1996 Fiat Coupe 20VT
(no.1) owned 2003 - 2005
Practical as Coupes go
The sound of the engine
Club and forum scene
Running costs were high
(partly self inflicted)
Front wheel drive
Superb car, and the one
which first got me interested in trackdays and the social
side of owning a car.
Registered in 1996 on a P
reg, this was one of the first 20 valve turbos sold in the
UK. Highly regarded in the motoring press, it remains the
fastest car Fiat have ever made and for many years it was
the fastest front wheel drive car produced. Constructed by
Pininfarina they have good build quality and few of the
stereotypical Fiat problems of rust or electrical problems.
The 5 cylinder engine is
smooth and gives a beautiful engine note, reminiscent of the
80s Audi Quattro.
My father bought this car
in 2001 as an immaculate, very low mileage car. He kept it
for two years, during which he had no faults or problems at
I bought it from
him in 2003, got involved in the brilliant club
www.fccuk.org which then
led me to start trackdays (Donington was my first ever in
2003), and I learnt how to carry out basic maintenance and
upgrades. 'Upgraditus' took hold and I soon began modifying
the Coupe for more performance on track. This included
Hybrid Turbo, larger Intercooler, radiator, Unichip, boost
controller, full exhaust, dampers and springs and much more.
Cosmetically I prefer to leave my cars near to standard. All
this tinkering, plus some hard use on track did take its
toll on the reliability, plus at 50k to 70k miles they need
various bits replacing such as clutch, oil cooler pipes
and manifold. Not trusting my local Fiat dealers (who I used
only once!), I would drive a round trip of 350 miles to
With so many visits for maintenance and upgrades, I
estimated I covered around 5000 miles just driving there and
back over the two years of ownership!
That first year of
ownership was very expensive for me, however, I loved the
car so could forgive it for emptying my bank accounts!
second year was quite different, with no problems at all,
and the finish to my upgrades at 311bhp. I completed a years
sprinting in 2005 the
at North Weald, where I finished first in class D overall.
My ownership was finished
off with a round Europe trip including Monaco, Stelvio and
the Nurburgring including a 165mph run on the Autobahns.
At 90,000 miles good
sense got the better of me, and I part exchanged the Fiat
for a low mileage Renaultsport Clio 172.