RE: Shed of the Week: Fiat Seicento Sporting

RE: Shed of the Week: Fiat Seicento Sporting

Friday 19th October 2018

Shed of the Week: Fiat Seicento Sporting

The Seicento Sporting shrugs off knocks, scratches and unidentifiable brownage



Have you ever bought a used car off a used car dealer's forecourt? It seems like a quaint and slightly old-fashioned thing to do, not to mention a potentially expensive thing to do.

Take this week's Shed, a Fiat Seicento Sporting. If you live local to it and fancy a bit of Italian silliness on your drive, you could walk up and then drive away having paid the window sticker price of £1895 for it. Then one of your mickey-taking mates will find it here on PH Classifieds at £1095 and your life will instantly take a turn for the worse. Just goes to show that there's no mercy in the used car biz.

Launched in 1998, the Seicento was meant to be a modern version of the classic old Fiat 600. The new car was bigger than the old one, but not by that much. To emphasise the point, Fiat went to the trouble of having it built in a Polish town called Tychy. True fact dat.


Barely troubling the scales at below 750kg, the Seicento went surprisingly well even with a neolithic pushrod 899cc four under the bonnet. From 2000 it moved up to a supercar-like fuel-injected 1.1 FIRE engine with a non-interference timing belt. The Sporting model came with dropped suspension along with anti-roll bars and 13-inch 'steelie style' alloys. Annoyingly it didn't get the Cinquecento Sporting's red seatbelts, but it did get a centrally mounted dashtop tacho, hurray!

You'll have to take more than a couple of brave pills before biting down on this particular car. The lower 'Abarth' plastics appear to have taken a bit of a pasting, with a couple of big chips and some odd paint staining up front. There's a goodly amount of brownage showing in the hatch latchplate area, which may not bode well for the rust-prone petrol tank, and a suspicion of more nastiness lurking in the arches.

Further investigation of the MOTs dating back to 2006 unearths what you might call a rich and interesting history. It's had loads of bother with misaligned headlights and even more with the brakes. At some point in 2007 or 2008, between 65k and 71k, it had a structure-damaging bump that put it in the workshop for a good few weeks. In 2015 it failed on a ridiculous number of steering and braking issues, suggesting either some 'home servicing' had taken place or that it had received mechanical attention from the automotive equivalent of Dr Harold Shipman.


Generally, you don't want to zoom in too hard on this car. It's most likely been boshed around all its life by uncaring owners, but the good thing about these is they are tough to the bone having been designed to take the sort of abuse that an angry and/or hyped-up Italian might dish out on a daily basis on the mad streets of Milan or Rome. Vacuum pipes do leak, throttles do stick and the cable-operated clutch mechanism is a bit pants. Otherwise, you may thrash it with a clear conscience, advice that has by the looks of it been diligently followed by previous owners.

Although the suspicion is that it's been serviced by A Baboon & Sons, or possibly by nobody at all, it's always been put right to get it through each new test, which maybe makes you think that Sportings generate owner love. It's just gone through another test. For about the millionth time the headlights have needed readjustment. A new shock will be needed at some point for the back end, though given the crudity of the suspension on these you probably won't notice much difference between before and after. It won't cost you much to find out.


More worryingly, there's an advisory for corrosion on the offside front floor. That could be an after-effect of repairs done on that bump 10 years ago, or it may be the normal expectation for a low-priced Italian supermini that's now 19 years old. Factor in the 1.5 star Euro NCAP crash rating (see pic below) and this is beginning to sound like the last car a sane person would want to buy.

But it will be brilliant in town, brilliantly terrifying on the open road and brilliantly scary on the motorway where you will be able to admire the wheel nuts of Bulgarian artics as they thunder past your right ear. Chucking a 1.2 Punto engine in it will allow you to make more forays into other lanes.

It will be dirt cheap to insure, and with some determination on your part, dirt cheap to buy. The dealer will know full well that even £1095 is crazy money for this one. Just march into his premises with a printout of this story in your grubby mitt and get to work on massaging his discounting gland.

Here's the ad.


Author
Discussion

SmartVenom

Original Poster:

406 posts

106 months

Friday 19th October 2018
quotequote all
It has a certain cuteness going for it as a model, but this particular example just seems a route to a whole lot of pain. Many better ways to blow a grand.

Cambs_Stuart

351 posts

21 months

Friday 19th October 2018
quotequote all
I've seen a few of these for less than £500, which makes it a tempting prospect as a town car.
But for a grand I'd be looking at the suzuki ignis from a couple of weeks ago.

Limpet

3,197 posts

98 months

Friday 19th October 2018
quotequote all
Perfect station car material.

Drive Blind

2,903 posts

114 months

Friday 19th October 2018
quotequote all
There was a Schumacher special edition of these iirc

Not sure what it added though, hidden traction control ? hehe

Tin Hat

724 posts

146 months

Friday 19th October 2018
quotequote all
The previous generation was better looking
Advertisement

Nigel_O

1,523 posts

156 months

Friday 19th October 2018
quotequote all
What’s a “non-interference timing belt”?

Eng274

86 posts

48 months

Friday 19th October 2018
quotequote all
Nigel_O said:
What’s a “non-interference timing belt”?
If the belt snaps, the valves won't strike the pistons.

When they were new, I used to think these were respectable looking cars in Sporting trim, vast improvement looks wise over the Cinquecento.

Mark-C

2,760 posts

142 months

Friday 19th October 2018
quotequote all
So the Ad states "FIAT SEICENTO 1.1 Sporting From 1,095 + Retail Package” ...

That would put me off even bothering to phone.

ElectricPics

491 posts

18 months

Friday 19th October 2018
quotequote all
Nigel_O said:
What’s a “non-interference timing belt”?
As I'm sure you know, there's no such thing. There are non interference engines, and timing belts.

As for this week's shed, I had the misfortune to drive one of these when they were new. One of the most uncomfortable cars I've ever sat in and a rubbish drive. The not much bigger Panda of the time was far superior.

the_hood

385 posts

131 months

Friday 19th October 2018
quotequote all
Old Fiat which crumples like an empty crisp packet? Erm....., no thanks.

BS62

1,646 posts

103 months

Friday 19th October 2018
quotequote all
My sister had one of these a few years ago more or less identical to this shed. I borrowed it for s couple of weeks when between cars. Main takeaways were:
1) it was only £700 4 or 5 years ago so £1k+ seems steep for a guaranteed nightmare and probable scrapper.
2) it was the worst car I’ve ever driven on a motorway.
3) it was the most fun car I’ve ever driven around town.

sjabrown

1,243 posts

97 months

Friday 19th October 2018
quotequote all
Nope. No no no no no no no.

Filibuster

1,128 posts

152 months

Friday 19th October 2018
quotequote all
Considering this came out in 1998, that safety rating is appalling!!!
I pass...

I'd much rather have an original smart fortwo, which came out the same year and is a much safer car! Also the better super mini/station parking car.
Also much better looking and, well much better really!

Foodfocus

31 posts

83 months

Friday 19th October 2018
quotequote all
I had one of these as my first car. I absolutely loved it, drove the wheels of it and it soon became known as 'The Fiat of Fear'. Perhaps unsurprisingly it got written off.

Great fun things to hammer round town in, and surprisingly quick across a B road. The distinct lack of weight meaning it felt quite a bit quicker than equivalent puntos, fiestas etc. At 6 foot 5 though it was a bit of a tight squeeze; and always seemed to amuse the odd passer by.

I still miss it 10 years on. I don't miss the 350 mile slog up to uni in it though!

Bladedancer

939 posts

133 months

Friday 19th October 2018
quotequote all
No. Just no. I had the doubtful pleasure of driving one of these many years ago (when the car was fairly new) and please, don't do it.
It's not 'cute'. It's crude. In a crash it folds like a paper bag. Yes it is cheap to run. It is in fact just cheap.
This car was designed to a price and sold predominantly in countries where people couldn't afford anything better.

RTB

6,830 posts

195 months

Friday 19th October 2018
quotequote all
Foodfocus said:
Perhaps unsurprisingly it got written off.
hehe a cracked wing mirror glass would probably be enough to make it a total loss

BFleming

815 posts

80 months

Friday 19th October 2018
quotequote all
Drive Blind said:
There was a Schumacher special edition of these iirc
Yes, you're right. From what I remember it had a bodykit and ABS.

the_hood said:
Old Fiat which crumples like an empty crisp packet? Erm....., no thanks.
And that was when it was new. Imagine how it would crumple 20 years later?

Like a previous poster, I remember driving a Seicento back when they were new, and thinking how bad it was. They belong on the streets of (insert Italian city/town) and have little place anywhere else. The styling, whilst not that different from the Cinquecento, always reminded me of one of those 'made in a shed' city cars that the Italians love.
It's hardly the epitome of the Shed name. Looking forward to next week already.

J4CKO

26,089 posts

137 months

Friday 19th October 2018
quotequote all
Good points, bit like the one In the Inbetweeners, otherwise, not much.

ToothbrushMan

1,475 posts

62 months

Friday 19th October 2018
quotequote all
Having owned both sportings of the ilk - sei and cinq the sei had no guts to it whatsoever (unless mine was a duffer). For comparison the same 54bhp engine in the earlier Cinq felt like a rocket around town. Max torque of a whopping 63 lb/ft arrived at a thrashy 4,000rpm and you could scream the tits off it.
The engine in the Seicento did not like to rev and felt awfully slow and I dont think that unresponsiveness is all down to a slight weight gain either. Fiat fettled with the engine for the worse IMHO. Torque was lower down I think maybe 2,250rpn and was all done by 2,251rpm - thats how feeble it felt. You got no kick like you did in the Cinq. Rev counter was in the proper place too - and not in a tiny binnacle mounted on top of the dash like some aftermarket dial.

Low weight meant you could slingshot the Cinq off the line and hit 45 mph really quickly. Motorways were kind of ok but bear in mind that we are taking about over 20 years ago......22 in the case of that Cinq. 95 (N) reg.3

Never really like the sei Schumy edition but preferred the much less "special decals edition" Abarth version which carried the same bodykit and alloys with a flash of abarth badges all round. You can get away with an abarth badge on a 90s fiat - you cant really get away with a michael schooey badge on one. same for the Stilo of the same vintage. Rubbish.

Agreed - would hate to have a crash in one. Very cramped footwells.

Id have a good rust free Cinq Sporting (or properly repaired) in my garage in an instant - yellow or grey. If only for the red seat belts LOL.

IanCress

4,385 posts

103 months

Friday 19th October 2018
quotequote all
No no no. It's not special enough to be worth more than £300. Quite why the dealer has it up at £1895 I have no idea. Do they think these may be appreciating? They're not.

I had that engine in a Punto 55S and it was god awful. I realise the Punto was significantly heavier (FIAT had reluctantly started adding safety features when the Punto came along) but the engine was as flat as anything.