Why do you drive a Fiat?

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Why do you drive a Fiat?

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I thought this would be an interesting one for anybody who regularly comes on the forum and owns a Fiat model of any age / category…. Most of the folks on here could probably (within reason) be driving anything they want. Which makes me even more curious as to why you bought a Fiat personally.

Sadly I don’t currently own one anymore - that might change soon… fingers crossed. Looking forward to some inspiration!
 
Dont own one.... are you quite mad?

I bought an Uno many years back for my sister in law, she had it a day and ran into a double decker bus. How did that happen we asked. Oh I didn't see it she replied. We bought is for my wife when it had been around for about 5 years. I had been maintaining it to a gret extent. We had it for five years and sold it to another sister in law who ran it for another 5 years and it still looked tidy even then, but the head gasket went and so did it. We all liked that car a 45s, and it left a good impression. There were about 6 Unos in family hands at the time and they were all great and all reliable. My next Fiat was the Panda 100HP and I was struck by its smart looks and smitten by the drive. It was totally reliable for 100K and my wife took it over when I bought the Bravo for work. THat was a no brainer as I havd a virtually new car for £6000 less than I would have had to pay for anAstra or Focus and the equipment was better. That car was totally reliable for 108K but the gearbox bearings started to ake a noise so it was swapped for a Panda 4x4. I wanted a small cheap car for retirement and always fancied a Panda 4x4. I paid £10K which was what 18 month 20K miles ones were selling for and this was new and with some extras. As with all the other Fiats it grew on me more and more and when money arrived, I decided to get a factory order with all tehtoys I wanted, and the Waze popped up with a great deal on the 90HP model. The absence of fake leather seats was a plus as I didnt want to have splitting side bolsters, so Noop was commissioned. Again I find the more I drive it the more I like it so the Bravo was replaced with the 1.2 loung in Bishop style purple which does look very smart. Daffo was added to replace the daughters Micra, and she loves it too.r So the reason we have Fiats is they have been cheap to buy, and they have proved to be exceptionally reliable in all cases. No on road breakdowns in 400K. SOme parts are a bit fragile and I seem to need to tinker to keep them in top fettle but when you add the smiles per mile they have been winners. The Bravo was a truly astonishing car it could cruise at 100mph or cruise at 100mpg and that is a very rare beast indeed. Just 105 hp but 233il/ft of torque which proved torque is the important factor on a relaxing drive, not hp. Why the Bravo had such a poor reception in the press escpaed me. Thanks to the tax man and my work milage that car cost me nothing so five years free motoring. Quite possibly the best all rounder of all the 90 odd cars I have had, and certainly way the most reliable. If I have to have an electric car the new 600 is at least something I could look at and not feel bad every time I saw it. Anything designed to be range economical will get a look by if its smart interesting and cheap it will be getting consideration. I hope that teh Pandas will be usable for another 10 years yet.
 
I started in the trade, before I could legally drive, at a Fiat/Lancia dealers…we had lots of makes come in and out as part exchange, so I got to try lots of cars. My dad had a Citroen Palais, at the time, which was a great car, but overly complex so…I bought a 127 903 Special and apart from disastrous tangents with a fiesta and an astra van, I’ve had fiats and a Lancia ever since, especially after working at multiple other marque dealers and seeing first hand that cars are pretty much a muchness for reliability, but miles apart on smiles!
I have also had various pickups, L200 and Navara, and a niva and Jeep, but alongside fiats.
 
Working in a large Rover dealership, we had a wide variety of incoming part exchanges. My role for a time was to test drive every incoming car, as part of its assessment for retail or not. I could sometimes drive over 20 vehicles a day. One memorable moment was stepping out of a Jag XJS, into a Fiat 126. The 126 was more enjoyable. I always enjoyed the Fiats, and the occasional Alfa and Lancia.
Soon after I moved to Oxfordshire, my car needed replacing, and within my budget I found a 131, 1600 ohv auto. Had that for 4 years, taking the mileage from 22k to 101k. By then I was smitten.

Technically, it is just a combination of metal, plastic and other bits, but Fiat seem to include emotion as a basic ingredient. Even if you get a bad one, it'll still grip you, and you'll miss it when it's gone. The replacement for the 131 was an Argenta. Not very reliable, difficult to work on at times, and grew rusty holes very quickly. Still miss it.

Then came the classic Pandas, a 750 for two years and 45k miles, replaced with a 1000 CLX, fuel injected, 5 gears, absolute luxury. Four years and 88k miles, just on regular maintenance. Then a rush of blood to the wallet, a brand new Seicento Suite. (1.1 engine, aircon) 3.5 years, 85k miles, poor thing. Followed by a Punto Mk2 CVT auto. Super car, had to go after only 9 months when I got the first BSM Corsa.

With BSM, two 500s 2009-10. They stood up to the learners better than the Corsas, and reignited my love of the Fiats. Missed the rear doors and rear headrests, which triggered the purchase of the Panda, in early 2010. We're still together, and I'm off out in it in a few minutes. It still makes me smile after 13 years, and I still prefer it to the newer and much more capable Fabia. It promises adequacy, then seriously overdelivers. Most other cars promise more than they give.
The Doblo should really replace the Panda, but for now, I'll keep both. I'm already becoming attached to the Doblo. The Fabia is a very capable work car. It does its job very well, but I've no emotional attachment.
 
I seem to have had "encounters" with Fiats all my life. Early on, back in the 60s/70s it was with stuff like the old 500. My wife's friend bought one and the two of them traveled every day from Blackwater, near Camberley, up to Heathrow - where they both worked for B.O.A.C. and then back again at night. Not really the sort of car you'd tend to choose for a daily journey like this? However it proved pretty reliable although it did seem to have a predeliction for chewing up the driveshaft splines! Later a very good friend had a 131 Mirafiore which, as he was a planning officer with little mechanical experise, I used to end up "fixing" for him whenever it needed anything other than a simple service - which he sent it to his garage for. I found it a very easy car to work on, an Italian Cortina if you like? The first car I ever did a cam belt on was a 128 and various friends have run old rusty FIATs over the years which I have helped, from time to time, to keep running when the garage costs would have condemned them to the great scrapyard in the sky.

Then my daughter started at Uni, It was a local establishment - Heriot Watt - so it was economically convenient for her to attend daily and continue to live at home with us. Public transport here in Edinburgh is excellent but the practicality of it is that it takes much longer than the car journey so she got her driving license and the hunt was on for a car for her. I researched which cars were the cheapest to insure and the Panda is one of them so when a wee Mk1 750 Panda turned up at a local dealer we snapped it up right away. That car had a FIRE engine but with carb and points type ignition. When my younger boy started to drive and needed a car to get to technical college, a very "trendy" special edition Panda Parade (FIAT are good at doing "Special Editions" I've since discovered and seem to produce them all the time!) was for private sale locally and had been in the paper for a while. He's quite an "artistic" sort of lad - now has his own sign making business specializing in vehicle signage and shop frontages all of which he designs himself - so the Metallic Purple Panda Parade with it's twin sunroofs but still cheap insurance immediately took his fancy and got him mobile to attend college courses in sign making - This one had the 999cc FIRE engine with single point injection Phwar! Truth be told he'd have liked a "Fast Ford", but that was never going to happen. Then Daughter graduated and moved down south for her first job. She set off in the Panda, loaded to the roof with all her stuff but only got as far as Carlisle before the head gasket blew and she completely cooked the engine. Perished heater hose, which I'd missed, just couldn't take the strain of a long journey. She and the car were trailered back here but the engine was toast and the body wasn't good enough to warrant an engine change. So, another 999cc Panda was procured which she ran about in for a while. Then she got married and bought a Suzuki Swift from the Edinburgh Suzuki dealer who gave her a much better deal than their local dealer down south. Guess who had to collect the new car and drive it down to them in Salisbury? Yup, you guessed right. I was very impressed with the Swift which was "boringly" reliable until, many years later, it all seemed to go wrong at once - Chassis rust, Radiator leaking, and a number of other less serious problems all arriving at once which forced it's demise.

Youngest boy passed out of college and was making enough money to buy his Ford - not an especially "fast" one but with, in his eyes, much more "street cred" - but the dealer offered "silly money" for the Panda Parade (the one in my avatar picture) so we bought it from him for a more realistic sum and started using it as our "town run around". At that time, having had 3 children, I'd been running larger cars - Austin Ambassador, Renault 20, etc - and we quickly realized how very convenient a smaller car is around a big city like Edinburgh so we kept "Felicity" for about 20 years! Eventually she had to go because there just wasn't enough original metal left to weld new bits into! and we replaced her with Becky, our 2010 Panda Dynamic ECO which we bought around 2016. One year later my oldest boy, who's first car was an Allegro! (but, in my defence, I worked for a BL dealer at the time) needed a wee runabout to get to his work as his wife needed their daily driver - KIA Rio - to make the long round trip journey to her work and I noticed a 1.4 Punto was for sale at one of the local garages Evans Halshaw. He asked me to go and look at it and get back to him. The car looked good and drove well, in the leisurely way that 1.4 Puntos do - don't expect wheel smoking performance from one of these folks - and, after a bit of haggling, which they later partially clawed back in "administration fees", you can't win can you? he bought it. It was very pleasing to see, when he brought it down to me a week or so later for a thorough going over, that it seemed to have been prepared for sale with some care. It had new front discs and pads, all the filters looked new, although I later discovered when I serviced it that the cabin filter was probably the original and horrible - mind you, it's a wee sod to change so I'm not particularly surprised no one had done it. This car too has been very reliable although in the last 6 months or so it's had a parasitic battery drain going on which I'm 90% sure is the Blue and me problem as the mileage indicator is flashing. It's not an issue as long as the car is driven regularly so, as he uses it for work and it gets a half hour drive each way which keeps the battery charged so it's not a big problem. But if he goes away on holiday or doesn't drive it for more than about 5 days, the battery goes flat enough that it won't start the engine. We've been thinking about sending the unit away for repair but his wife now works permanently from home so doesn't need the KIA for work and it's now some 6 years old and a diesel so not so good for city driving (DPF etc) so he's thinking of chopping both cars in against a new petrol, or maybe hybrid, one.

So, since the early 1980s we've had a Panda or two, in the family continuously. They have proved depressingly reliable, economic with fuel, cheap to insure and tax - Our present Dynamic ECO is only £30 for a year. Also very easy to work on and spares are readily available and cheap compared with most others. The older ones were poor for rust but that doesn't seem to be an issue with the later ones. In fact I'd say that the condition of Becky's nether regions are better than a lot I've seen recently. The old saying that FIAT stands for "Fix It Again Tony" is quite simply not true and I suspect, as I'm approaching my 77th birthday, that we'll have a FIAT in the family fleet until I can't drive any more. As many who've read my other posts will know I've been having ongoing problems with my Ibiza for a while now and I'm seriously thinking of calling it a day with it and getting something else. A Tipo with the 1.4 Tjet engine, probably the estate, greatly appeals but is probably a bigger vehicle than I now need. On the other hand, we've had a number of VAG vehicles, mostly SEAT and especially SKODA in the family over the years and they've been very good and reliable so I think I've just been unlucky with this Ibiza. Have to say a Scala 1.0 with the 110hp engine and 6 speed box appeals too.

EDIT, We took the Panda out to North Berwick for Mrs J's birthday treat a couple of months ago instead of the Ibiza and, like you PB, it brought a massive smile to my face. We just "bumbled" along at rarely over 50mph on the country roads but oh man, was it good fun and when we got there we got parked, right on the very busy sea front, in a very small space between two leviathan SUVs which no one else could park in because their cars were too big!
 
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If we’re talking what cars I’ve had, Fiat wise it’s been, roughly
127, 850 coupe that never got back on the road, 128 1100, 128 3p, 128 coupe, strada Mk1, 131 1.6 special, 131 Supermirafiori, Panda 903 X2, Panda twin sunroof fire, Panda Mk1 revised 4x4 six of at least! Uno 1/1.1/1.3 of both marks, 903 Amigo, Regatta (regrettable), Punto Mk1 1100 (I wasn’t expecting much from it, it was a cheap trade in, but it was actually pretty damned good), Punto MK2 sporting, Cinq sporting, Panda MK2 climbing and cross, Panda MK3 twinair cross and Lancia beta coupe, Prisma Symbol and a Delta…I’ve also had a lot of cars, just for a few months at a time, whilst in the trade, and I mean lots. I would pick up cars that I’d run till the tax ran out!
The 128’s are still one of my all time favourite cars, (even though I seem to have a panda 4x4 fetish), I used to scare much more powerful, supposedly better, cars with cornering
Of the none fiats, the Niva and Jeeps have been my favourites. The fiesta lasted just two weeks, if that, as it would break down or just not start in the wet, in the cold, the heat or a hot engine, some were carb issues, some were electrical. The Astra estate van would go through oil like nordstream, not with clouds of smoke or leaks, it just used to consume a lot, the build quality was atrocious and the dash did what it wanted. Wehn investigating the tank sender we found the float arm was arcing out, huge great spark!
 
If we’re talking what cars I’ve had, Fiat wise it’s been, roughly
127, 850 coupe that never got back on the road, 128 1100, 128 3p, 128 coupe, strada Mk1, 131 1.6 special, 131 Supermirafiori, Panda 903 X2, Panda twin sunroof fire, Panda Mk1 revised 4x4 six of at least! Uno 1/1.1/1.3 of both marks, 903 Amigo, Regatta (regrettable), Punto Mk1 1100 (I wasn’t expecting much from it, it was a cheap trade in, but it was actually pretty damned good), Punto MK2 sporting, Cinq sporting, Panda MK2 climbing and cross, Panda MK3 twinair cross and Lancia beta coupe, Prisma Symbol and a Delta…I’ve also had a lot of cars, just for a few months at a time, whilst in the trade, and I mean lots. I would pick up cars that I’d run till the tax ran out!
The 128’s are still one of my all time favourite cars, (even though I seem to have a panda 4x4 fetish), I used to scare much more powerful, supposedly better, cars with cornering
Of the none fiats, the Niva and Jeeps have been my favourites. The fiesta lasted just two weeks, if that, as it would break down or just not start in the wet, in the cold, the heat or a hot engine, some were carb issues, some were electrical. The Astra estate van would go through oil like nordstream, not with clouds of smoke or leaks, it just used to consume a lot, the build quality was atrocious and the dash did what it wanted. Wehn investigating the tank sender we found the float arm was arcing out, huge great spark!
Being a bit of a series Landy fan I always have had a perverse attraction to Nivas even though I've never even sat in one.
 
Being a bit of a series Landy fan I always have had a perverse attraction to Nivas even though I've never even sat in one.
Great off road, and very competent on, if a little slow…very plasticky and always got a shock getting out of it, but it’s a ronseal car, does exactly what it says on the tin.
Had a drive in a much newer GM engined one, they’d spoiled it!
 
Being a bit of a series Landy fan I always have had a perverse attraction to Nivas even though I've never even sat in one.
Mm. I wouldnt. They are competent but Brio is something rissians dont understand. There was someone importing new ones recently. You couldnt fault value but I seriously wonder about spares.
 
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