Tuning Built vs Bought Cinquecento track day project

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Tuning Built vs Bought Cinquecento track day project

Liquid Knight II

Established member
Sep 6, 2017
Last year I did a kind of "Cheap Car Challenge" as part of the charity track day club my friend Frank Hall organised.


I took my £230 eBay Bravo HLX and with some Toyo T1R tyres, brake pads and Coupe Bangle Grinder wheels I posted a time of 1:41.3


Had an Abarth in June setting a 1:34.1


Went a bit bonkers in September and got my best lap time down from 1:41.3 to 1:24.8


That's enough about that. If you would like to know more my HLX thread is in the Bravo section of the forum.

Instead of a cheap car challenge I'm doing a "Built vs Bought" instead. Even though at £250 my Fiat Cinquecento Sporting is a bit of a bargain. This is the build car the bought will be along sometime soon-ish and is destined to be a worthy successor to my mighty Bravo.

Why so cheap?

Well she had a sticky brake issue. At first I thought it was the piston getting stuck, but it looks almost brand new. Then I thought it could be the line or knackered master cylinder.

I took the pads out and pressed the pedal to get the piston out as far as possible to inspect the sides and sure enough it was brand new but would not under any method go back.

My only resort was to crack the bleed nipple and push the piston back into the caliper allowing the fluid to flow out that way.

All of a sudden a blob of white stuff (probably grease from where the new piston had been fitted) pustulated out of the nipple like one of those whitehead popping YouTube clips. It gathered into a clump in the bleed line and the piston was slow to retract. I blew the bleed line gear of the obstruction, reassembled the brakes and they now work perfectly.

The grease floating around inside the caliper must have been acting like a one way valve and it was a fluke I cleared it. ;)





Plans are t-jet or N/A 1368cc 16V conversion, brakes, suspension, lightening and all within half the book price of the "Bought" car.

But that's a long way off as yet due to the Winter Equinox celebrations and other stuff and indeed things that are bound to get in the way. :devil:
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Are these 1.4's that cheap in UK. the're still 600-800 euro here.
But would make it a very fast car. although my 1.2 could keep up with a street 1.4:D But a cinq on good suspension and semi slicks overtakes everything on the outside line:slayer::slayer:
I've been offered a Fiat Idea 1.4 16V for £60 so pretty cheap. :)

Cinquecento day II

The alternator wasn't giving enough voltage to the battery...


...before taking the new looking alternator off I rounded up the usual suspects. Cleaning terminals, the earth strap and making sure the plug to back of the alternator was clean.


That didn't work so it was time to dig around in my shed for the alternator from the Guff Cinquecento.

Now like most modern cars the Cinquecento's engine and ancillaries are pre-assembled and fitted in one. So to get to the alternator adjuster and mounting bolt you need to remove the battery (and put it on charge)...


...the drivers side front wheel, inner wheel arch liner...


...support the front of the car at the rear of the front subframe so you can use the jack to lower the engine enough to remove the mount...


...you will need a 17mm for the big nut, 16mm for the bolt and 13mm for the small nut, then 16mm again to remove the alternator itself.


Someone had fitted the wrong one. This "V" belt pulley alternator is from a Panda or Cinquecento 900 not the 1108cc Sporting.

Once the Guff alternator was fitted and the car put back together...


...she's making a healthy and consistent 14.2V with the headlights, interior fan (on full) and stereo on (Classic FM).

Today I finally had chance to give the Cinquecento a wash and proper introduction.


At under 59,000 miles and extensive history file she's on the edge of the classic market but with twelve previous owners (making me lucky thirteen I guess) and no sunroof she's a prime candidate for modifications. ;)





The condition of the seats would suggest the mileage is a little off, typical 90's Fiat with lacquer peel and several shades of Broom Yellow. Also one of the previous owners either had very small feet or a big sense of humor. :silly:

As I was at work and had very little to do I went photoshopping. ;)


Don't worry even though the suggestion has been made this will not be "Guff III". Maybe.

Here's a throwback to my £999 Challenge BMW and MGB race car...


...and as the Bravo looked good (in my opinion) in Abarth colours...

Not exactly track essential but with the reflectors in the headlights being pants I'm being healthy and safe. ;)



Both reflector holders are brittle and only being held on by one or two of the lugs so new headlights are on my list. Even if I have to buy left hand drive ones and swap lenses over.
Hey man. Nice project. Not too many smart cinqs about now. Someone else raised this recently - Are the headlight reflectors the same on left hand drive units?

Should look really good with red bumpers!
Someone else raised this recently - Are the headlight reflectors the same on left hand drive units?

The reflector bowels are the same but the bulb holder would be at a different angle. I found this out when I replaced the lenses on a brand new pair of left hand drive Panda headlights. I heated off the right hand drive lenses and stuck them to the left hand drive units. I didn't realise until after they were fitted that the bulb was at the wrong angle. Took them off again, edited the holders with a grinder to mimic the position on the UK units and they were perfect.

I'll do a "how to" if I get chance. I have found some new passenger side units but no drivers side ones as yet.
More healthy and safe things today. :devil:



Yellow higher rated bulbs. The other higher rated H4's I have seen are nearly always blue. If my local MOT guy sees blue bulbs inside the lens it's an instant fail. I'll be running without the rubber seals on the back for a few days to clear the condensation out of them. :)

I do not like LED bulbs where they can be seen. People who put LED side light, number plate light, indicator bulbs or after market DRL's on older cars because they look cool are the fidget spinner in a vape cloud of the automotive world.

With that in mind my Cinquecento is a tad on the quiet side (at the moment) so a reverse beeper bulb and modern standard tail light, brake light and fog light bulbs are a good idea. We already know the Womlings are out there.

I've taken the reverse beeping bulb and Cre LED fog light bulb from my Bravo and...


https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/2x-P21-5...67[url] ...a pair of these are on their way.
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Woo I’m part off the fridget spinner and vape crowd [emoji23] I put LEDs in everything but it’s not because I think they look “cool” the yellow tinge from halgeon bulbs does my tits in
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Headlight breakdown and (possible) restoration.


Take a heat gun round the edge of the glass lens until it is malleable enough to remove.


Break the little clips inside the unit holding the reflector in place.


It's the only way but they do leave little studs behind to glue the lens back in later.


If you're single or want to be. remember the lenses are dish washer safe. ;)
So the plan was to visit my vinyl cutting guys and get some high temperature chrome stuff cut to these templates.



The high temperature stuff is too thick to bend and the thinner stuff would melt due to the heat of the bulbs. VHT chrome paint isn't all that and good chrome paint can't handle the heat from the bulbs either.



...exhaust repair tape? :idea:


Not ideal but a lot better than it was I guess.
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Now I know some of you are into this sort of thing so before you reassemble the headlight...




...you can put as many LED side lights, auxiliary indicators or even DRL's in as you want.

Make sure they don't get in the way of the main headlight beams and are "E" marked for the MOT.

Confession time. I haven't stuck the lens back to the light unit. To be honest the tape looks crap. Crap is marginally better than terrible and if it were closer and I was desperate I would consider the tape fix for MOT purposes only. The reflector bowels are chrome and copper coated steel so could be re-coated but that would be more expensive and faff than getting a pair of left hand drive lights from my family in Italy and swapping lenses. That's the plan for later. :)

P.S for a laugh I went to my local Fiat/Alfa/Renault/Dacia/Crysler/JEEP dealer and they only do one headlight because Fiat stopped making them.

£125+ VAT

Yep £20-ish from eBay thanks. ;)
Depends on the track and if you want to drive there and back. ;)

I have a pair of dive shafts in my shed I think. If you still need them.