1988 Fiat Regata 85 S Weekend 1.5 carb
Comfortable, gutsy car that fell victim to rust
Rust was the main problem. For example, big holes developed under the plastic door guards, and the bottom edges of all doors looked like lace. The rear part of the exhaust dropped on the road.
The electrical system comes a good second as a troublemaker. The cigarette lighter always blew a fuse darkening the dashboard, clock and interior lights (and who knows what else), and one of the 10A fuses regularly put one parking light and one rear light out of operation. I always carried a dozen spare fuses in the car. The fault was never localised.
The windscreen wipers suddenly stopped working. Naturally, this was the muddiest time of the year in late autumn, so driving without wipers was pretty nasty before I found a replacement wiper motor.
In general, the model was so old it was getting hard to find spare parts.
The car was fast, quiet, warm and good to drive. I did more than 100,000 km in 3 years. Not bad for a car that was 13 years old to begin with.
The Regata Weekend (the estate model) has excellent luggage space: the compartment swallowed a bed, a full-size fridge and once a load of three 150-litre refuse bags full of horse manure, two shovels and a bale of hay (for gardening, in case you wonder).
I was really sorry that the car crumbled to pieces; its mechanics were still fine, but rust got the better of it.
This tough little piece of engineering refuses to die. After I took the car to a scrap yard, the yard sold it on and 7 months later I had a phone call from someone who had seen it abandoned on a country roadside and wanted to buy it for a field car. (Apparently whoever owned it after me never bothered to re-register it as the plates still led to me.) Way to go!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 21st October, 2004