handles. Overkill for a courtesy car? Possibly, but at least you were rewarded for treating it like a hire car.
The big difference is the Rosso Officina paint. Doesn’t sound like a big deal, really, but if you’ve ever found yourself in a Ferrari shop, you’ll know the kind of premium the brand demands. Hell, there’s a pen of the official Ferrari store for nearly £3,000. This small but significant link to the prancing horse meant that the Rosso Officine edition was listed at £45,000 once the six-month waiting period was over, making it around £12,000 more expensive than a regular Biposto. That’s a huge premium for a fancy shade of red, but you do get a little plaque below the gear lever with the model designation and build number. A sure-fire way to prove to your mates that the legends were true – the Rosso Officine does indeed exist.
This one is number 11 of 99. Allocation numbers are a bit all over the place, given that it was never officially released as a full production model, although it’s estimated that between eight and 14 were released in right-hand drive. So this UK-spec car is exceptionally rare, not least because it’s only covered 200 miles over its six-year lifespan. And it’s not like values have skyrocketed, either. This one’s up for £49,995, a slight increase over the alleged list price, sure, but not enough to keep up with inflation. In that case, instead of storing this in a climate-controlled garage waiting for values to soar, why not treat it the way all courtesy cars should be driven? i.e. on its door handles.
SPECIFICATION | ABARTH 695 BIPOSTO ROSSO OFFICINE
Engine: 1,368cc four-cylinder, turbocharged
Transmission: 5-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): [email protected],500rpm
Torque (lb ft): [email protected],000rpm
Year registered: 2016
Recorded mileage: 200
Price new: £45,000
Yours for: £49,995
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