And now for something completely different: The Ferves Ranger

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 / Hooniverse 2017)

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15 responses to “And now for something completely different: The Ferves Ranger”

  1. David Buckley Avatar
    David Buckley

    Speechless … We are all lost for words.
    It seems somewhere between a squashed grapefruit and a puffer fish, but lost in another dimension.
    Great find.

  2. dead_elvis, inc. Avatar
    dead_elvis, inc.

    This seems like obvious Harrell-bait.
    Also, great find!

  3. outback_ute Avatar

    Amazing. The tiny car based off roader really was a thing in the sixties, and this is a good deal smaller than most.
    Think of it as a quad bike instead and all of a sudden it makes a lot more sense. Note I didn’t say side by side, because it lacks load area, but I bet many of these had a load tray added. The short wheelbase would help in really tight quarters.

      1. outback_ute Avatar

        That’s more like it!

  4. tonyola Avatar

    This is a cute little bug. Here’s another small Italian utility from 1965. Unfortunately, it was saddled with the extremely ill-chosen name of F.A.R.T. Breack.

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      Intelligent marketing. What was its “fartsgrense” (Norwegian for speed limit)?

        1. dead_elvis, inc. Avatar
          dead_elvis, inc.

          Gas-turbine powered!

          1. crank_case Avatar

            Methane not propane.

      1. crank_case Avatar

        No matter how many times I drive in Germany, I still giggle, I’d probably career off the road in Norway…

  5. Manxman Avatar

    Looks like the perfect vehicle to carry the mustard for the Oscar Meyer Weiner Mobile.

      1. Rover 1 Avatar
        Rover 1

        For some reason the 456 and 612 don’t look as good in red as they do in light to mid metallics. Specially blue. Rowan Atkinson ordered his in mid metallic green with a raspberry red interior.