Decision Time

In 1977 we had need of a second car. A challenging prospect at that time because it had to be economical and cheap! We were living in a small village in Oxfordshire and by chance we heard that there was a Fiat 500 for sale “behind the garage” in the village. First Registered in 1968, with about 43000 miles on the clock, it was an opportunity not to be missed and so we were introduced to the world of 500’s. Our children were thrilled and over the years grew to view Toppy with great affection. She became a real little … Continue reading Decision Time

An uplifting experience

Ever since I started Fiat fiddling I have always thought that a car-lift would be a great addition to my garage. The problem that I had, as have most other car fiddlers, is the ceiling height of our garages. So for years I have been searching for a suitable lift but to no avail. Back in 2019 my wife and I decided that it was time to downsize so we sat down and made a list of must haves for our new home. On my list was a four car garage with a high ceiling, not too much to ask … Continue reading An uplifting experience

The new Fiat 500 Electric

The New 500, the first fully-electric vehicle from FCA will be arriving in 2021 alongside the current 500 which is the bestselling city car in Europe. So, rather than add a bunch of fiddly details, Fiat’s gone back to basics for the new 500 and made it look smoother, more rounded and even more minimalist than before.  The New 500 is a little wider, longer, the wheelbase is broader and even the wheels are larger, while the interior boasts a roomier passenger compartment. Also, Fiat have unveiled the Fiat 500 3+1 which makes the New 500 even more accessible. The … Continue reading The new Fiat 500 Electric

Noddy

In 1970 I was working in Malta and was looking for a replacement for my Nash Metropolitan car when I saw an advert in Vogue magazine for Aquascutum featuring a Vignale Gamine. I tracked the car down to Frixos Demetrious’ showrooms in London – a very strange set up – and on my next visit to England bought one. (The price then was £700 which compared with the £769 cost for an M.G. Midget.) It was love at first drive, which was an epic one from London to Malta.  Noddy caused much interest along the route and nearly brought traffic … Continue reading Noddy

Capesthorne Hall

At last with the lockdown measures easing a car show to attend in my classic 500! Having just completed an engine rebuild during lockdown with the great help of Craig Anderson (albeit remotely) this would have been the furthest the car had travelled. Knowing my luck, it would probably end badly on the side of a road! Capesthorne Hall is a perfect venue for a car show which I have been meaning to attend for a few years. The weather was good and I made my way there with my dad (and chief mechanic) riding shotgun. Normally at the North … Continue reading Capesthorne Hall

To Bicester or Not to Bicester, that is the question!

I really wish I was a natural early starter, my 6am journey to Bicester was most enjoyable with mist lying low in the fields and a glowing sunrise.  I arrived on time to meet up with 6 others, to be greeted with “Tinker shouldn’t be here, it’s no dogs”.  I didn’t want to go home so we just hoped no-one would notice her!  We did well till around lunch time, when I was approached by Security saying she had had to report me to her Manager who was on his way over, and thought it a rubbish rule.  Said Manager … Continue reading To Bicester or Not to Bicester, that is the question!

At last!

The day we had all been looking forward to……. the chance to drive our cars and go to an event!! The ‘Clear your mind drive and pizza’ at the Sharnbrook Hotel. We all met at a car park near Great Denham and each parked 2m apart. Lovely to see everyone but still strange to have to keep our distance to chat.       One person who was originally booked to attend was Felicity (& Tinker, her dog) but due to further lockdown measures in Leicester, she was not allowed to leave the city!! A lovely scenic drive (thanks to Amy for planning … Continue reading At last!

A (very) amateur mechanic

I was on another Fiat website recently where a thread was asking what tools were included in their car’s toolkit, which got me thinking (having little else to do!)… When I first became interested in cars most came with reasonably comprehensive quality tool sets (think Jaguar, MG etc), and most fastenings were Whitworth & BSF. Both used the same size spanners, albeit one size different. My spanner set consisted of Williams spanners, comfortable, well made & quite a thick profile. Moving on and a change of allegiance to Rootes required a new spanner set in AF sizes. Rootes bean counters … Continue reading A (very) amateur mechanic

Our Fiat 500 Giardiniera

My fondest memory of going out in our beloved Fiat 500 Giardiniera is when my dad and I attended a microcar rally in September 2019. The ride was usual for a classic car – windy, quite loud and absolutely amazing. The day was strangely nice for the time of year and the open top allowed the sun to come into the car, illuminating the interior and highlighting its austere beauty. My first memory of the rally was driving to the visitor’s entrance, where we were told our car should be in the main event. We immediately jumped at the opportunity … Continue reading Our Fiat 500 Giardiniera

My Fiat 500s and the club (from my perspective)

I wrote about my highly modified 1967 Fiat 500 in this magazine in 2018 and since then, have completed the body painting to make it look quite smart (see below). The bonnet is propped open at the rear edge to allow cooling air to exit after passing through the front mounted radiator (hence also the grille below the moustache badge). The car has a 180bhp Suzuki Hayabusa 1,300cc motorcycle engine and gearbox, mid-mounted behind the driver, which gives it a sizeable turn of speed and a fairly thrilling ride if you use it hard. (0-60 is 4 sec – in … Continue reading My Fiat 500s and the club (from my perspective)

London Classic Car Show Report

Show report from the London Classic Car Show Olympia London 20-23 February 2020 2020 marked the next chapter in the history of the London Classic Car Show as it moved to the prestigious Olympia London in Kensington. It was previously held at Excel London. Now in its sixth year, The London Classic Car Show has firmly established itself as the must-attend event for discerning classic car owners, collectors, connoisseurs and enthusiasts. This was the third consecutive year the Fiat 500 Club was invited to display in the Car Club area, this time located on the gallery of this fine Victorian … Continue reading London Classic Car Show Report

Fridge Fiat Front

The Smeg500 Spotted by member Quentin Howell, in a showroom in Regents Street, London, these are actually fridges!! The Smeg500 is the result of years of hard work between SMEG and FIAT when they merged to create an extraordinary new item for the ‘Fiat 500 Design Collection’. This quirky item is a fully functioning fridge that has been handmade with genuine original Fiat 500 parts (It even has fully working headlights!). You will find 100litres of storage under the bonnet and it is accessed by two sliding doors. It is A+ rated and has an automatic defrost function. On enquiring … Continue reading Fridge Fiat Front

Car won’t start? Have you checked your Earth strap?

Our generally reliable 500 TwinAir from 2012 refused to start after a Christmas break. Nothing. Not even a click when the key was turned. Having tried one of the small power packs and that failed, we called the RAC. After an hour of trying to by-pass the fuses, climbing under the car and getting generally very muddy, the RAC admitted defeat and we bump started the car and drove it off to the local Main Dealer. They ordered a new starter (from Italy) and informed us that the bill would be around £500… We waited. Cue another call whereupon they … Continue reading Car won’t start? Have you checked your Earth strap?

Wanted: €50,000 or more…

If you are on the lookout for a genuine Abarth 695SS, you are advised to head for Retromobile in February, and RM Sotheby’s auction. This particular Abarth 695, one of approximately 1,000 SS examples built, is surely one of the most special. Chassis 1060634 features rock-solid provenance and documentation proving it to be one of roughly 1,000 examples built. Delivered new to the United States, it spent many years in the state of Georgia and has passed through the hands of just four documented owners. In addition to its provenance, the car carries several other signs of authenticity, including a … Continue reading Wanted: €50,000 or more…

The Classic Motor Show, NEC Birmingham

Here I go again, but fear not it is the last of the Fiat Season ☹. I was waved off from work around 11.30 Thursday – in the rain which soon stopped so the car was being air dried – I didn’t want to be dripping all over our carpet! I safely arrived at the NEC which was the easy bit done but true to Club form, Zoe came to my aid and was my passenger to the stand and I join the hive of activity polishing cars to within an inch of their lives, then sitting with my foot … Continue reading The Classic Motor Show, NEC Birmingham

Visit to Somerset – NMCR

Having been before and found these very interesting Janet and I decided to attend this year’s National Micro Car Rally (NMCR) being held in Somerset. It was also convenient for accommodation as my sister and husband live near Ilminster which is 10 miles away from the event, which was being held at Steps Farm in the small village of North Newton. The definition of a micro car is a vehicle with an engine size up to 700cc and no more than 3 cylinders so Fiat 500’s are eligible. Having previously been in one of our 500’s we decided to go … Continue reading Visit to Somerset – NMCR