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mattmacklind
mattmacklind SuperDork
7/2/09 7:17 p.m.

Wow, I love this Fiat driven angst. I'm not a Fiat guy, never had one, probably never will but the recent merger makes it more likely. I like Fiats, don't get me wrong.

I will say, however, that Classic Motorsport is a great magazine, and while being a great magazine, isn't the only magazine. I know the X1/9 has been addressed in other vintage/classic car magazines in recent history.

Read them all and enjoy. I take what I can get when I can get it. I hardly expect one magazine to cater to my automotive predilections so completely that I am ever totally satisfied because I am a sick and twisted car person. Any magazine that did would likely not stay in publication very long.

I'm really only piping in again because I've had a long freaking week. No offense to anyone, I'm just saying.

GSCReno
GSCReno New Reader
7/2/09 8:05 p.m.

Thanks for all of the response to my question, guys. I might have to seek out one of these little beasties to test drive. Although I'm tall and have big 'ol feets, I still weigh in at around 200lbs. I manage to keep my "youthful figure" by spending all my lunch money on cars. I managed to fold myself into a Europa once... It literally took 2 other guys pulling on me to extricate me. That said, go easy on Doug, guys. Ya gotta admit, he certainly has shaken things up around here and prompted more folks to participate in the forums. Cheers, Scott

Dpvog
Dpvog New Reader
7/2/09 8:16 p.m.

In reply to mattmacklind: Fair enough, but keep in mind Matt, that your tastes seem to run towards an MGB, and you therefore have very little to complain about regarding coverage GRMS or CMS. They do a fantastic and through job covering your marque; perhaps the best ever done by any US magazine. If you were a Fiat enthusiast however, you would find that you might be feeling somewhat left out of the party. Many folks have been waiting a very long time to see a Fiat X1/9 project car, and that is what all the fuss is about. Back when I first subscribed in 2002, I ordered every back issue I could with Fiat coverage. That is really the point; we (FIAT folks) all enjoy both GRMS and CMS enough to want to see Fiats reflected in their pages, and when the coverage remains pretty sparse for a long enough period, it can get frustrating. Then the frustration gets expressed in less than helpful ways. If you've been a subscriber for a very long while though, take a tour through your back issues and see when the last Fiat project happened. After trying that, you'll probably have a better understanding of my point of view. I'm not defending my tone, but just trying to help you empathize with my position enough to see how the tone might have come about. -Doug

Dpvog
Dpvog New Reader
7/2/09 8:31 p.m.

In reply to GSCReno: Had an idea for you with the "X", Scott. What about trying a quick release steering wheel? That could make entry and exit much easier, because there would be much less interference moving your legs in and out of the footwell. The toughest part of getting out of an "X" is just how low to the ground it is. It will still be tough getting out, but a heck of alot easier than a Europa, which I've driven. Just a thought.-Doug

GSCReno
GSCReno New Reader
7/2/09 8:54 p.m.

Now that's an idea, Doug. And you're right about the ride/sill height being the majority of my problem. I've had hip/knee/ankle issues forever due to a childhood illness. Even getting out of my wife's Accord sedan feels like doing deep knee bends. That's why my D/D is a fullsize Ford Bronco. Easier to step up into the seat than to step up out of the seat. Cheers, Scott

ddavidv
ddavidv SuperDork
7/3/09 6:33 a.m.

Considering the magazine used to be called ritish Car, I think the staff is doing okay with the Fiat stuff.

Here's an easy idea for you staffers in the interim: how about a comparison test between the 3 mid-engine cars of the same period: 1st gen MR2, X1/9 and Fiero. To keep it even, you'll need a 4 cyl 2M4 Fiero, sorry. Throw in a 914 if you want. I think that would make good reading (and make the Fiat look reasonably good too).

Dpvog
Dpvog New Reader
7/3/09 8:38 a.m.

In reply to ddavidv: Wait just one minute! They CHANGED their name to CLASSIC MOTORSPORTS to attract a broader audience, an audience that includes many Fiat people. Now that they have thousands of our Fiat subscription dollars, its okay to do Berkeley project cars to satisfy the Berkeley audience, but not Fiat projects to satisfy a Fiat audience hundreds of times larger? We have been asking for more Fiat coverage in both magazines for the better part of a decade. As I suggested before to Matt, go through your back issues (we Fiat folks don't have to, 'cause we've been waiting and reading patiently for years) and try to find the last Fiat project in either GRMS or CMS, THEN come talk to me. A very large audience is being ignored, and maybe even taken for granted, and we're VERY tired of it. I do like the idea for the three-way test though. -Doug

Dpvog
Dpvog New Reader
7/3/09 9:24 a.m.

In reply to GSCReno: Scott, I have another idea for you that might help. Jean (my -much- better half) suggested it after talking about the entry-exit issue, which is a common problem for many sports car lovers as we age. Fiats, MGs, Triumphs, are often used for just driving these days, rather than actually going somewhere, at least, that's how I use mine. If you are just going out for a drive and not getting out of the car anywhere, this idea might help. If you have a garage, and if you park your toy in the garage, how about just setting up a sort of pull-up bar 12" to 18" above windshield height, suspended by either ropes or chains from the ceiling of the garage right above where you park your toy? That, in combination with the detachable wheel, might make it much easier getting in and out. You could then use your arms to help you get out, instead of depending entirely on your legs to do all the work, which is part of what makes getting out of tight sports car cockpit so challenging; your arms really can't help that much. Just another thought, this time brought to you by my wife, who is much smarter and more sensible than me. -Doug

KaptKaos
KaptKaos Reader
7/3/09 10:43 a.m.
ddavidv wrote: Here's an easy idea for you staffers in the interim: how about a comparison test between the 3 mid-engine cars of the same period: 1st gen MR2, X1/9 and Fiero. To keep it even, you'll need a 4 cyl 2M4 Fiero, sorry. Throw in a 914 if you want. I think that would make good reading (and make the Fiat look reasonably good too).

IIRC C/D did this comparison when those cars were new. I may have it in my back issues so I will need to check. It may have been the MR2 v. CRX v. X1/9, but I am not sure. Also, I think they did a side profile of Chubba Cheddas old 914 that he had sold to one of the staff writers. Hmmm.... Where is that issue????

Coupefan
Coupefan Reader
7/3/09 1:13 p.m.

Let's speculate (or wish), shall we? If an X1/9 project was approved, what would be want to see if we got a say in the build up? Stock bodied with enhanced engine and suspension? Dallara or SCCA-Boig style body with a twincam conversion similar to Abarth rally cars? Or go all out like that crazy guy in Israel with his 400+hp Integrale powered beast?

Dpvog
Dpvog New Reader
7/3/09 2:22 p.m.

In reply to Coupefan: Actually, personally, I'd like to see something more conventional; something that many of us might actually end up copying. Maybe just some breathing improvements to a 1.5 liter, big valves, hot cam, headers, coupled with a modern aftermarket fuel injection system to top it all off. Don't get me wrong though, I know us boring, traditional guys are totally outnumbered by all you high-tech, h.p.-crazy swappers, and I'll settle for whatever I can get.

I know full well that most of us FIAT folks would love to see a well documented, go for broke, blank sheet of paper modern power-plant swap, too, because as we (Fiat folks) all know, the "X" is one of the very few small open-top classic platforms that's actually stiff and beefy enough in stock form to handle a modern power-plant without very unfortunate side effects.

In the end, I just hope that the CMS Santa Claus is finally stopping in Turin sometime soon, and if he is, then I'm not going to complain about what's in his sleigh. -Doug

ddavidv
ddavidv SuperDork
7/4/09 9:11 a.m.
Dpvog wrote: A very large audience is being ignored, and maybe even taken for granted, and we're VERY tired of it. -Doug

I don't know how many share your opinion. I think the quality of what has been printed is more important than the quantity. CM has given a very fair shake to Fiats (and most cars) while usually not holding back on criticism where it's warranted. Considering the sub-par way most publications/writers have treated Fiats in the past, I'm happy with what CM has done thus far. I think I'm one of the biggest defenders of the brand historically. Badgering the staff isn't really the way to go. The point has been raised. They've replied. I believe it's under consideration. Continued harping really doesn't make the Fiat community as a whole look great.

Dpvog
Dpvog New Reader
7/4/09 11:58 a.m.

In reply to ddavidv:

Your complaint may have been valid a few posts back, but we're just happliy discussing now, which for most message boards is much preferable to silence. Don't be the mean dog that scares away the neighborhood kids from playing in the yard. On the other hand, since you've rejoined the conversation, let's consider your points. First you said: "CMS has given a very fair shake to Fiats... Considering the sub-par way most publications/writers have treated Fiats in the past, I'm happy with what CMS has done thus far."

Once again, I agree that whatever CMS and GRMS cover, they cover well. I am a HUGE fan of both magazines, and I agree that they do good research, and write interesting, entertaining and informative articles. It would be very curious indeed if I wanted them to cover Fiats more when I thought they were bad at what they do.

On the other hand, I disagree that most of the press coverage that Fiat has received has been bad. Fiat has always had remarkably positive coverage both in the US and European motoring press from the sixties to present, so much so that this helped to ensure that many people, particularly in the US, would go out and buy brand new Fiats who were destined to be disappointed. Ordinary people (non-car enthusiasts) buying Fiats, people that had no business owning a car that required an involved and interested owner, are one of serveral real causes of Fiat's prior bad reputation in the US. If you're not sure of this, I invite you to my library. I have many comfortable chairs, and a cat for your lap, or a large dog, if you want one. I also have many hundreds of articles and quite a few books written about Fiats by both the US and British motoring press. The press coverage was mostly glowing.

Now, next you say that as a Fiat fan, you are satisfied with the amount of Fiat coverage by GRMS and CMS, and you're not sure how many Fiat people agree with me. Well, we could always go to our Fiat hangout and take a pole? But I would think you'd already know exactly how Fiat people feel if you had spent much time there. I obviously think you are wrong, and I think even CMS thinks you are wrong (or they would not have said: "Your votes have been heard...") but since you bring it up, let's look and see if my point has any merit in and of itself. You drive a classic (non-BMW) Mini. I would be willing to bet that there are at least thirty Fiats in the US today for every ONE classic mini. Now go look through your past issues of CMS. Compare the level of coverage for just the original Mini (not the new BMW Mini) to the level of coverage for the Fiat 124 Spider and the X1/9. It's okay, I'll wait.

Once you've done that, you'll see my point. Of course you're satisfied. Your Mini has recieved an extraordinarily disproportionate amount of coverage relative to the size of its ownership base. We Fiat folks are on the exact opposite end of that scale, and that's why we're having this conversation. David, you can object to my style, tone, or temperment to your heart's content, but my reasoning is sound and my arguments are indisputable.

It's simply a fact that Fiats have been very lightly covered by CMS and GRMS for many years. Now many Fiat fans, and apparently no classic Mini owners, are hoping that will change.-Doug

ddavidv
ddavidv SuperDork
7/5/09 7:08 a.m.

Doug, I appreciate your passion for the brand. I was probably much more like that years ago. You figure correctly when you mention the delivery vs the message. Just be cool with the delivery. It doesn't take long for people to start calling all Fiat owners 'arrogant' from passionate posts like yours. Kind of like we Fiat people often assume all Alfa owners think they are superior to us.

I wasn't talking about press coverage when the cars were new, but since you brought it up I can agree with you. C/D and R&T both gave praise to Fiat's products, particularly during comparison tests. At the risk of sounding like I'm bragging, my library (at least at one time) was probably as extensive as yours. I've been offing a lot of the stuff I no longer read in the past few years. However, the collectible press (Sports Car Market, anyone?) and the general public did not have a positive perception of the products. When you drove a Fiat back in the mid-1980s ridicule was a pretty common part of ownership. Especially irritating coming from drivers of British cars whose parent company (BL) had ceased to exist for the most part. Why BL cars were held in reverence while 'ours' were dismissed as garbage has been a puzzle for eternity.

When it comes to magazines (present day) one has to remember that the content must be that which appeals to a broad audience = copies sold. In depth stories about Hillman Minxs or Ford Prefect projects aren't going to do much for sales. Fiats fall sort of in the middle, I suspect. There is a market, but not the same market as there is for (yet another) MGB how-to. (Side note--I think too many people dismiss a lot of articles because it doesn't directly apply to their car. Yet, I've learned quite a lot from the Modern Midget series I can copy while working on pretty much anything). The next question is just what should articles be focusing on? Should a car feature be a bit generic to introduce new people to a model, or should it be very detailed about specifics that may only appeal to owners of that particular car? I know I read most 'features' on Fiats quickly, because they are usually geared for newbs and there isn't one detail I haven't already learned years ago. Yet for others, it may be the thing they need to consider an alternative to the ubiquitous British car. Probably not an easy editorial decision.

I've been consulted a few times for stories in CM, GRM and even CM's competitor by that place up in Vermont. I've got to give CM credit in that they have never misquoted anything I've given them nor do I recall them getting facts mixed up. The same can't be said of the Vermont publication (really nice article, but in spite of a proof-read and corrections by me they still mucked it up a bit). I would vastly prefer a limited but high quality number of articles to a bunch of boring, incorrect ones.

I don't need to hang out in a place with Fiat owners and take a "pole". I've owned 23 Fiats, attended all but one Fiat Freak Out, have been a member of FLU since it's inception, and still lurk on mirafiori.com. I sold Fiat parts for 6 years at a dealership. I know anytime a Fiat is written about in the press or featured on TV it's posted on the internet within hours. I know how Fiat people feel about their cars. Used to be me, before I wanted a fresh challenge. I just don't want people to be militant in their pursuit of coverage and turn people off to the brand or it's owners.

eastpark
eastpark New Reader
7/5/09 7:40 a.m.
ddavidv wrote: I don't need to hang out in a place with Fiat owners and take a "pole". I've owned 23 Fiats, attended all but one Fiat Freak Out, have been a member of FLU since it's inception, and still lurk on mirafiori.com. I sold Fiat parts for 6 years at a dealership. I know anytime a Fiat is written about in the press or featured on TV it's posted on the internet within hours. I know how Fiat people feel about their cars. Used to be me, before I wanted a fresh challenge. I just don't want people to be militant in their pursuit of coverage and turn people off to the brand or it's owners.

This is the most articulate and well composed post I think I've ever read - Thanks, Paul

Dpvog
Dpvog New Reader
7/5/09 12:28 p.m.

In reply to ddavidv: I agree almost entirely with everything you've written in your latest post, oh, except about the (sp) on "pole," I think that was below the belt. To return the favor, what exactly is a "...high quality number of articles?" Hmmm. Perhaps when you thought the people from the "Vermont publication" were ignoring your "proof-read and corrections," they were actually just correcting your grammar.

Now to the points you made. What is this curious dichotomy you've set up between a few good articles and many bad ones? You're having a strange little argument with yourself, because no one that I've read is arguing for the other side. No one as far as I can tell is saying "I want more bad articles, rather than a few good ones." The argument is about what portion of the CM and GRM's admittedly excellent coverage should be devoted to Fiats, and whether the amount of Fiat coverage that they have provided in the past is sufficient. I, along with some others, think that it is not. Rather than choosing to stay and have an argument you know you cannot win, you keep rushing off on odd tangents about whether or not CM is better than Hemmings. I think that's a silly discussion, but more importantly still, it's not the one that anyone here was having.

As I said at the beginning, I agree with almost everything you said in your last post, but the problem is that you don't always seem to. In the post before your last, you said: "Considering the sub-par way most publications/writers have treated Fiats in the past, I'm happy with what CM has done thus far." In response, I then point out that the automotive press has been very generous toward Fiat and you say in your next post: "However, the collectible press (Sports Car Market, anyone?) and the general public did not have a positive perception of the products." HUH?!? Since when are "Sports Car Market..." and "the general public..." equal to "most publications/writers?" I still can't figure out what point you were trying to make. For someone as concerned as you seem to be with accuracy and precision in writing, it seems odd to me that you would be so loose and casual with your arguments.

You do make a very important point when you say that the level of interest in the Fiat brand and the size of its owner-enthusiast group falls "somewhere in the middle" between a Hillman and an MG. Though you have not said as much in any of your posts I suspect that you would now probably acknowledge that, historically, the amount of Fiat coverage at GRM and CM has not been representative of the size of the Fiat audience. If you want to, we can put together a spread sheet showing the number of articles at CM sorted by make and then cross referenced against the number of registered vehicles in the US, but I think you're going to end up feeling like you brought a knife to a gunfight. I strongly suspect that since you have not tried to argue that particular issue any further, I must have proven my point. To highlight that one discrepancy, to underline it, and to leave it indelibly etched in certain editorial minds is the goal of my posts, and also, I suspect, of the others who have commented in support of a Fiat project.

Next, as a fellow who has owned 23 Fiats in the past and presently owns a Mini and no Fiats, are you actually seriously going to argue that the majority of people who presently own Fiats would not like to see more Fiat coverage in CM and GRM? If we went to Xweb, FLU, or mirafiori and asked: "There has not been a Fiat project in either CM or GRM in the last eight years. Would you like to see one?" Is it truly your expectation that they would answer: "No"? If that is how you feel, I have to say that we disagree.

For years now, infinitely gentler and less visible means of encouragement have been tried in order to increase Fiat coverage by GRM and CM. A lack of response to those earlier attempts is tied to the very beginning of this string, a string that, in a real sense, can be traced back to a time before this forum was ever created.

In life, when something you're trying to accomplish doesn't happen, you can give up and walk away, figuring it’s either impossible or not worth the effort. You can just keep doing the same thing and hope for a different result (which, by the way, is a common definition of madness) or you can redouble your efforts. The militancy "in pursuit of coverage" that you speak of is simply a dogged refusal to accept defeat, to accept as a given the longstanding fact that our favorite marque will always be hard to find in our favorite family of automotive magazines.

While militant behavior certainly has its costs, in this battle no lives were lost. If Fiat enthusiasts are looked at as a little strange, intense, or difficult by their typical Triumph and MG counterparts, I think many of us would pay that price in order to see more Fiat coverage in CM and GRM; heck, it's probably even true! As you have pointed out, living for all those years with the Fiat jokes may have made us just a little more intense in our defense against perceived slights, and more energetic in pursuit of appropriate recognition for our marque.

I am now officially calling for a cease fire. Our point has been thoroughly made. I sincerely and genuinely apologize if my argumentation has seemed extreme, or if my prosecution of the point has been too zealous. If, in the end, we wind up seeing Fiat a little more often in the pages of CM and GRM, many of us, the slightly edgy, odd, or even irascible Fiat folk will take the deal and go away happy. That's the goal anyway, and whether it actually happens, only time will tell. -Doug

Rubasu
Rubasu
7/8/09 11:46 a.m.

All my posts are gone!

Tim Baxter
Tim Baxter Online Editor
7/8/09 11:55 a.m.

Sorry, Rubasu, some posts were lost in the server move. There are some other posts about it, too.

BrettM
BrettM Reader
7/13/09 9:49 a.m.

Here is a great X1/9 project. Two X1/9s for the price of one. I have seen both of these cars.

http://knoxville.craigslist.org/cto/1259187246.html

Rubasu
Rubasu New Reader
7/13/09 1:02 p.m.

In reply to BrettM: Are they clean? The bare shell looks like it just got fresh paint.

BrettM
BrettM Reader
7/13/09 2:22 p.m.

In reply to Rubasu:

Well, for $1500, it is not a bad deal. The driver would need paint and general updates. The shell is basically rust free but has had some "work" done in prep for a Dallara kit that would need to be reversed.

bravenrace
bravenrace HalfDork
7/13/09 2:41 p.m.

Man, by listening to you Fiat guys complain about the lack of coverage you get, one would think you own TVR's or something!

Rubasu
Rubasu New Reader
7/13/09 2:44 p.m.

One X1/9 runner and one rust free shell for $1500? That is a great starting point for a project. How far are they from Holly Hill or Ormond Beach, FL?

Rubasu
Rubasu New Reader
7/13/09 2:59 p.m.

In reply to bravenrace: This topic started as a request for a Fiat X1/9 project. If you want more TVR coverage why not let CM know. If there are enough TVR owners who feel the same way maybe CM will do it. But I think that there might be a lot more Fiats out there than TVRs.

BrettM
BrettM Reader
7/13/09 3:12 p.m.

In reply to bravenrace:

I love the TVRs. I have almost purchased one on two separate occasions. They are very unique and I have always loved the designs.

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