Fiat Punto GT

André Gonçalo Oliveira Abreu ‘It was in bad shape – no wheels and up on bricks’

Fiat GT.jpg

Year: 1996

Mileage: 76,026

Acquired: 2016

Why did you choose it? 

I didn't choose it, the car chose me. Before I bought it, I was looking for a Golf MkII, but a friend of mine said he had a car that was off the road. When I saw it, the car was in bad shape – no wheels and up on bricks. I decided to buy the car because I saw its potential as a real pocket rocket.

What’s the best bit? 

The electronics that ’90s cars came with – this one has a Magneti Marelli ECU. And the turbo, of course – it gives 131hp, making the whole thing perfect and dangerous at the same time.

What’s the worst bit? 

If you get the turbo boosting in the middle of a corner – you can die. It takes ages to kick in – around three seconds – so you need to be careful.

Any modifications? 

No, I'm returning it to original condition. The car has enough power already – I like a car to put its power down on the road, not wheelspin it away.

What’s it like to run?

Well, here on Madeira island myself and my friends don't have too much help. Sometimes it’s difficult to get hold of parts and tyres – thank god we have the internet, so that we can find them from elsewhere around the world, as well as a few mechanics who can help us and fix our cars.

Any advice for buyers? 

Careful with the turbo, read the manual, check the oils, filters and all the stuff that keeps the car in a good shape. The more care you give it, the more the car will be good and preserved.

Any funny mishaps?

Last year I had five people in the car and was in the middle of the highway when the car starts to misfire and slow down. There was no smoke and no other signs that there was a major mechanical problem. I had to be towed home, suspecting it was the turbo. My mechanic checked the turbo, but it was OK. It turned out to be the HT lead of cylinder one – it had just popped out.

Lewis Plumb(E28), BMW M5