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1996 Fiat Coupe 20VT (no.1) owned 2003 - 2005

                                 

 
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Beautiful appearance
Practical as Coupes go
The sound of the engine and exhaust
Club and forum scene
Performance
 
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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 all.
 
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 Roger http://www.poweritalia.com/. 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!

                                  

 

The 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 http://www.seloc.org/ series 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.