The starter motor failed in the summer of 2002. After a visit to a specialist, I was told that it seemed the starter motor had never been serviced before, so that was no serious failure for a car of such mileage.
The car's lights had developed a "flashing" habit. A specialist advised me to replace the fuse box the car originally came with with the one the most up to date cars are being equipped directly from the factory. I followed his advice and the problem vanished.
The 1.2 liter engine of the car tends to malfunction and even goes off sometimes in traffic, because of the high temperatures reached in the engine bay. Sometimes you can observe the coolant temperature gauge move to the right, quite close to the red area. I have been advised that istalling an electrically operated fan will keep the temperature in the engine bay lower, and this problem will not be so intense. As I figured this problem is caused because the density of air in high temperatures is significantly low, so the air available for intake contains less oxygen than the quantity the engine requires, so this, combined of course with the high temperature the engine operates under heavy traffic makes the problem much worse. So in order to deal with traffic the car needs to be fitted with a cold air intake of some kind.
The windscreen wipers tend to malfunction or even completely fail to operate from time to time, and I have not figured or heard of a solution till today.
The cloth upholstery on the rear seat's back had deteriorated due to sunlight expos ion for so many years, and finally was torn recently. The seats also need re stuffing with fresh sponge-like material.
The car's dash has also some cracks caused again by sunlight expos ion, but all these are minor problems regarding the car's age!
The car suffered a braking system failure due to some mechanic's wrong ideas about rebuilding the rear brakes six to ten months ago, but fortunately there was some brake fluid left to stop the car when I discovered it.
This car was originally owned by my parents, from the date of purchase in 1986, till the spring of 2002, when they gave it to me. The car had regular maintenance, according to the instructions given by the factory. As a result it has been generally reliable and quite safe, even in comparison with any modern small family car.
The car's suspension is its strongest point, as far as my opinion is concerned, since it is very forgiving for a rear wheel drive car that carries the technology they used in cars some twenty years ago, while it is still surely fun to drive when you drive it enthusiastically.
Its engine is also quite strong for its age, and compared to other cars of its age and class, such as the Golf 1.4, can keep the car moving relatively fast.
All those mentioned above make it such a good car, but noone could overlook comfort matters when thinking of this car. Its seats are the most uncomfortable ones I have ever heard of and surely make it clear to all the passengers that their journey is going to have many stops for a rest. Maybe when the car was new they were less uncomfortable in comparison to the ones fitted in other cars of its class.
In my opinion the lack of a revolutions counter as a standard was not a crime back in 1986, but certainly including one as part of the standard equipment would not make this car so much more expensive to buy!
I believe most people underestimate this car for no obvious reason. It just treats its driver the same way he treats the car. Respect it and it will pay you back in its own, unique way. Neglect it, and it will soon become a car to dread! But this won't happen any sooner than a Mercedes or a Volvo of this age would start letting down its driver, and that's for sure.