pete240z
pete240z SuperDork
9/23/10 5:20 p.m.

So I got my new issue the other night and I read about the Fiat 500 Prima Edizione and I walked downstairs and put my name on the reservation list.

So I get an email today asking me to pick my color and to decide on a sunroof or engine block heater.

By the time they come out in February, I will be needing a new work car..........are these cars going to suck? (the payments will blow)

HiTempguy
HiTempguy HalfDork
9/23/10 5:31 p.m.

In reply to pete240z:

The only reason I can see to by a 500 is to A) Be different B) Own the drool worthy Abarth edition.

Otherwise, it seems fairly pointless unless that 1.4L gets s00per awesome gas mileage (probably not), and its Italian.

RexSeven
RexSeven Dork
9/23/10 5:48 p.m.

I beg to differ. From what I've read, even the regular 500s are fun to drive (the Cooper to the Abarth's Cooper S). As long as there isn't any excessive weight gain, it should remain that way for the US models. It gets something like 40mpg combined after converting it from the UK MPG cycle to the US MPG cycle, but that's obviously unofficial.

That being said, I'm still waiting on the 500 Abarth to make it to the US. It's the only car I see on the horizon I would consider trading my MS3 for.

Feedyurhed
Feedyurhed HalfDork
9/23/10 8:08 p.m.

I think they are really cool and worthy of consideration. My only concerns are that it's Italian ( I still rememebr when Fiat was here before) and the cost. By the way, what is the cost?

irish44j
irish44j HalfDork
9/23/10 10:39 p.m.

When I lived in Italy (Naples) in the mid-1990s, a guy I went to school with had a 500 (the original, really small one!). Every so often 3 or 4 of us would be out skipping class and drinking a beer behind the gym and decide to go have some fun...so we'd pick up the guy's car and move it a street over, or around the corner, or whatever. We did it 4 or 5 times before he started chaining it to a lightpost with a big bike lock, lol.

ok, so that has nothign to do with the original post, but I don't get to talke about cinquecentos much

pete240z
pete240z SuperDork
9/24/10 7:13 a.m.
Feedyurhed wrote: ...........and the cost. By the way, what is the cost?

""shrug shoulders""

At some point they ask for a $500 refundable deposit. I really have no plans to take on a car payment so I might have to bail out.

pinchvalve
pinchvalve SuperDork
9/24/10 8:04 a.m.
Feedyurhed wrote: I think they are really cool and worthy of consideration. My only concerns are that it's Italian ( I still rememebr when Fiat was here before)

I recently read a quote from a Fiat guy about Fiat's issues in the US. According to him, there was no Fiat dealer network and no factory training. So mechanics used to wrenching on domestic iron would crack head bolts and scratch their heads when they saw fuel injection. The rest of the world did not suffer the issues that we did. Food for thought.

irish44j
irish44j HalfDork
9/24/10 8:23 a.m.
pinchvalve wrote:
Feedyurhed wrote: I think they are really cool and worthy of consideration. My only concerns are that it's Italian ( I still rememebr when Fiat was here before)

I recently read a quote from a Fiat guy about Fiat's issues in the US. According to him, there was no Fiat dealer network and no factory training. So mechanics used to wrenching on domestic iron would crack head bolts and scratch their heads when they saw fuel injection. The rest of the world did not suffer the issues that we did. Food for thought.

^^this. Living in Italy for 3 years, I'd guess 3/4 of the population there drives Fiats (average joe), Lancias (upper middle class), and Alfas (rich)....Other well-to do people have BMWs or Benzes, and you see a decent number of smaller Peugeots as well (another car that has a bad rap in the US). I (being a "car guy") never noticed any particular issue with Fiats broken down, never heard from neighbors about their car having issues, etc. And I had a Lancia (a Fiat), which, although stereo-less and pretty much worn to hell, never had any mechanical issues....just some minor electrical (but not nearly as bad as the VW's I've owned in the US)...

I wish they would bring Lancia back to the US :)

Turboeric
Turboeric None
9/24/10 10:38 a.m.
pinchvalve wrote: I recently read a quote from a Fiat guy about Fiat's issues in the US. According to him, there was no Fiat dealer network and no factory training. So mechanics used to wrenching on domestic iron would crack head bolts and scratch their heads when they saw fuel injection. The rest of the world did not suffer the issues that we did. Food for thought.

I can't let this go, lest the youngsters here who weren't around in the 60s and 70s think this is true. I owned a DD Fiat 850 coupe and spend much time wrenching on a friend's 128. Yes, ham-fisted domestic mechanics were a problem, but they were with BMWs, Triumphs, Mercedes and any other furrin car then. The Fiats rusted in the most spectacular possible way, which wasn't mechanic-induced. And many of the mechanical ills weren't mechanic-induced. On the 70s 1500 motors (128, X1/9), the cambelts had to be changed every 24,000 miles. At 30,000 miles the belt broke and the motor became a paperweight. Throughout the late 70s and early 80s, rural properties were littered with Fiats sitting high on their front suspensions with the motor out, never to move again.

BTW, Fiat eventually "fixed" the problem. The machined cutouts into the pistons so that when the belt broke, it didn't trash the engine. No effort the fix the belt though. I think the 500 is a very cool car, but with my experience with Fiats, I'll need at least 10 years of positive North American experience before I'd lay my money down.

Brett_Murphy
Brett_Murphy New Reader
9/24/10 11:18 a.m.

In reply to Turboeric:

I see your point, but I also have one of my own. Fiats might very well be sorrow-wagons of dubious build quality these days, but I'm not going to assume they are based on the antics of the company in the 70s. Trashing modern cars based on the performance of the brands in prior decades isn't an apples to apples comparison. My first car was a Chevy Monza. It's unibody rusted away so badly that it cracked in half when I was driving it. I've owned a few Chevy products since then. They didn't rust nearly as bad. Likewise, Hyundai had some pretty craptastic cars back in the day, but they turned their act around and are putting out some fairly reliable cars now.

The regulations, customer expectations and competition in the global markets have forced a lot of car makers to step up and improve their products greatly.

mndsm
mndsm Dork
9/24/10 11:23 a.m.

The Abarth intrigues me greatly. If the seats are any good, I might take the wifes' Cooper S and trade it for one.

mad_machine
mad_machine SuperDork
9/24/10 11:51 a.m.
Turboeric wrote: I can't let this go, lest the youngsters here who weren't around in the 60s and 70s think this is true. I owned a DD Fiat 850 coupe and spend much time wrenching on a friend's 128. Yes, ham-fisted domestic mechanics were a problem, but they were with BMWs, Triumphs, Mercedes and any other furrin car then. The Fiats rusted in the most spectacular possible way, which wasn't mechanic-induced. And many of the mechanical ills weren't mechanic-induced. On the 70s 1500 motors (128, X1/9), the cambelts had to be changed every 24,000 miles. At 30,000 miles the belt broke and the motor became a paperweight. Throughout the late 70s and early 80s, rural properties were littered with Fiats sitting high on their front suspensions with the motor out, never to move again. BTW, Fiat eventually "fixed" the problem. The machined cutouts into the pistons so that when the belt broke, it didn't trash the engine. No effort the fix the belt though. I think the 500 is a very cool car, but with my experience with Fiats, I'll need at least 10 years of positive North American experience before I'd lay my money down.

I have owned more fiats than most people have owned appliance cars. I DDed a 124 spider all through college and only ever suffered 2 breakdowns (neither requiring a tow) The Cambelt "problem" is caused by two things.

A: Fiat was the first to use a rubber "Gates" style cam belt in a mass produced engine.. so they were not the longest lived belts in the world.

B: A LOT of engines, even today, are "interference" engines where the valves will get intimate with the pistons if the cambelt goes.

The problem with fiats "Littering" the countryside (I never noticed that when I was groing up in the 70s) is overblown. Do the maintance and these cars are just as mechanically robust as any other european car..

Rust on the other hand, was a well known problem with Fiats. Some of this was attributable to poor quality steel (rumored to be from the soviets) and the fact that at Fiat's heyday in the us (approximatly 1977) they were selling cars so fast, they had to strap them to the decks of the ships with no protection from the elements. Combine that with dealers who never scrubbed the salt off of the cars before undercoating them.. and you have a recipe for rust.

ALL 70s cars rust. quite a few 80s cars rust. I have seen 90s cars rust (my BMW being one of them) and yesterday I saw a 200X hyundai Accent with rust on it's hood.

Turboeric
Turboeric New Reader
9/24/10 3:32 p.m.
mad_machine wrote: The Cambelt "problem" is caused by two things. A: Fiat was the first to use a rubber "Gates" style cam belt in a mass produced engine.. so they were not the longest lived belts in the world. B: A LOT of engines, even today, are "interference" engines where the valves will get intimate with the pistons if the cambelt goes.

These are both true, but everyone else's belts (with the exception of the Lotus twincams) lasted 2 to 3 times longer. It's not that the belts failed - they all do - but how quickly they failed. And Fiat's lack of a prompt and adequate response to the problem.

Also, it is true that many other cars of the era rusted badly - I've worked on both BMW 2002 and Datsun 240Z from the era - but Fiats were in a league of their own.

And yes, it isn't valid to judge current cars on the basis of old ones, but when buying a car, I have the choice of many cars with known histories of reliability and durability, vs one that's unknown. The 500 doesnt' make the old knob throb sufficiently to take that risk.

mad_machine
mad_machine SuperDork
9/24/10 5:36 p.m.

again, I have to dispute this "problem". If you notice.. The fiat twin cam was revolutionary. Being the first of the DOHC engines with a timing belt, it is not surprisng the belts were not long lived, they simply were in unknown territory. To compare belt life to newer engines is unfair.

fiat did eventually "fix" the issue in newer engines.. But only after they left the US and applied what they learned on the 16v engines.

as I have read.. One of the issues was that people, thinking they were getting ripped off by the dealer to replace a "fan" belt at 25K miles didn't do it.. History was then written

Feedyurhed
Feedyurhed HalfDork
9/24/10 7:16 p.m.
Brett_Murphy wrote: In reply to Turboeric: My first car was a Chevy Monza. It's unibody rusted away so badly that it cracked in half when I was driving it. I've owned a few Chevy products since then.

Ha!! Reminds me of my sister's Vega where all four of the shocks broke through the shock towers due to rust or my best friend's Chevette which had gaping holes in both floor boards......think Flinstone's . He just covered them up with floor mats and instructed all riders to keep their feet to the side. The Monza, Vega and Chevette do not appear to be milestones in durability either.

pete240z
pete240z SuperDork
9/24/10 7:22 p.m.

I just hope those weed smoking dudes aren't involved with these cars.....JK

Feedyurhed
Feedyurhed HalfDork
9/24/10 7:26 p.m.
pete240z wrote: I just hope those weed smoking dudes aren't involved with these cars.....JK

I wonder where the 500 will be built?

RexSeven
RexSeven Dork
9/24/10 7:55 p.m.
Feedyurhed wrote:
pete240z wrote: I just hope those weed smoking dudes aren't involved with these cars.....JK

I wonder where the 500 will be built?

Hecho en Mexico. So instead of smoking weed the workers will be dodging bullets from the weed suppliers on their lunch breaks.

mad_machine
mad_machine SuperDork
9/24/10 8:58 p.m.

sorry if I sounded a bit militant.. I just hate people bringing up the old stereotype to trash the new cars.. especially when the old stereotype was not the car's fault (aside from the rust)

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