Friday, December 4, 2015

Friday Car Pr0n #107

Sorry about last week. Just couldn't rouse myself out of the turkey coma to post car pr0n...


2007 Fiat 500. Long after most auto manufacturers had stopped doing the "retro" thing, Fiat decided the way to re-enter the American market after a nearly three-decade absense. They accomplished this with a re-imagining of one of the more iconic Fiats, the 500. Based on the original 500 (named after the 479 cc engine that powered it), the new 500 was updated with all sorts of safety features and - like the VW Beetle - changed from rear-engine to front.

I (very briefly) looked at the 500 in the Great Car Search of 2015. It got good gas mileage and was suitable for city driving, true, but upon closer inspection just wasn't a good fit. The gas mileage was good, but not great, especially for the size - my comfortable mini-SUV gets 24 MPG around town compared to the 500's 27. And price? With all the options I wanted, the 500 was over $25K. For a 4-seater, micro car. Um, no thanks.

At least it gives us the option of pulling out the old "Fix It Again, Tony" gag...

That is all.

16 comments:

Armed Texan said...

This reminded me (and not fondly) of the Spider my mother bought back in '80. You know, the little sports car with a tendency to overheat in its native Europe. Did I mention that we lived in Dallas? I really didn't mind it going to the shop so often because the 2+2 was a damn lie. Even at my rather young age, I was biting my knees trying to sit in the back.

Now I see they're planning to resurrect the model on a Miata platform. I wonder what VD ridden, tabloid-bait actor they'll get to push this one.

Old NFO said...

Don't even look at the price of the Abarth version then... :-)

Stretch said...

Fiat 500?
Hell, I've boots bigger than that car.

John said...

Owned a Fiat 850 Spyder in the seventies.
Pros.
Lots of fun to drive.
Convertible.
Great way on the cheap to find out what buying an imported sports car would be like
if you ever decide to have a midlife crisis.

Cons.
Convertible. Just by putting the top down, you could end droughts.
Convertible. The girlfriend/later and still wife's long hair only blew around that one time. After that it was under a Navy watch cap while her face had an expression that says, put the top up now.
Convertible. Her voice, "Aren't you going to lock it?" My voice. "I would rather they just opened the door and stole whatever they wanted because it's cheaper than a new top!"
The fix it again Tony turns out not to be so funny when you are spending time alongside the road removing jets from the carb and cleaning them.
After numerous heater valve replacements, the plumbing valve conversion worked great, but looked odd.
No oil filter. Not kidding. It had a centrifugal separator that had to be cleaned with a special tool. (mine was a former table knife bent just so.)

So, no FIATs in our future.

wolfwalker said...

I drove a rental Fiat 500 once, a couple of years ago.

Calling it a glorified golf cart would be a terrible insult to honest golf carts.

Mark Matis said...

Sounds like Fiats are the perfect car for hive-dwellers. Give them everything they so truly deserve!
}:-]

Chris in TX said...

But the Fiat Spiders of old were so damn pretty that'd it'd almost be worth it just to drive it on the one day a year when it was working properly.

Will said...

The early 80's vintage Fiat Spider (2000?) seemed to be a decent little convertible. My Dad was instrumental in having a fair number of them removed from the US. He traveled all over, especially CA/UT/NV, looking for ones without rust, and sold them to exporters that shipped them as far as Holland and Australia. He sold his (South NJ) chicken coop load of parts and all his remaining cars around '98, I think. The Turbo versions were nice.

John said...

Two Spyder versions, the before mentioned 850, and the 124. My experience was only with the 850.

And in my earlier post I missed mentioning that it took a large machine shop hydraulic press to get the passenger side kingpin out after it seized. Putting only one grease fitting in the front end suspension was a big mistake, but the detailed explanation is lengthy.

I bought the car on a whim, I was home from the Navy for a weekend, and while walking my parent's dog I saw people moving out of an apartment nearby. The Fiat 850 was in the drive of the apartment with and flat tire and mostly dust covered. I asked what they were going to do with the car and within a few minutes I became the owner of a nonrunning 850 for four hundred dollars. It had to be in '77 or '78 because I had the car before I got married and we sold it for, (dramatic pause) four hundred dollars when we were in out first house in '80 or '81.

Hafnhaf said...

my first car was a white 850 spyder. also $400! must be fair market value... anyway, it was a very cute car. got lots of nice remarks about it. very dangerous though: i offered a ride home to a very cute, complete stranger one day. 36 years later, we are still married!

told you it was dangerous!

Mark Matis said...

If she sees your comment, Hafnhaf, it may be fatal...
}:-]

John said...

Hafnhaf, also at 36 years married. Not so bad for a starter wife! (lucky she does not read this blog)

Remember on the 850 how you could open/close the manual flaps on the heater so each person could fine tune their comfort level?

libertyman said...

I had an X1/9 years ago it was a fun car but no power, and it got worse gas mileage than either of my current V8s. Plus the gas tank held about 9 or 10 gallons making gas stops frequent. You could put a set of golf clubs in the back trunk, though. A fun car, but today's cars are better in every way.

Hafnhaf said...

Very good point!

Hafnhaf said...

Yeah, 2-way split comfort zones! Also had a throttle lock. Cruise control, baby!

Hafnhaf said...

I installed a dwell extender and got 32 mpg in mixed driving. Still couldn't get out of its own way though.