Product Type: Fiat cars
Newest Review: ... too light, till we experienced gearbox problems later on. *********************************** *********************** Obviously when comp... more
I drive a Baby Ferrari!
Member Name: goalmachine
Date: 06/02/02, updated on 06/02/02 (1612 review reads)
Advantages: Cheap to run, Handles well, Reliable
Disadvantages: Looks a bit dated, Sparse equipment fit
(1) - September 1993;
Richard David Price of Fintry, Dundee, passed his driving test at the second attempt and was unleashed upon the roads of Scotland.
(2) - April 1999;
Richard David Price bought his first car, unleashing himself upon the roads of Scotland in a henceforth unlimited fashion. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA!!!!!!!
*Ahem* sorry about that. Anyway, this is the story of me and my little buggy - a 1.0 litre Fiat Uno, bought from Arnold Clark Kingsway, Dundee, just under three years ago. But before I tell you about me and my buggy's adventures, a little bedtime story for you all.....
You see, although I passed my driving test in Sept 93 (at the tender age of 18), I couldn't afford my own car, so I had to make do with occasional borrows of my Dad's death trap - sorry, Ford Fiesta MKII. Eventually, I fell into the trap that is public transport, lost my wallet with my licence in it, and just gave up driving. No conscious decision there, it just sort of happened. Now, fast forward a couple of years....
In March of 1999 (two months after meeting the other half), Mum and Dad had a bit of a windfall from the National Lottery. A hundred grand's worth of windfall, to be precise. So, after paying off the house and settling all their debts, Dad gave both me and my sister £5,000 each to go and buy ourselves motors. Rubbing our hands gleefully, we set off around the dealerships of Dundee.
To let you understand how I came to choose my set of wheels, I had a few criteria:
(a) must cost less than 5K, the less the better - if I spent under the 5,000, I got to "keep the change".
(b) must have an engine size of less than 1.2 litres - in order to take advantage of the cheaper car tax for small engined vehicles. After all, it's one t
hing to buy a car - you still have to pay to run the thing.
(c) must be relatively low mileage - for the same reason of cost of running, I wanted a car I wouldn't be constantly paying for repairs on.
So off I went. After finding a couple of decent contenders, a chance look around Arnie's saw me come across the holy grail (I swear there was a glow around the car when I saw it!). A white, four door (none of this 5-door crap, it's a 4-door hatchback) Fiat Uno Start, with 1.0 litre engine, one previous owner, 24,000 miles on the clock, K-reg.
Er, wait a minute!
24,000 miles for a K REG ????!!!!
Apparently so, I was shown the logbook to prove it. The car had only one previous owner, a woman who just used it for nipping to the shops and picking up the kids! I couldn't believe my luck! And after paying for a year's tax, a year's breakdown cover and a year's fully-comp insurance for only £150 (as part of the deal), just how much did I pay for my wheels?
I kid you not.
So, a bargain was obtained by the boy Price, and three happy years of motoring commenced. No-one was safe.....
And now, finally, a bit about the car itself. I'm not even going to pretend I know anything technical about my car - I know how to drive it, to put unleaded fuel in it, and I've even changed my headlight bulbs and a tyre!
The car is a great wee runner, as with it's small (998cc) engine it is very economical - about 40 to the gallon, and I fill up on average twice every three weeks (it's got a small tank). I'm told it has a "fire" engine (mee maw mee maw), whatever that means. Although it's not a powerful car, the engine has fuel injection, and as such there is a fair amount of power available immediately when I put the accelerator down (you bad accelerator you!!), which is useful at junctions and roundabouts. About town the car ticks along nice
ly, with a nice smooth gear change, and responsive handling for a non-power steering vehicle. On the motorways, the car can keep to a decent speed with no trouble at all - 70-80 is no problem for my buggy, and it's mid-range acceleration in fifth gear is surprisingly good, although it doesn't like big hills as any speed tends to bleed off quite quickly. The back seats don't split, but then they don't really need to - as with most hatchbacks, the seats fold forward and the shelf comes out to provide a surprisingly large boot volume for such a small car. It seats two in the back comfortably, three at a push.
The equipment fit on the car is, to be honest, rather basic. It came with a cassette stereo which I soon replaced with a CD changer system which nestles nicely under the passenger seat. The car doesn't have a clock or even a cigarette lighter - which you might think is no inconvenience as I don't smoke, but it would be handy for an in-car mobile phone kit. Other than that, no problems inside the car. Although it doesn't have central locking, I don't miss it, with one neat touch being that you can't lock a front door from outside the car without a key, making it impossible to lock your keys in the car.
Now, reliability. In the nearly three years I've had the car, it has had the following done to it:
Cylinder head gasket repaired (under warranty)
Brake system master cylinder replaced (cost a few bob)
Main headlight bulbs replaced (consumable anyway)
Five new tyres (one as a spare change, the rest at MOTs)
Fuel pump replaced
Now, for a car that is now ten years old, that's not bad going. I have no problem with taking my car on a long journey, as I feel secure it will get me there and back with no problems. You can't give your car any higher endorsement than that, can you?
Insurance costs for my car are quite low - I don't know what group it's
in, but the main factor in my insurance quote is my own length of time driving and my no-claims bonus, not really what model the car is. I'm happy in this department too.
So, all in all, I'm very happy with my first (and so far only) car. Despite Kirsty's constant demands to "christen" the motor as a "Love Bug", I've only ever used it for driving from A to B! In the 3 years I've had it I've doubled it's mileage to 48,000, but it doesn't seem to mind. My buggy is a good friend who I would be lost without, and it's going to be a sad day when we finally part company. Unfortunately, that day isn't too far off - when I finish my PhD, I've got a new job lined up that will pay well enough to allow me to get a new buggy (probably an Astra - drove one as a hire car, loved it to bits). But I know that whatever I drive in the future, it'll have to go some to gain a favourable comparison to my buggy; the best friend a guy on the road could have.
By the way - you might be wondering abut the op title. Well, Fabrica Automobili Internazionale Torino (FIAT) just happen to be the owners of Ferrari. Hence, "Baby Ferrari". Well, it sounds more exotic than Fiat Uno, doesn't it?