Off-Road Rarity: 1968 Ferves Ranger

Here’s another new one for me, a 1968 Ferves Ranger. The seller describes it as, “A wonderful Italian oddity with delightful styling“. Fair enough though it actually looks like a cross between a toon car and a Step Two kiddie coaster car with a little golf cart thrown in for good measure. Available here on RM Sotheby’s, this unusual little creation will be auctioned at Amelia Island, Florida on May 22nd. Thanks to Araknid78 for this most unique discovery!

Ferves was a short-lived Italian automobile company that produced Fiat-based, two and four-wheel drive vehicles between the years of 1965 and 1970. Total production numbers are estimated to be 600 units with approximately 50 still surviving. You can read more about the Ferves Ranger on Silodrome. Valuations range between $30 and $40K.

This example is a two-wheel-drive model powered by a Fiat 18 HP, 500 CC, four two-cylinder, rear-mounted engine working through a four-speed manual transaxle. So it has off-road ground clearance but not a whole lot in the off-road “pull” department. That said, the seller makes note of the Ranger’s very low first gear and its ability to operate at “walking speed”.

The seller claims, “The car presents in good condition throughout…“. It actually seems if it presents better than just “good condition”. This example is from an enthusiast’s collection but there is no reference as to whether it is in original condition or has undergone refurbishment. The windscreen folds down and generally, the Ranger came equipped with a convertible top which is present with this car. The seller also mentions side roll-up windows but I don’t think they are “roll-up” in the traditional sense. They are roll-up in that they are clear plastic and can be rolled up. Anyway, the exterior of this Ranger is in fantastic condition. Interesting to note is the rear-opening or “suicide” doors.

When I first spied the interior, my first thought was a VW Thing – it is a similarly spartan environment but that’s what you would expect on such a basic utility vehicle. While it’s not stated, it’s easy to imagine that it is one of those kinds of interior settings that can be cleaned with a garden hose. The seats, I imagine, have been reupholstered, they look too good for having experienced 53 years of age along with some amount of sun exposure.

So now, it’s that time when I ask the question, what would you do with this Ferves Ranger? Considering its condition and what it is, I can’t see a role for it beyond a curiosity item in a collection. How about you, what are your suggestions?

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Comments

  1. Steve R

    Narrow, short wheelbase, high center of gravity, nonexistent roll over protection, what could go wrong.

    It would be really cool if made of plastic and shrunken down to fit one 3 year old kid to push around their backyard.

    Steve R

    Like 8
  2. Frank Sumatra

    The Italian Space Agency attempt at a Mars Rover. “Hey !!. Waddaya doin?” “Can’t ya see I’m drivin here”?

    Like 4
  3. James

    Nice write up – slight error – That’s Fiat’s air cooled twin – not a four cylinder.

    Like 2
    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      Ooops, you’re right, fixed now.

      Thx,

      JO

      Like 5
  4. Ronald

    I think it would make an upscale “golf cart” for a community where these vehicles are allowed on the roads.

    Places like “senior” communities.

    Like 4
    • Ike Onick

      As stated above- “What could go wrong?” with handing this over to Grandma and Grandpa.

      Like 3
  5. JoeNYWF64

    I 1st thought this thing could also go in the water!
    Put a big “Ford” oval badge above “Ranger”, park it in front of a Ford dealership & watch the sales people get flooded with inquiries. lol

    Like 4
  6. Howard A Member

    Maybe as transportation in a gated community, or down a Paris alley, but off road? This thing would get stuck on wet grass. I’ve always wondered what Italian engineers were thinking, and here’s another. Not enough meat for the good ol’ USA. One good thing, tires can be bought at Home Depot in the wheelbarrow dept.

    Like 7
  7. Jay Flynn

    No mention of the Ferrari connection? The “Fer” in Ferves stood for Ferrari.

    • t-bone bob

      Not the Ferrari you’re thinking of. This cute little vehicle has no connection to the manufacturer in Maranello we all know and love.

  8. DeeBee

    A bit of a high center of gravity, seems a little tippy, but, powered by two, count ’em, two! cylinders of screaming FIAT power, “what, me worry?”

    Like 2
  9. Malcolm Boyes

    Really? Love to hear more about the F connection..how cool to put the prancing horse on this!! I could see using this around Sonoma where we live….or as a great beach car for our place in the Virgin Islands.Its pretty cool IMHO..there again..got a Thing and had a Moke and love Meharis!

    Like 2
    • Ike Onick

      “Sonoma” and “our place in the Virgin Islands”. Humblebragging raised to the nth degree.

      Like 1
  10. roger

    it would be great for hunting the back woods I would love to have it put some 14 in. tires on it and , hi ho silver, away !

    Like 1
  11. Pietro

    Ferves cars were based on the Fiat Nuova 500 platform. The engine and mechanical parts are exactly the same. “Ranger” was the 2X4 version. For harder outroad driving they also produced the 4×4 version named Cargo. The Ferves Registry lists almost 260 vehicles like that still existing.

  12. Howie Mueler

    Looks like something from Little Tikes.

    Like 4
    • Rick

      I was thinking it would be a hit with Lancelot Link or the Banana Splits.

      Like 3
  13. BR

    I’m not sure how we adopted the term “roll up” windows as the term for “crank up” windows. I don’t know of one domestic vehicle that had true roll-up windows. We are such an ignorant lot.

    • Howie Mueler

      Probably the same way wheels became rims.

      • BR

        Hmm. Wheel is the term for the assembly, comprised of a tire and rim. I chalk it up to extreme laziness with a pound of ignorance blended in.
        No disrespect intended.

  14. Willowen Member

    There’s a collector of Italian cars in L.A. who has one of these in his building. As someone whose hobby (or one of them) is doodling tiny cars, and whose first car was a Fiat 500, I was instantly smitten, and while I recognize the shortcomings (pun intended) of the design, I still think that if I’d ever bought that cabin in an Alaskan muskeg swamp, this would be the perfect vehicle for traveling between there and the road. And from there into town, of course, since grocery-getting would usually be on the agenda.

    As an invited visitor I never asked permission to get on board the one in the man’s collection, but the accommodations don’t look much tighter than the stock 500’s … and with open-air seating, there would be more elbow room. Still, the asking price range is obviously Rich-Man’s Toy territory, and this man is not that rich. The only real upside here is that I could hide this thing in the garage for quite a while without Ms. O ever finding out! Even with the yellow paint.

    Like 1
    • Frank Sumatra

      And regular, shall we say, “donations” in small-denomination, unmarked, U.S. dollars will go a long way towards keeping Ms. O in the dark. If you get my drift. It would be a shame if the vehicle in question was somehow brought to the attention of the aforementioned Ms. O. Capish?? My associate Mr. V. Boombatz will be in touch soon to provide additional details.

    • Charles Sawka

      Ever been to Alaska ?

      • BR

        I don’t believe he has, at least not in the marshes. The mosquitos would eat that thing alive.

      • Willowen Member

        Almost four years at Elmendorf, Stateside discharge and right back up for another three years. That swamp I mentioned has (or had) a cabin I helped the guy build, and later one weekend I rode my Allstate 175 up and across said muskeg, mostly walking alongside. Yes, the mosquitos are a PITA, but enough Off (and heavy smoking, back then) keeps them mostly a nuisance. I must say Alaska is the only place I’ve seen campers pushing and shoving to get INTO campfire smoke …

  15. Malcolm Boyes

    “Humble bragging”? We live in a manufactured home in Sonoma and I bought the Tortola house back in 1989 for peanuts and fixed it up..before Hurricane Irma fuc$ed it up. Not big bucks just how you use what you got..I’m Jimmy Buffett without the big bucks..he’ll tell you! Shipped my 1973 Thing down there in 2006 that I paid $1,900 for. in 1986…survived Irma and , hopefully, a year of sitting because of Mr C’Vid.

    Like 3
  16. Jason

    Do like the smart cars! Put a 750 GSXR motor in it, with a ROLLCAGE of course, and let her rip!

    Like 1

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