1996 FIAT COUPE 16v

Eye-catching Italian has been easy to live with and easy on the pockets. It continues to delight architect, Adam. 

The main reasons you bought this car? 
The striking originality of the design, which I loved when I first saw pictures and thankfully looked equally good in the flesh. It remained true to the Chris Bangle concept car. 

How many examples did you look at before buying this one?
I had admired dozens on the road but only contemplated buying a couple, including a late 20-valve turbo. That car was quick but nearly three times the price. I only considered NZ-new cars with history and found this one about 10 years ago.

Anything unusual about your car’s history?
Only that it’s completely unremarkable. Three pretty careful owners and 120,000km in 22 years, and no evidence of accident damage.

How do you rate the condition out of 10?
It would have to be an 8/10. So, pretty good for an ageing Fiat...

The design feature you like most?
The exposed fuel filler cap is a piece of art in my book. The headlights are also quite intricate in their design and I love the round tail light arrangement. The interior highlight is the body colour running through the doors and dashboard.

Tell us a little known fact about the Fiat Coupe.
It has Pininfarina badging but was, of course, penned by the American Chris Bangle. Pininfarina designed the cabin and may have been involved in assembly, from memory.

Your longest trip in the car to date?
Auckland to Rotorua.

The most complex service or repair job to date?
Drive belts and water pump replacement.

Has the car exceeded your expectatons in any ways?
It’s not noted as a true driver’s car, being based on a modest Tipo platform, but it can be lot of fun at sensible speeds. The engine is characterful and the steering and gearshift are beautifully weighted. It rides surprisngly well, too, and is very comfortable on longer trips.

Do you have long-term intentions with your Fiat?
I think so. I still enjoy it a lot and its value plateaued a few years back. It could even be creeping up now.

Have you owned other Italian cars?
No Fiats, but I had a string of Alfa Romeos before buying this car.

Would you be more likely to buy a British or Japanese car?
Japanese. I’m drawn to a few modern sports coupes like the GT86 and MX-5.

What was the first car you drove, and where did you drive it?
An early tomato-red Honda Civic in Mission Bay, Auckland.

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FIAT COUPE 16V

YEARS PRODUCED 1994-2000

ENGINE 1995cc 4-cyl turbo

POWER 102kW (137bhp)

TORQUE 180Nm @ 4500rpm

TRANSMISSION 5-spd manual

DRIVETRAIN front-wheel drive

WEIGHT 1250kg

0-100km/h 9.2 secs

LENGTH 4.25m

WHEELS 15-inch alloy

COLOUR Red

UPHOLSTERY Grey patterned cloth

OWNER Adam, Auckland

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