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mistanfo
mistanfo SuperDork
3/6/12 5:17 p.m.

Didn't fit. The wife wants one pretty badly, but I won't pay for something if I cannot drive it.

racerdave600
racerdave600 Dork
3/6/12 5:29 p.m.

Fiat's were sold here for a very long time, as long as Hyundai and Kia. They left for numerous reasons, many of which had to do with home market problems.

I've owned more than a dozen Fiats over the years, and they are very reliable. The problem is that you have to maintain them by the book. Unlike a Honda, the maintenance schedule is not a suggestion. And they do take some understanding of basic mechanical principles instead of just being a parts changer.

Also, Fiat was always at the front in technical advances, such as being the first to bring you such items as timing belts. And they used 5 speeds when most were 3 and 4 speeds, independant suspensions instead of live axles, front wheel drive when it was mostly a novelty (with a few exceptions such as a Mini or Toronado). And they were really the first to build a mid engine car in large numbers at a normal price humans could afford.

Fiat as a company was really pretty good, but their dealer networks here sucked the life out of them. No one here cared to work on them, and the dealers would really rather sell you an Oldsmobile. They rusted no worse than most cars of their era either, especially imported cars.

To make matters worse, they were cheap to buy. That meant that people who did buy them couldn't or wouldn't maintain them. When the inevitable happened, it was always the cars fault. Never theirs for not maintaining it, or the mechanic that didn't know how to bleed the cooling system and caused the head gasket to blow, for example.

Personally, I'm glad to see Fiat back. To me, they are the original Zoom-Zoom company and not Mazda. No matter what Fiat you drove back in the day, they were always fun. One of my all time favorites that I've owned was a '61 600D. In the owner's manual was a small section on how to adjust the pedals for "heel-toe". Where else are you gonna get that?

forzav12
forzav12 Reader
3/6/12 6:22 p.m.
Bobzilla wrote:
93EXCivic wrote:
Bobzilla wrote: there are better, more powerful options out there

Power isn't everything. 160bhp is plenty for a road car especially in a car that size. Also I can't think of a single better option.

Veloster Turbo? CooperS? SX4 Sportback(granted,only 155hp but seats 4 real adults)?

The Cooper is a legit competitor(although pricier and with somewhat spotty reliability), however, those other two monstrosities should be immediately killed with fire. The Abarth is a neat piece-some get it, some don't. No big deal either way.

Coupefan
Coupefan Reader
3/14/12 1:22 p.m.

The facts: The North American Fiat 500 is identical mechanically to the version that's been on sale in Europe, South America and other parts of the world for almost 5 years. That's over 600,000 examples to date.

Reliability study? Check the German ADAC stats. The 500 came out on top in category, beating out the home grown Teutonic models. Germans must be pissed...

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker UltimaDork
3/14/12 1:35 p.m.
z31maniac wrote: See I brought up in another thread a few days ago why buy this over a Cooper S, and someone said "$6K?" Since when did a base Cooper S cost $28k?

I based $6K on an Abarth with all the go-fast goodies included at $22k positioning itself against the John Cooper Works Mini which takes the $25k base up to $29k if you use the Mini site to build one.

Joshua
Joshua HalfDork
3/14/12 1:46 p.m.

When is the "build your own" Abarth site going to be up?

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker UltimaDork
3/14/12 1:49 p.m.
Joshua wrote: When is the "build your own" Abarth site going to be up?

If they follow the pattern of the base model it will have very little aside from colors and maybe some sort of convenience package. I figure one will really cost about 23.5k by the time you wrk in the floor mats.

mad_machine
mad_machine MegaDork
3/14/12 2:02 p.m.
racerdave600 wrote: Fiat as a company was really pretty good, but their dealer networks here sucked the life out of them. No one here cared to work on them, and the dealers would really rather sell you an Oldsmobile. They rusted no worse than most cars of their era either, especially imported cars. To make matters worse, they were cheap to buy. That meant that people who did buy them couldn't or wouldn't maintain them. When the inevitable happened, it was always the cars fault. Never theirs for not maintaining it, or the mechanic that didn't know how to bleed the cooling system and caused the head gasket to blow, for example.

I do recall somebody posting a rant online from the era before the internet about how a fiat deal was trying to gouge them by insisting the "fan belt" be done at 25,000 miles.

And indeed Fiat was always a cutting edge company. The 124, for example. The first production car with a timing belt instead of a chain, 4 wheel disc brakes when a lot of companies were starting to use front discs, load compensating brakes, 5 speed trans in an age of 4 speeders, Intermittent wipers, the best convertable top EVER, electric cooling fans, dual points to ease starting, and even fibreoptic lighting in the centre console...

Can you see why mechanics more used to working on oldsmobiles or owners more used to MGs couldn't get them run right or last too long? Properly kept up, a Fiat will give tens of thousands of fun driving.. but you have to stay ontop of that maintance

ProDarwin
ProDarwin SuperDork
3/14/12 2:09 p.m.

Late to the thread...

yamaha wrote: Also, any word on if scca is rethinking their ban on the 500 for being a "rollover risk"??? That and I'd bet it'll end up in at least C-stock

Not a chance it will end up in CS.

ValuePack
ValuePack Dork
3/14/12 4:09 p.m.

(OT)

So the big Italian is back... Can we have Peugeot, Renault, and Citroen again, too? Pretty please?

(/OT)

phinz
phinz New Reader
3/14/12 4:22 p.m.

In reply to eastsidemav:

After owning three different Miatas and trading my '09 Miata on a 2011 JCW MINI, I'm going back to the Miata in a couple of weeks when the SE comes into the dealership.

Don't get me wrong. The MINI is an amazing car, and with all that horsepower it's a little rocket, but it's not a Miata. The driven wheels are on the wrong end of the car and the roof seems to be stuck in the up position.

I would imagine I'd feel the same way about the 500.

irish44j
irish44j SuperDork
3/14/12 4:23 p.m.
Bobzilla wrote:
92CelicaHalfTrac wrote: Yep, that reason is the 1970s.

well, when that is the last thing you remember of a car company because they were GONE for 28 years.... what else would we remember?

Hate to tell you this, but the United States is not the center of the automotive universe. Having lived for 3 years in Italy, I can tell you with certainty that Fiat was doing just fine for those 28 years all over Europe. Perhaps not in a corporate sense, but the cars worked as well as anything else. We owned fiats and lancias, our neighbors on every side of us owned fiats and lancias and alfas. Everyone had a fiat. The guy with the 5-series BMW also had a Fiat Uno in his garage for local driving. The traffic police all drove Fiats, the national police drove Alfas. Many of the trucks were made by Fiat. When you took a vacation to Spain, they drove Seats, which were 95% Fiats. When you went to Zurich, Fiats all over the place.

Favorite hobby was to play "4 guys pick up friend John's original 500 and place it someplace creative".....on a wall. in a field. in a dumpster. in a garden. on a flight of stone stairs.... Got so bad that he had to chain his car to a lamppost. But that damn car always started and got him to school every day.

I'm no Fiat homer (and I"m not interested in a 500, Abarth or not), but all performance being equal I'd just as well buy one as I'd buy a Hyundai or a Subaru or a Ford. All of those companies have checkered reliability history as well........"Fix It Again Tony"....ok....."Fix Or Repair Daily".....

T.J.
T.J. UberDork
3/14/12 7:12 p.m.

Absolutely zero interest in the car from me.

z31maniac
z31maniac UberDork
3/14/12 7:22 p.m.
Giant Purple Snorklewacker wrote:
z31maniac wrote: See I brought up in another thread a few days ago why buy this over a Cooper S, and someone said "$6K?" Since when did a base Cooper S cost $28k?

I based $6K on an Abarth with all the go-fast goodies included at $22k positioning itself against the John Cooper Works Mini which takes the $25k base up to $29k if you use the Mini site to build one.

Ahhh, so you compared it not the car I mentioned.

Steve Chryssos
Steve Chryssos Associate Publisher
3/14/12 9:01 p.m.

The Abarth reminds me of......

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