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Fiat 500 Beach Cruiser - 2012 concept car

story by Patrick Rall • photos by Marc Rozman

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On the other side of the Charger Juiced was the Fiat 500 Beach Cruiser, was designed after the rat rod designs of the American West Coast, starting with a matte black paint job with louvers on the hood and trunk, some old school style red wheels and - of course - a roof rack fitted with a surf board.

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Starting with the 500 Convertible, Mopar added 8 inches to the width to give this car a wicked stance with nice fat tires filling out those flared wheel wells. Across the front end, Mopar has attached a unique brushed aluminum chin spoiler with matching bumper trim and "whiskers."

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Aside from the ridiculous roof rack, this is one of the coolest Fiat 500 Convertibles that I've ever seen and I would love nothing more from the Fiat brand than to see a 500 with this body shape on showrooms someday soon. Honestly, if you removed the old school style red wheels and replaced them with something a little more modern, the 500 Beach Cruiser would look more like a race-ready rally car with that short wheelbase and wide track. I'm a big fan of the new Fiat 500 and this is assuredly one vehicle that will draw a ton of attention at the 2012 SEMA Show.

The Mopar take:

A playful take on the West Coast car customizer vibe, the unique charcoal, matte-finish grey Fiat 500 has a widened body (by a foot for both the front and rear) with old school-style fender flares that cover aluminum Mopar prototype wheels. Red paint brightens the rims, as well as satin and brushed center caps that give a clean look while hiding the lug nuts.

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The exterior metal work receives a satin, brushed finish on the door handles, mirrors and Mopar fascia accents, including the front chin spoiler, and Mopar roof rack surfboard carrier. Touching all points on the vehicle, headlamps are tinted, and cues from vintage hot rod culture are found on the prototype Mopar hood and Mopar rear deck lid, which boast louvers that are both functional and also aesthetically appealing. Teak woodwork on the slats of the roof rack, which carries a custom surfboard painted to match the body, add a unique touch.

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Themes on the exterior make their way to the interior, with trim bezels that also carry the satin brushed finish. As with the roof rack carrier, the creative "boardwalk" inspired floor slats are finished with teak woodwork. The dark grey naugahyde high-gloss vinyl seats receive a wild touch with red-and-white "beach towel" seat inserts.

An extended shifter, capped off by a white ball, completes the interior. Performance upgrades include a Mopar exhaust and Mopar cold-air intake to provide horsepower boosts, while the Mopar strut tower brace improves handling.

← Dodge Dart Carbon FireChrysler 300 Luxury

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Concept cars are often made so a car's feel can be evaluated, problems can be foreseen, and reactions of the public can be judged. Some concepts test specific ideas, colors, controls, or materials - either subtle or out of proportion, to hide what's being tested. Some are created to help designers think "out of the box." The Challenger, Prowler, PT Cruiser, and Viper were all tested as production-based concepts dressed up to hide the production intent.

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