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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #1
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Want to get a new toy, but not sure what...

I'm wanting to get a car to work on as a project, not a daily driver but something that I can fiddle with at my leisure.

Ideally, it needs to be:

Small, as my garage is small (short).

Light, so I can trailer it easily, around 950kg max. Light also makes lifting it easier for work.

Easy(ish) to work on, an engine bay that isn't too cramped.

FUN - it has to make me smile when driving, otherwise there's no point...

Cheap, both in purchase cost and parts. I'm not giving a budget as prices are different in France, but I'm looking at the bottom end of the market.


Preferably fuel injection, though I'm not ruling out carbs entirely, I'm just more familiar and better equipped to deal with EFI.

I'd like the handling to at least compare with my Alfa 145, with a bit of work if needed.

I'm not a fan of electric power steering, don't like how it feels. No power steering is fine by me.

Engine wise, I'm not looking for lots of power, revvy and willing fills the "fun" category above. The plan will be to do a complete engine rebuild, this is supposed to be a learning experienc as much as a tuning exercise, something that has easily available parts would be a bonus.

Tuning wise, without getting in to discussion of legalities, modifying a vehicle in France is a very grey area, in that there is simply no provision for it in the legislation. So there won't be any turbos or the like, but I would like to do as much as possible to the engine internally, as already said, this is supposed to be a learning experience, the goal is not to build a fire-breathing, tarmac-ripping monster, but rather to get the best out of the vehicle as it was originally designed.


So, with all this in mind, what should I be looking at? I've been thinking Cinq/Sei, Panda, Lancia Y10, but any particular models or engines? I'm wary of older (pre 90s) cars as I don't currently know how to weld, though it's something I'm going to have to learn. I'd love an Alfa 33, but I think that will be a seperate project.

Any ideas?
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #2
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Re: Want to get a new toy, but not sure what...

hi.
good plan,

anything with the FIRE series engine would be relatively good / easy, etc

are you in a region where it's mainly warm and dry.. so an older car isn't going to be rotten with corrosion ( rain OR sal****er)

the french market for cars is totally different from the UK..

in the UK a tidy car with a blown head gasket is unlikley to go for more than 100

and would be 500 / 1000 running well, and on a long MOT / inspection test certificate.

Bon Chance - Charlie
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #3
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Re: Want to get a new toy, but not sure what...

I'd go for a Fiat Punto Mk 1.

They fit most of your criteria, especially if you can find a 1.2 "75" with a rev-counter and the tricksy 866 cam-shaft.

They're becoming pretty rare... but they're still easy to find parts for, in case your restoration needs some new panels or pieces.

If you can't really "tune" it, I'd instead go for a full-monty, standard spec' restoration, At the moment, nobody wants them; they're all tatty old bangers and most of them need some irrational (cost vs value) level of TLC/dedication to keep them out of the grip of the Grim Reaper.

On the other hand, it is a classic shape, a historically important Fiat model and a load of people "used to have one".... so plenty of chance that any survivors will become low-level valuable again some day. It'd be worth saving one.


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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #4
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Re: Want to get a new toy, but not sure what...

Sounds to me like what you want is a Cinq Sporting, ticks literally every box there.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #5
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Re: Want to get a new toy, but not sure what...

Thanks for the suggestions so far, the Punto is interesting, hadn't thought of that. Cinquecento sporting is pretty much top of my list, but they're rare here, am I right in thinking that the later 1.1 Seicento/600 is the same spec minus the lower springs and close ratio box? I much prefer the shape of the Cinq though.

I'm in the centre of France, so not too bad for rust, though the sun tends to wreck paint after ten to twenty years
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #6
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Re: Want to get a new toy, but not sure what...

If it was me, I lived in France and I had a small budget, I would be looking at the native OEMs. Higher availability usually means parts are cheaper / easier to find.

An AX GT, for example, would tick your boxes better than a Cento or Punto ever would IMO (and I say this as an ex-Cento owner with a lightly breathed on 1108, having Fiats as my daily driver continuously for over 10 years and currently own a car from one of Fiat's joint ventures).


You don't say how big your budget is, if it will stretch to it I would think about a Sevenesque kit car that has been UK registered, that needs a bit of work and import it.

There won't be much this side of a superbike that will be as pure a driving experience as you can get (nor power / tonne). You can have uber simple mechanicals, plenty of space to work on things, the mechanical parts will be cheap.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #7
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Re: Want to get a new toy, but not sure what...

Nope, it has to be Italian. PSA and Renault actually tend to be overpriced, though you're right, there are plenty. Very, very few AX GTs though, same goes for anything else sporty.

The French car market is very different from the UK, well over 50% (I think it has been as high as 80% in some years) will be diesel, of the rest, most will be the smallest petrol engine, which you might not even get in the UK and only a handfull will be the sporty model, with most of those being in Paris.

People tend to keep their cars for longer and cover far higher kilometerage (it's a bigger country), so in general, you get a lot less car for your money than in the UK. That's offset by less rust though.


Import a kit car from the UK? I don't know if anybody has ever succeded, but it's generally considered to be impossible without serious sums of money (IVA to current regs). A classic (30+ years) would be easier (FFVE), but only if the model existed in France.


Besides, I don't want a Pug, Citroen or Renault, that's what everybody else has...


I'll keep my eyes open for a Punto '75', any other suggestions are welcome though.

Budget isn't really fixed, but the lower the better. Anything that is good enough to be roadworthy (valid CT) fetches 1,000, but older petrol cars rarely top 2,000 unless rare. You can easily find a Coupe for less than a Cinq Sport, French car prices are far from logical. I'm ideally looking for something around the 500 mark.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #8
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Quote Originally Posted by Steve145 View Post
Nope, it has to be Italian. PSA and Renault actually tend to be overpriced, though you're right, there are plenty. Very, very few AX GTs though, same goes for anything else sporty.

The French car market is very different from the UK, well over 50% (I think it has been as high as 80% in some years) will be diesel, of the rest, most will be the smallest petrol engine, which you might not even get in the UK and only a handfull will be the sporty model, with most of those being in Paris.

People tend to keep their cars for longer and cover far higher kilometerage (it's a bigger country), so in general, you get a lot less car for your money than in the UK. That's offset by less rust though.


Import a kit car from the UK? I don't know if anybody has ever succeded, but it's generally considered to be impossible without serious sums of money (IVA to current regs). A classic (30+ years) would be easier (FFVE), but only if the model existed in France.


Besides, I don't want a Pug, Citroen or Renault, that's what everybody else has...


I'll keep my eyes open for a Punto '75', any other suggestions are welcome though.

Budget isn't really fixed, but the lower the better. Anything that is good enough to be roadworthy (valid CT) fetches 1,000, but older petrol cars rarely top 2,000 unless rare. You can easily find a Coupe for less than a Cinq Sport, French car prices are far from logical. I'm ideally looking for something around the 500 mark.
Uk registered barchetta...
Should be around 500 to 800 pounds

Lhd as standard..nice punto 1.8
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #9
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Re: Want to get a new toy, but not sure what...

Quote Originally Posted by varesecrazy View Post
Uk registered barchetta...
Should be around 500 to 800 pounds

Lhd as standard..nice punto 1.8
Now that sounds interesting (add a zero here)
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #10
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Re: Want to get a new toy, but not sure what...

Quote Originally Posted by Steve145 View Post
Now that sounds interesting (add a zero here)
I recall a friends sister visiting the UK to buy one , as it was @3k here, and 10k Euro in France ( when it was a current model..)
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #11
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Re: Want to get a new toy, but not sure what...

"B" would be good but price is probably going to be an issue.

I'm reliably informed that a Panda 100HP is a bloody good fun car to drive. Handles well, grips well, smiles abundant etc.

Size, weight etc. fit your requirements.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #12
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Re: Want to get a new toy, but not sure what...

Quote Originally Posted by Steve145 View Post
Now that sounds interesting (add a zero here)
just looked and now it's "summer" they are all @3K...

example-http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1996-FIAT-BARCHETTA-RED-MOT-FEBRUARY-18-NEW-HOOD-LOVELY-CAR-MUST-BE-SEEN-PX-/282488961874?hash=item41c5a77b52:g:8J0AAOSwlY1ZIsC 7

admittedly the 650 one I'd seen over the winter had a leaky hood..

but had proper potential in your circumstances.

Charlie
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Old 1 Week Ago   #13
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Re: Want to get a new toy, but not sure what...

Ever considered a 128?
Lightweight, VERY rev-happy engine, easily and highly tunable engine, no power steering...
Standard handling might not be the best compared to modern Cats, but also this can be improved, andere will resultaat in a very 'lightweight'/nippy feeling handeling.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #14
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Re: Want to get a new toy, but not sure what...

A 127 or 128 would be interesting, or even a 126, it's finding one that isn't too rusty that is problematic.

GF has vetoed the Barchetta for only having two seats, likewise the X1/9.

I'm still very very tempted by an Alfa 33.

I guess it'll depend what becomes available, I'm perfectly prepared to wait until the autumn when prices of 'classic' and 'fun' cars tend to fall a bit.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #15
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Re: Want to get a new toy, but not sure what...

I'm still very very tempted by an Alfa 33.

I was going to suggest...
the car you already have.. - a rare sight in the UK now 145/ 146

how are they..??
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