03Panther
03Panther SuperDork
1/21/21 9:46 p.m.

I may have the chance to pick up a nice condition 500 a friend that is using as a commuter, when he stops needing it soon. All I know about it so far, is its red, not any special edition, and Autotragic. He bought at 80K miles  - has about 110K with 0 problems.

I've liked the looks of 'em since they came out, but really know nothing about them otherwise. It would be an excellent putter for me to run to work with, so I can quit running the miles up on my Merc., although its not really anything special anymore! I can get it cheap enough that the MPG difference is almost worth it; never really quite worth it, in my life, but the closer I can get, the easier to talk SWMBO on board. What other reasons... er... excuses... can I give her?

Is there cheap aftermarket support for a base model? I don't need to keep up with a hopped up Abarth, but... 

Cheap options for any handling improvements, or will it already out handle the average nut that hold the wheel?

Don't know if the auto-x near me will do anything this year or not. I've never been. I assume this would not the the absolute worst car for a newb?

GTwannaB
GTwannaB HalfDork
1/22/21 8:30 p.m.
Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
1/22/21 8:56 p.m.

IIRC, stock 500s don't meet the SCCA's static stability factor so it won't be able to Autocross. 

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
1/22/21 9:01 p.m.
Tom Suddard said:

IIRC, stock 500s don't meet the SCCA's static stability factor so it won't be able to Autocross. 

Yep.  And those that are allowed are possibly the most-likely to rollover car you can autox.

 

Here is a lowered Abarth with a larger rear swaybar:

 

 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
1/22/21 9:22 p.m.

In reply to ProDarwin :

I experienced an Abarth for the first time today, in an up close and personal, turn-your-head-and-cough kind of way.

 

The fact that they installed a rear sway bar AT ALL, in a light front driver with the rear axle centerline practically in the bumper, that has a twist beam rear suspension that already has a "built in" rear bar, is absolutely absurd.  And this is coming from someone who modified a Golf with a 3x24" plate welded into the rear beam for extra 3-wheeling lulz0rz.

On reflection, it's also a car with no mufflers to speak of aside from catalyst and turbocharger.  Sanity is not one of its virtues.

Re: video.  I'm one part disappointed that they didn't finish the run, since it landed on all four, and two parts pointing out that lowering a car with strut front suspension makes it roll MORE unless you jack up the spring rates considerably, and that also requires lots more damping.  And also one part annoyed that RallyCross (spikycaps because speaking as Official Business here) spends a lot of rules effort making the effects of rollovers to be safe, while autocross is FAR more likely to result in a rollover, statistically speaking, and autocrossers are allowed to run with their windows down while we have to sit there and suffer in interior temps up to and including 160F because we have to have our windows up to prevent arms from flailing out due to the rollovers that rarely happen, statistically speaking.

03Panther
03Panther SuperDork
1/23/21 3:04 a.m.

So... it sounds like the base model is only good as an econo-box. And the performance versions are less good at that, and not better for racing. Since its main function would be econo-box, I;m ok with that, but that does not say much for the Abarth!

eastsideTim
eastsideTim PowerDork
1/23/21 6:41 a.m.

In reply to 03Panther :

The Abarth is a riot to drive.  I’d consider myself more sensitive to loud exhaust than Pete, and I was fine with it.  I’ve driven normal 500s, and would say there is nothing special about them, except they have an awesome turning radius that makes them great in parking lots and for parallel parking.  

Biggest word of warning on them, is test drive it for a while before buying.  The seating position is unlike most other cars.  I pretty much had one seat/wheel position in my Abarth that was comfortable to me.  Any minor deviation from it made the car uncomfortable to drive for longer distances.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
1/23/21 7:38 a.m.

In reply to 03Panther :

I think you will find that trade in values on an early Fiat 500 w/ 100k miles will be less than $2k.  High retail would be $4k.  As a cheap car for running city errands, it could be a good deal.  Also unique and a little fun and funny.  

Buy it cheap because selling it later could be hard as the brand is set to leave the US.  Support and recognition of the model will only get worse.  

Personally, as a car for short errands it could be fun and cheap, considering that the same money would put you back to a much older (maybe 2005) Ford Focus with more miles.  

A very typical retail sample around me.

This private sale model has an asking price of $3,600 but the dashboard picture says 64 degrees and there have not been that many leaves on a tree around here for nearly 4 months.  These cars are not selling fast.  

Wally (Forum Supporter)
Wally (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/23/21 9:05 a.m.

Our 500 was a very happy car for what we needed. A reliable commuter, and just cute enough to not feel guilty parking in a car show. We went 140,000 miles needing only rear wheel bearings, front struts, a door handle hinge (Fiat USA only sells complete handles, the hinge is available online much cheaper) and regular maintenance. We had an auto and it's not fast by any means but most of the time it was adequate.  I wouldn't hesitate to get another. 

Wally (Forum Supporter)
Wally (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/23/21 9:07 a.m.

In reply to John Welsh :

Parts from our dealer were abysmal anyway. I did everything online so it may not get much worse when they pull out. 

BullManUGA
BullManUGA New Reader
1/23/21 1:05 p.m.

I enjoy driving my Abarth. It sounds good and has some pep. The seating position is that of a city bus and it's not very comfortable on longer drivers. Going from it to my NB Miata is night and day. The interior plastic is possibly worse than '90s GM cars. Nobody will ever see you on the road. I autocrossed it for a season before giving up and buying the Miata last year because I didn't want to flip the 500. Spun it several times at autocross without dying, but I thought it was only a matter of time. All of that said, I would pick a Japanese car in the same class for a commuter.

 

 

Snrub
Snrub Dork
1/23/21 2:38 p.m.

I don't really see the value proposition with the 500. They're not cheaper than say a manual Mazda2, or Fiesta. They're smaller and there's not a MPG advantage. Unless your friend is giving it to you, I'd look elsewhere.

There are some people on here with 1l EcoBoost fiestas with ST suspension bits. Get a tune and I think it might be a very compelling package for the price.

mad_machine (Forum Supporter)
mad_machine (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/23/21 4:34 p.m.

I have a 2012 Abarth,  While it is a very fun car, I cannot say anything about reliability as my car only has 18,000 miles on it.  I will say this, as fun as it is to drive on normal roads, I would not want to drive it on an autocross track, I have gotten a bit over my head once or twice and while the stability system saved me from bending any sheet metal, it was surprising at the speeds it happened at.

 

As for comfort and MPG.  I have done 300 mile trips in the car with no issues at all while averaging 34 mpg at around 75mph.  On my daily commute which consists of a 5 mile trek at 60mph and the rest at town speeds, I get around 31 to 32 mph.

dxman92
dxman92 Dork
1/24/21 10:00 a.m.

All I have to add here is the Abarth 500 sounds awesome with the right exhaust. yes

Jerry
Jerry PowerDork
1/24/21 1:07 p.m.

I think my 2013 Abarth (~72k miles after 7 years) sounds great as-is.  I heard quite a few aftermarket exhausts at the Fiats on the Dragon events over the years, and none really sounded better IMHO.  YMMV.

As for the base 500, if you're looking for a simple driver, the $ is good and zero problems, I'd say go for it.  I went from my '06 Scion xB (the boxy shape) to the Abarth and had no trouble with the basically same seating position.  Lots of aftermarket support for the various 500s including the X, depending on what you're looking for.

(Edit:  my local SCCA region let me autocross the xB even though it was also excluded, because I had lowered it, new sway bar, front strut brace, etc.  So you might get to try it locally.)

03Panther
03Panther SuperDork
1/24/21 1:28 p.m.
Tom Suddard said:

IIRC, stock 500s don't meet the SCCA's static stability factor so it won't be able to Autocross. 

Help me be lazy and not have to look it up... could you explain the to a rank nube, assuming I know absolutely nothing? (Since you’d be right?)

03Panther
03Panther SuperDork
1/24/21 1:39 p.m.

The money will definitely be right...  no way I’d get better mpg and dependability for less. 

I’d love a Abarth, or a ecoboost, or a ferrari, for that matter, but that would be options for someone with more play money than me!

this base model is only cause I know it’s history, and my mate will give me a good price. Not quite free, but not several grand, either. 

“Cute” is not normally a buying criteria for me, but I do think they kinda are!

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
1/24/21 2:06 p.m.
03Panther said:
Tom Suddard said:

IIRC, stock 500s don't meet the SCCA's static stability factor so it won't be able to Autocross. 

Help me be lazy and not have to look it up... could you explain the to a rank nube, assuming I know absolutely nothing? (Since you’d be right?)

SCCA will not let you Autocross the car because the Fiat 500 (non Abarth model) does not meet the rule that the car can not be taller than it is wide

fatallightning
fatallightning Reader
1/24/21 2:34 p.m.
03Panther said:
Tom Suddard said:

IIRC, stock 500s don't meet the SCCA's static stability factor so it won't be able to Autocross. 

Help me be lazy and not have to look it up... could you explain the to a rank nube, assuming I know absolutely nothing? (Since you’d be right?)

Basically car height vs track width. Too tall, with too narrow a wheel track width makes cars flip prone during evasive maneuvers. Non Abarth 500s are banned, non ST Fiestas.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
1/24/21 6:13 p.m.
John Welsh said:
03Panther said:
Tom Suddard said:

IIRC, stock 500s don't meet the SCCA's static stability factor so it won't be able to Autocross. 

Help me be lazy and not have to look it up... could you explain the to a rank nube, assuming I know absolutely nothing? (Since you’d be right?)

SCCA will not let you Autocross the car because the Fiat 500 (non Abarth model) does not meet the rule that the car can not be taller than it is wide

To clarify, its height vs track width.  The Abarth and ST Fiesta don't meet that rule either.  The Abarth is 3.5" taller than its average track width.

This rule is only applied if there is no SSF data on the car.  I'm guessing there is SSF data but the Fiesta ST and Abarth are acceptable enough that SCCA lets them run.  The others are on the exclusion list.

 

You may find regions or non-scca clubs that will let you run, but that does not make it a good idea.

03Panther
03Panther SuperDork
1/24/21 8:49 p.m.

In reply to ProDarwin :

Thanks. In playing on the street all these years, I've proved to be fairly good at aggressive, but also not "smooth." Prolly not a good combination in a top heavy little box!

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