Nat Twiss of Petrolicious wonders if the Chris Bangle penned 90s Fiat Coupé style has “come of age’'?
Have you heard of the Fiat Coupé? I’ll admit, before my father bought one when I was a kid, I hadn’t, but when he brought it home I instantly fell in love with it. The sounds of the turbo, the decadent interior, and oh boy, the looks…
I seriously thought about getting one of these when shopping for a car to replace my mighty Uno. I remember seeing them arrive fresh off the boat at Continental Cars (then the Fiat agents) and loved the style. In addition to the shapely exterior there were some really nice details like the headlight ‘bumps’ (inspired by the female form), a chunky retro metal external filler cap and body coloured dashboard panel strip.
It was a true successor to the 70s Fiat 124 Coupé and 131 Racing Coupé. A sporty twin cam engine in a stylish two door body at an affordable (if not for me at the time) price. I wonder how the new (Mazda based) Fiat 124 will be regarded in comparison in a few decades?
In some ways I still regret opting for the Fiat Bravo HGT I eventually purchased, especially when I see a Coupé on the road! Although mechanically very similar — 2 litre, 5 cylinder, FWD — it’s a far more practical, rather less stylish, three door hatch. What tipped the balance was the Bravo was ridiculously affordable, OK cheap, in comparison.
Although barely six years old when I purchased depreciation — and perhaps people scared by its rarity in NZ* — and a dealer needing the space for the new 500 models meant I paid less than 1/5 of the $40,000 it cost when new**.
That was about 1/2 the price of an equivalent age/condition Coupé, so style lost out.
* I’ve been told only a dozen were sold here!
** There was the additional cost of front brake discs & pads (not cheap) and a top engine damper which needed replacing but that was factored into the price negotiation. The previous owner had just got through a major cam-belt service and had traded the Bravo in on an Alfa.