A recent “Hidden Heroes” article on Honest John got my attention. They think my Fiat Bravo HGT is a future classic and there are only 21 left on the road in the U.K.
There were never many HGTs in New Zealand; I was told maybe Thirty total and just a dozen of the later 2001 HGT 155 model I have. According to some recent research (by a fellow Fiat enthusiast) there are now probably only three left on the road. Probably why the 155HGT plate, acquired last January, was still available over a decade after I first considered getting it!
My HGT is still in pretty good shape, despite being my daily drive (since 2008) and clocking up 255,000km. I have retired it to second ‘project’ car status but still drive it regularly. One day it will get the respray it deserves - mainly to address a minor passenger door carpark ding, softening clear coat on the roof and stone chips - to bring it back up to scratch on the exterior. I replaced the rubberised exterior door handles in 2013 as the originals went hard and crumbled in the Kiwi ultraviolet. I don’t know if Fiat changed the recipe but the replacement ones still look as good as new.
The interior has held up well, leather especially, other than the drivers seat bolster being a bit soft. Two ‘soft touch plastic’ window switch surround plates feel ‘gummy’ (Kiwi UV again I suspect) but the dash and other trims are like new.
It is still a good car to drive but is certainly more ‘Grand Touring' than ‘Hot Hatch’; especially compared to the Abarth Esseesse which took over daily duties!
“It’s funny how time skews your perceptions. Back when it first appeared in 1997, the Fiat Bravo HGT was very much an also-ran in hot hatch terms”
“Indeed, in a contemporary Performance Car road test, it was even beaten by the Ford Escort GTi, though that’s one we find particularly hard to understand.”
“Yet today, the Bravo HGT is a car whose classic credentials are right up there. Not only does it look like no other hatchback of its era, but it’s mechanically interesting, too. Neither of which statements apply to the Escort GTi”
“But today, the Bravo HGT is a very rare car indeed. At the end of last year, there were just 21 examples taxed and registered on the UK’s roads. From over 2,000 sold in Britain, that’s an astonishing, and quite tragic, attrition rate.”