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RE: Fiat Coupe: PH Buying Guide

RE: Fiat Coupe: PH Buying Guide

Monday 4th September 2017

Fiat Coupe: PH Buying Guide

One of Bangle's most famous designs and one of Fiat's better cars is now a modern classic - here's how to get the best



The Brussels Motor Show doesn't usually feature highly on car enthusiasts' radars, but in 1993 it had them jangling with excitement. Why? The launch of the Fiat Coupe.

Five cylinders soon replaced four, then came LE
Five cylinders soon replaced four, then came LE
Spy shots had already stirred up interest and when the Chris Bangle-styled and Pininfarina-assembled four-seat fastback eventually broke cover, it was everything Fiat fans had been waiting and hoping for. Sensational styling showcased the American designer's love of slashed wheelarch shapes, while inside the painted metal dash gave more than a nod to Italian sports cars of the 1950s and 60s.

Underneath, the Coupe was a little more run of the mill courtesy of its Fiat Tipo platform, but that didn't stop it from being very good to drive. After all, the same chassis underpinned the Alfa Romeo 155 and Lancia Delta.

It was from these cars the Coupe took its engines, too, in the form of 2.0-litre units with and without turbochargers. The turbo'd one was the same as the Delta Integrale and immediately caught the attention of road testers and buyers across Europe.

UK customers had to wait till 1995 for this Fiat to make its way across the English Channel, though fortunately the base 1.8-litre model also stayed put on the Continent. Less than two years after it arrived in the UK, Fiat upgraded the engine range with a new line-up of five-cylinder engines, again offered in naturally aspirated and turbocharged guises. Both were popular and offered plenty of power all the way through the rev range. However, it was the 20v Turbo that really appealed to keen drivers, even if all that power through the front wheels could prove too much for the tyres.

Grab one while they're still affordable!
Grab one while they're still affordable!
Fiat didn't stop tinkering with the Coupe even as the end of production neared. A revised non-turbo engine gained a Variable Inlet System (VIS) to increase power to 154hp along with a fly-by-wire throttle. In August 1999 a six-speed manual gearbox became standard for the 20v Turbo.

Now, you can still find Fiat Coupes for less than £1,000, though they will be scruffy and tired examples. Up that budget to £3,000 and you can have a tidy non-turbo car in decent nick, while £5,000 is where you start to find smart Turbo models. With the Coupe now being bought as a modern classic, prices are on the up for clean, original cars.


Models:
1,995cc 16v 142hp; 124mph, 0-60mph in 9.5 sec
1,995cc 16v Turbo 195hp; 140mph, 0-60mph in 6.8 sec
1,747cc 130hp (not officially sold in UK)
1,998cc 20v Turbo 220hp; 155mph, 0-60mph in 6.5 sec
1,998cc 20v 147hp; 132mph, 0-62mph in 8.9 sec
1,998cc 20v VIS 154hp; 135mph, 0-60mph in 8.4 sec


PHer's view:
"Values of Coupes can be all over the place and they should really be bought on condition rather than mileage. However, a full and very documented service history is a must as far as I'm concerned."
Rob Hamilton


Introduction
Powertrain
Rolling Chassis
Body
Interior
At a glance

Inspired? Buy a Fiat Coupe here

Author
Discussion

wormus

Original Poster:

8,805 posts

128 months

Sunday 3rd September 2017
quotequote all
I had a 20VT new back in 1998. It was the only new car I've ever owned and I loved it. Unfortunately, with the help of a tuning "expert" I tried to extract more power from it and ended up blowing it up. If only I'd left it standard!

Now they are driven by people like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojK2KeN5504 and the nice ones are silly money for what they are. I'd also look at a GTV Cup from the same era.

IainF

87 posts

180 months

Sunday 3rd September 2017
quotequote all
My wife had one - a 20V turbo, bought new in 1998. Served us well and I always really enjoyed driving it when i got the chance. It came to a sad end. We bought an Audi TTS roadster in 2009, and didn't give ourselves enough time to find a good home for the Fiat So in the end, and to my horror, a really nice car ended up as a £2,000 scrappage part exchange. A real shame.

robemcdonald

3,042 posts

121 months

Sunday 3rd September 2017
quotequote all
Fiat coupe buyers guide:

1. Build a time machine and go back ten years when there was one for sale.
2. Buy an Alfa GTV V6 instead.

J4CKO

23,256 posts

125 months

Sunday 3rd September 2017
quotequote all
A mate of mine has an as new 16 valve version, his mum used it for a bit and then stuck it in the garage, where it sat for ten years, 80k, most one by the original owner in its first three years, drove it a while back, drives ok, feels old and fairly slow, bit ponderous, even the 20VT I had was a bit boaty.

Itsallicanafford

1,729 posts

84 months

Sunday 3rd September 2017
quotequote all
robemcdonald said:
Fiat coupe buyers guide:

1. Build a time machine and go back ten years when there was one for sale.
2. Buy an Alfa GTV V6 instead.
Looks wise the Alfa has it, but the 20VT is the quicker car
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kambites

53,084 posts

146 months

Sunday 3rd September 2017
quotequote all
robemcdonald said:
Fiat coupe buyers guide:

1. Build a time machine and go back ten years when there was one for sale.
2. Buy an Alfa GTV V6 instead.
Unless you actually want to put people in the back seats. Or anything bigger than a tooth-brush in the boot. smile

Both lovely things, but if I could live with the impracticality of the Alfa I wouldn't be buying a FWD hatch-derived car at all. smile

vanman1936

256 posts

144 months

Monday 4th September 2017
quotequote all
robemcdonald said:
Fiat coupe buyers guide:

1. Build a time machine and go back ten years when there was one for sale.
2. Buy an Alfa GTV V6 instead.
Not sure about that - I had both, Fiat Coupe a far better car on all fronts really.

george123

287 posts

107 months

Monday 4th September 2017
quotequote all
kambites said:
Unless you actually want to put people in the back seats. Or anything bigger than a tooth-brush in the boot. smile

Both lovely things, but if I could live with the impracticality of the Alfa I wouldn't be buying a FWD hatch-derived car at all. smile
Don't really get the view that the boot on a GTV is small. Yes the opening is relatively narrow but provided you don't have a space saver and just carry a can of tyre gunk , you can easily get a weeks shopping in there or enough hold alls for a weekend away . As for no room in the back ... of course there isn't ! Who'd buy one expecting to get 4 people on board ?!

Did you have TS or V6? As for being FWD, was it really that much of a problem for you 99.9% of the time ?


spookly

1,865 posts

20 months

Monday 4th September 2017
quotequote all
I've had an Alfa GTV v6 and had four Fiat Coupe 20vt. I really wanted to like the Alfa, but it just isn't as fun as the Fiat. If you want a bit more oomph then the Fiat is also easily tuned for more, whereas the Alfa would cost big money to tune.

robemcdonald

3,042 posts

121 months

Monday 4th September 2017
quotequote all
Apologies. My somewhat flippant post wasn't meant to start a gtv vs fiat coupe debate.
To each his own. That said I think you would be struggling to find a nice coupe for sensible money. With the Alfa at least you stand a chance of finding a good one.
As for the question of speed. If you want a really fast car you'd spend your cash on something 4wd and Japanese at that money. These cars are about more than outright pace.

Dion20vt

238 posts

87 months

Monday 4th September 2017
quotequote all
Dammit PH! I was looking at one of these a few weeks/months back and thought the prices were low compared to the alternatives of the same era....

Now everyone will know our secret! biggrin

viggyp

1,079 posts

60 months

Monday 4th September 2017
quotequote all
I have a '99 20VT as a daily and it is pretty economical when driven with some restraint (which is difficult) but with the lead foot, it is a hooligan which likes a drink smile

I also like the fact that it is a great cruiser on dual carriageways and motorways yet can devour sweeping country roads and long straights with minimal fuss.

I've had a few problems as it was in a garage for a while engine-less so it's had some "rebuild" teething problems but I love it. My mate has two, his daily which he just restored and did an amazing job on and he bought one which he intends to restore and sell. He can't stand decent ones being broken because someone can't be bothered to spend a few hundred on a specific problem.

Admittedly, for some reason I've been seeing loads around wherever I've been lately.

Edited by viggyp on Monday 4th September 11:49

andyps

7,725 posts

207 months

Monday 4th September 2017
quotequote all
I've said before that I have a 20VT Coupe which I've owned for around 15 years now, taking it from 34k miles to currently about 25 under 200k. For the last 5 years it has been a second car with the main use being hillclimbing so it still gets used hard. Unfortunately that may have contributed to the original engine failing at 198600 miles - typical poor Fiat reliability there!

Slightly disappointed to see the first post saying that is the type of driver they now have, that isn't my experience although I guess I do try and race mine, but in the right location - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nM_5LymyqA At one event Alisdair who wrote the article was competing in an Abarth 695 Competitzione and was only a few 100th quicker than me so there is still some speed in the Coupe, mine running pretty standard in terms of the engine currently.

Good fun cars and cheaper than they should be at the moment - but I'm bound to say that!

LordHaveMurci

8,727 posts

94 months

Monday 4th September 2017
quotequote all
Owned 2 x 20VT's, great fun to drive & far more reliable than some would have you believe.

Nearly bought an Alfa GTV to replace the 1st one, tempting though that Busso V6 was, the Fiat made much more sense, especially as we had two young kids at that time.

Replaced the 2nd with a Mk5 Golf GTi, never been so bored & only kept it for 9mths!

David87

4,594 posts

137 months

Monday 4th September 2017
quotequote all
Never knew the 16v models existed. That's today's learning complete. hehe

ToothbrushMan

816 posts

50 months

Monday 4th September 2017
quotequote all
if youre not put off by welding work then they are worth saving. rust is the killer like many fiats. mechaincals can be ripped out easy and replaced but panel work takes a bit more commitment to get sorted. if you love em youll do it properly and not just list it as a spares repairs car.

marculos

12 posts

116 months

Monday 4th September 2017
quotequote all
I had a 20v N/A and was glorious to drive at the time. Took her across the alps with no breakdown cover and didn't miss a beat, amazing 2nd gear corners !

She did let me down on numerous ocassions though, clutch slave went on a roundabout, throttle cable snapped (had to make one as couldn't source a replacement), a few engine sensors broke which means it wouldn't start, something on rear brakes seized costing hundreds to fix. Finally I ignored a bit of a wobble and the wheel fell off on way home from work and was written off !

Bit if a money pit but when it worked was great ! Motormech in Birmingham are great coupe specialists.

timmyjimmy1975

2 posts

5 months

Monday 4th September 2017
quotequote all
I had a sprint blue 20VT for a coupe of years and thought it was great fun. Not the cheapest to run but faster than most cars at the time and looked fab!

alisdairsuttie

53 posts

106 months

Monday 4th September 2017
quotequote all
Hi Andy. I remember your Coupe very well at Harewood a couple of years back. A 69.52 is pressing on!

Hope to see you out in 2018!

unsprung

1,337 posts

49 months

Monday 4th September 2017
quotequote all

The sexy Italian. Who doesn't love that painted dash?

In three months the first year of production will become 25 years old -- thus qualifying it for importation to the US with essentially no controls whatsoever.