Fiat Coupe 20-valve Turbo

Chris Lake ‘The acceleration and sound is pretty addictive’

Fiat coupe green.jpg
  • Year: 1997

  • Mileage: 54,000

  • Acquired: 2015

  • Dream car: Ferrari 250 SWB


Why the Fiat Coupe?

I am a great fan of Italian cars in general and Fiat sportscars in particular. For what this one offers in the way of visual impact and performance, it seems to me that there is nothing to touch it in this price bracket. When it was launched back in 1993 I had real reservations about the looks, but over the years I came to appreciate the boldness of the design. When this one turned up it was too good to pass up. 

What’s your favourite bit about it? 

It’s difficult to choose between the looks and the performance. As a piece of design, it’s timeless – if it was launched today it would not look like a 25-year old car. The acceleration and sound of the 5- cylinder engine is pretty addictive. It has a lovely gearchange and is surprisingly refined and practical, seating four plus luggage and the visibility front and rear is much better than cars today. So overall it’s an easy car to live with.

What’s your least favourite bit about it?

The turning circle is unbelievable. Also for some reason the plastic coating on part of the centre console seems to go sticky with age. 

What’s it like to run?

So far the ownership experience has been largely painless. Parts availability is average but there are at least three specialists in the UK devoted to this model and the club following seems enthusiastic. The fuel economy is also very good bearing in mind the performance.

Any advice for buyers?

Go for originality and low owners. Check the oil pressure when warm and look for exhaust smoke and corrosion.

 What next?

This Fiat has as much performance and drama but I have always hankered after an early 1970s Lancia 2000 HF, but there aren't many left. If I can’t find a good RHD one, I will happily stick with my Fiat 850 Sport Coupe.