Tuning Month to madness

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Tuning Month to madness

This is bad.

I finally have the car on ramps to fit the old springs and spare one I found in my shed. To stop the bloody thing grounding out while I waited for new springs and shocks.

The bump stop on the divers side had pushed through the spring mount of the wishbone. The inner sill on the passenger side is filler, driver side inner sill is rust, the floor has rust where all the seat belt mounts are bolted through and best of all the fuel tank is split along the join on the passenger side.

Just as well I took the previous owners advice and didn't put more the £10 in there and also lucky none of the times I ground out made enough sparks to blow me up. :bang:

Okay a fuel cell I don't have the budget for and more welding than I have time for. :(

I'll get the front suspension done and see if it's as bad as I fear.

This is what was left of the bump stop on the drivers side.


Note the lack of top collar for me to fit my spring to.


Lucky I have a shed full of crap eh?

Not so lucky was the passenger side. See if you can spot the two things wrong with this picture.


That's right the top bolt didn't have any washers and the bottom bolt?


Was cheap galvanised M10 from a hobby shop. :bang:

If that bolt has sheered whilst driving and with no suspension to absorb any issues like that the car would have pulled to the left so violently it would have rolled if I were going more than 20mph.

Again lucky I shed full of crap. It took a minute to find the right bolt and washers.


There was even less of the passenger side bump stop left.

Right I'm off to buy a lotto ticket. I think making it home in one piece was about as lucky as I could be.
He was moaning about the turbo on the Punto not boosting. I sent the photo's along with a suggestion whoever did it should be arrested for Attempted Murder and not heard a thing since.

At least the last owner didn't run a polishing mop over the car and say it's "fully restored" like a Wheeler Dealer or fit fourteen inch spacers and say it's a wide track race car like Bernie and Leepu.

I'm 50/50 to bother going on or move it on. The rust was advisory on the MOT certificate so I can't blame the last owner for that.

The roll cage kit arrived yesterday. Four meters of pipe and some base plates. ;)
I do a thing on my Facebook page called "Driveway CSI"

Any repairs or work I do I share with my fellow mechanically minded friends.

For today's Driveway CSI I tried a different format.


Cause - Reusing a rusty jubilee clip when the radiator was replaced six months ago.

Effect - Snapped the bleed pipe.

Bodge - Super glued back on.

Repair - Replace radiator and all new jubilee clips...


...I even made sure the fan wasn't rubbing the new one.

Bodges are the Cancer of the car world. :rolleyes:
So has this Cinquecento been like a Mini?

In many ways yes and once the rose tinted glasses were ripped off and smashed to pieces I remembered how much of a pain in the arse the Mini was as well.

You know those "Issigonis moments" that were like Yin and Yang?

Go-karting round a corner in a way that defied the Laws of Physics let alone the Road Traffic Act thinking to yourself "Issigonis was a genius". Trying to do a simple job but the bonnet never opened enough and the there were a dozen things in the way that in a normal car wouldn't be and you catch yourself thinking "Issigonis was a pillock" (or worse). :hehe:

The challenge was always half the fun really. I still have a tool I had to make to get the air filter funnel off the back of the SU carb' to fit a pancake filter. Taking the carb' off was an extra three hours work and needed a gasket you never happened to have to hand (not that you could get to the bottom nuts anyway because the funnel was in the way).

A lot of the jobs I had to do on the Cinquecento were very similar to my Mini memories. Fitting rear suspension and noticing the rear subframe was a cosmetic item rather than structural.

Discovering "advisory" items on the MOT would have been failures if the tester hadn't given his guide dog the day off.

Bodges that would be considered Attempted Murder if they were done with any kind of malicious intent.

So yeah; in many ways this Cinquecento has reminded me of my old Minis.

Here's one of my old Minis "Emily" front and center of my memory board.


It hasn't been updated since I went digital and share my thoughts and memories on the internet instead.

Let's quantify this...

Better than a Mini...

1/ Load space, proper hatch back with folding seats and all the stuff you would expect from a little Fiat. Swiss Army knives on wheels.

2/ The bonnet opens enough for me to work on/around/near the engine without needing stitches in the back of my head.

3/ I can sit in the front and fit a real life human being in the back. At six foot two that was impossible in my Minis. :D

4/ Consumable parts are plentiful, cheap and available in more places.

5/ Five speed gearbox as standard so 70mph doesn't give you a nose bleed.

As good as the Mini...

1/ Handling. Arguably but the Cinquecento is fun and can deal with the Minis arch nemesis Pot Holes!

2/ The little 899cc push rod engine is sprite of a thing for what it is.

3/ Tuning. Okay the 899 isn't going to give you whiplash but a good starting point to teach the basics. 1108cc or 1242cc FIRE, 1368cc SuperFIRE and 150 t-jet options are easily as good as binning the 850 for a 998, 1098, 1275, 1330, 1380, 1430 and Metro Turbo conversions within the family tree.

4/ Rust. Yep they both rust as good as each other. ;)

5/ Economy, classic insurance more mpg than mph.

Not as good as the Mini...

1/ Body panels. Okay the simple stuff; wings, outer sills and other bits are available but you can still get every single panel for a Mini.

2/ Cult following. Nowhere near as popular as the Mini. I've never seen "Cinquecento Magazine" or "Cinque-World" in WH Smiths but still a very friendly, warm and knowledgeable bunch.

3/ While the Cinquecento uses materials more efficiently than Issigonis could when Steel was rationed the Mini will always be regarded as a timeless classic the Fiat is boxy in a very 90's way.

4/ Wheels tyres. The 145-70-13 tyres are a tragedy and a compromise too far. Easily remedied with a set of Sporting alloys or Fiorino Steel wheels with 175-60-13's.

5/ Bodges. I have seen some poor repairs on the fifteen Minis I have owned over the years but none of them have been life threatening. Minis have always attracted a more discerning customer so you have never been able to get away with what you find at the lower end of the market where the Cinquecento is right now. Soon to go up in value as neglected cars are being scrapped and decent ones are in classic/retro territory.

I have endured and enjoyed my sixth Cinquecento as much as my fifteen Minis in many ways. It saddens me that the floor isn't good enough to finish the project and the car won't be auctioned off for charity as planned but on of my rules in these situations...

Never try to sell something you are not willing to buy.

...so she's off to a mate who has bigger and better plans. Just like my Mini Clubman I sold so instead of being another Metro powered 1275GT replica she ended up being one of the first in the UK to have a Honda V-Tec conversion. The Cinquecento is off up North to get the 899 engine replaced by a 240bhp VW 1.8 20V Turbo from a rear ended Golf.

A friend of mine has a 1976 Mini Clubman Estate, and she took me for a brief ride in it 1 day last year: my god, what a shock to the system. After a year and a half (at the time) driving a plush, solid, top spec Punto, it was rather odd going in a rather loud, vibrating classic Mini, lol! I do like classic Minis, but I wouldn't fancy driving 1!
Liquid Knight: you mentioned a list of midget cars at the start of the thread. May I suggest another: the much overlooked Daewoo Matiz. Cheap as chips, a very willing 796cc engine, good fun to buzz around in, and it was originally designed by Giugiaro for... Fiat!! ;)
epic post mr knight.. shame its a bit far gone for your purposes as i was enjoying the updates so far.. tell your mate to get a thread started on it ;)

Onwards and upwards, I'm sure there will be another little fix'er'upper for me to follow soon lol..

He's already a member here. ;)

Oh, the trick with the Mini SU carb' removal. Move the carb' back as you loosen the nuts but the one on the bottom left (if you're right handed and vice versa) will fall off and land in the middle of the LCB manifold. I have a nice scar on my arm from trying to get the nut back. :bang:
I had a british racing green mini mayfair once, 2nd car. I was totally clueless back then though and got daddy to fix it usually. Did help a mate rebuild a 1275GT but i never really got that hands on. But I do love minis - shame they got so expensive really as that was half the attraction originally, cheap fun motoring, one reason I got into Fiats actually.
Wish I could have been there to witness the sales pitch to your mate. "I want to put a 240hp engine in a small car" and you convincing him a rotten Cinq was "a luverly little runner guv just what you are looking for" I do hope you had yer Arfur Daley sheepskin on at the time lol. Pity it's terminal - cut a great thread short - tuff luck mate.
Wish I could have been there to witness the sales pitch to your mate.

It went like this.

"Fancy a cheap Cinquecento?"

"How cheap?"

"It owes me £500 so £200?"



I later told him why it was so cheap but as he's going to have to take grinder to it he's not that worried. The engine may end up in the back yet. ;)