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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #1
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Fiat 500 buying advice - twinair

Hi all, I'm looking to pick a 500 up as I have to make occasional trips along some country roads here which are tiny and filled with lunatics and grit, while my daily car is huge and expensive. Specifically want a TwinAir model as they're tax free and make a cool sound.

I was looking at Copart salvage auctions as it would be a fun project to fix up one with light damage, but I've started to see the hammer prices drifting up, while prices of repaired (or undamaged) ones for sale are falling - missed out on a REALLY cheap one a few days ago.

Anyway - there's one I'm going to see tomorrow, are there any specific things to look for in terms of engine/gearbox/etc condition that can be detected on a road test? Any common equipment faults other than door handles (seen many threads on that)?

I think this one is probably a Pop model or some other base type as it has the basic dial heater controls (does that mean no aircon?), no sunroof and no radio controls on the steering wheel. It's a category C car, pretty sure it was front end as the bonnet looks to be replaced with a pattern part, I watched a bunch of videos on Youtube of people pulling the front end apart so I have a reasonable idea of what areas to check for being straight.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #2
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Re: Fiat 500 buying advice - twinair

Hi.
Engine and box are generally sound.

Obviously.. not tracking straight. Vibration..knocks.bangs. etc..

just walk away.

Non aircon.. unless it has a switch on dash.

You want 2x keys too..!! BOTH working

Charlie 2012 ta
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #3
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Re: Fiat 500 buying advice - twinair

A lot of the older twinairs were sport type spec without the glass roof. Does it have alloys? Check the straightness of the top chassis rails. Make sure thereís no warning lights on the dash. What makes you think the bonnet is a pattern part?
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #4
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Re: Fiat 500 buying advice - twinair

The alignment - I'm thinking the wings are in the right place and the bonnet/bumper are new given that it has cat C status and the back looks perfect. It has a stripe bonnet and tailgate, black stripe along the bottom of the sills, black roof & bumper trim, black wing mirrors and filler flap. No idea how much of this is wrap but it looks kind of cute like a bee.
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Last edited by system11; 3 Weeks Ago at 01:40.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #5
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Re: Fiat 500 buying advice - twinair

I covered 46,000 trouble-free miles with my TA engine, but they do rely on the correct oil being used, and changed every 10,000 miles max. See what service history it has.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #6
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Re: Fiat 500 buying advice - twinair

The rotary dial can still be air-con. There should be a "climate" button nearby.

The "automatic" clmate dibber-dobber is merely automatic, rather than being what air-con looks like.

In early cars the checked seat and glass roof makes it a lounge, the grey and black seats (black ambience) makes it a Sport and the blue or red seats makes it a Pop. Pop may or may not have further accessories that make it look more like a Lounge.. (particularly the alloys) but unilkely that anyone would change the interior, so it's the easiest way to tell.

I can't remember if a/c was standard on Lounge ... but I think so.

Ralf S.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #7
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Re: Fiat 500 buying advice - twinair

The Lounge and Sport have manual a/c as standard. The a/c switch is incorporated in the fan speed knob - you press it to turn the a/c on and off, and an indicator in the middle of the knob illuminates to show that it's on.

The Lounge has a glass roof as standard, the Sport has front foglamps.
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Last edited by TrevC; 3 Weeks Ago at 17:41. Reason: Extra info added
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #8
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Re: Fiat 500 buying advice - twinair

I think the bonnet hinges were bent and have not been replaced and/or a new front panel has been fitted and is not quite high enough hence the larger than normal gap between bonnet and bumper. The lines are really difficult to get perfect between bumper and wings. Invariably wings may have gone very very slightly bent which means itís never gonna line up perfect. I rarely get them 100% perfect but thatís one of the reasons you are paying less than book for a written off car.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #9
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Re: Fiat 500 buying advice - twinair

Well - I went to see it, you could tell it had been sitting six months, ice on the inside of the windows, gear selector boot ring cracked and falling inside the selector, crack on the front bumper which definitely wasn't in the photos. Not sure if normal but regular knocking at idle, revved nicely though on a test drive and it was fun to drive aside from it wanting to pull really hard to the left from time to time, steering wheel off centre, lots of black overspray from where cars have been painted near it since it was done, one of the metal pipes near the front driver wing was crushed and hadn't been replaced, one of the clips in that wing also missing hence part of the alignment problem, and yes the bonnet hinges are shot. Stripes are a "masking tape" paint job. Windscreen wipers refused to turn off at one point. Shame really but it had too many problems for me to trust that there aren't many more issues lurking, and I found rust staining the paint here and there.


So I went and did something really stupid and won this 2014 Lounge on Copart while stopped at a garage on the way home. After the fees I will have paid too much, looks like the slam panel is toast, at least one but probably both of the radiators and good chance the fan behind with them, headlamps potentially can be staple fixed (mountings snapped), one wing will probably pop out but the other will need some fill or replacement along with the bonnet, hinges and bumper. It apparently does start and drive though.


It's a cat N rather than S so I'm hoping the parts the slam panel are bolted to are straight, looks like it was a very straight hit into the back of an open backed transit or similar, airbags didn't deploy.


When I've got it and start the work I'll try to post a thread with lots of pictures of the journey. It's been about 20 years since I seriously worked on a car, all I can really do is get it, and start taking stuff off until I'm left with things that aren't damaged. At least removing the bumper is going to be really easy since so little of it remains.
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Last edited by system11; 3 Weeks Ago at 03:48.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #10
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Re: Fiat 500 buying advice - twinair

Hello and welcome to the forum .

IMO you dodged a bullet with the yellow one and made a good decision to walk away.

What you've bought looks to me like it should be a straightforward repair. @typecastboy has taken on a number of similar projects, and will no doubt be along soon to point you in the direction of how best to source the parts you'll need.

I'm wondering now if the two of you were bidding against each other for this one .
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Last edited by jrkitching; 3 Weeks Ago at 05:00.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #11
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Re: Fiat 500 buying advice - twinair

Yes, the yellow one sounded really bad. At least with this one you are able to assess the damage at first hand.
In my earlier post I said I had zero problems with my TA engine, but had forgotten the tiny coolant leak that developed after about 3 years. There have been a couple of other reports of this, so worth checking. If you look at the coolant tank, visible in your photo, the spigot where the return pipe from the turbo enters the tank at the front (also visible in the photo) can develop a tiny crack - mine was invisible. Look for any evidence of coolant leak around the pipe clip, if there is it's best to fit a new tank.
Good luck and keep us posted with progress.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #12
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Re: Fiat 500 buying advice - twinair

The car you've now got looks decent. Seems damage caused 18th January (when untaxed), 4 days after it passed MOT and had 2 rear tyres (judging by DVLA search done). Hope everything goes okay.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #13
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Re: Fiat 500 buying advice - twinair

Yeah at least it wasn't a car with loads of faults getting crashed 2 weeks before the MOT and left sitting in a salvage yard for months. Trying to get quotes for delivery and so far they're only coming in £1 less than just getting Copart to deliver.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #14
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Quote Originally Posted by system11 View Post
Yeah..
Trying to get quotes for delivery and so far they're only coming in £1 less than just getting Copart to deliver.
From where to where.. may be worth seeking out bodyshops at one end of journey.. to combine 2 loaded trips.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #15
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Re: Fiat 500 buying advice - twinair

Copart Newbury to Cambridge - bit of a hike. I'm more concerned with people someone trustworhy really than the cost if it's within ~20%
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