Fiat's real fun sports car with rust built in!
Rust!!! Even when 6 years old the car had to have large plates welded in both footwells, a year later the plates had to be replaced with bigger plates as the original bodywork around the edges had rusted through again!
Cam belt snapped, luckily this happened when the engine was ticking over one morning, so didn't have to replace any pistons/valves (phew)
Strange intermittent engine cut outs, replaced everything on the ignition, but turned out to be a float chamber problem in the carb (the car ran much better with all new ignition, so was not a waste of money.
Generally things fell off a lot, bits of plastic, metal and switches etc.
I'm a Brit, but this car was bought in Germany, where I lived at the time, it was LHD and a luminous green colour; which I tried to respray blue, to my horror the the original paint and the celulose paint I used reacted badly and had thousands of tiny bubbles in it. I rubbed it down and got it resprayed Ferrari Red, by a professional, what a difference that made.
On the road it cornered like it was on rails, the little 1300 engine would rev to 7000 rpm and it's 5 speed box was a joy to use, not quite the "Little Ferrari" but if you were racing on winding roads the other car would have to be a Ferrari to outdo the cornering, so it was really fun to drive.
The Interior was a real style statement, very small, but stylish, the removable roof would fit on top of the front luggage compartment and it even had a small boot.
The Bertone styling and Targa Top made this a proper sports car despite the low cost. I reckon this was the last of the breed of affordable sports cars from Europe, Hot Hatchbacks took away most of the market for these and the MR2 did for it completely.
I was going to try the Fiat 1900S engine conversion, as there were plenty of these in a dutch breakers yard, but I had to move back to blighty and didn't have the time!
I had a 1500 RHD X1/9 in the UK after this, but it really did fall to bits and I got rid of it before it cost me too much! I then bought a TR7 and loved it!
If you get a good one of these and can spend the time looking after it, you will have nothing, but fun and it will turn heads. It's probably getting to be rare nowadays I should think!
Oh and one last thing to note.. RUST!!!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 17th March, 2004