Fiat Cinquecento Sporting Turbo: Spotted

If you were arriving at the heady age of 17 in the early 2000s, the idea of running a hot hatch as your first car was about as viable as finding a half-decent guitar band anywhere near the Top 10.

But if you absolutely had to have hot hatch looks and a drive that'd plaster a grin across your chops, there was one option you could turn to. And if you spent enough time scouring the data tables in the backs of car magazines, you'd happen upon it: the Fiat Cinquecento Sporting.

The hot Cinquecento was a great looking thing, all square-jawed aggro up front and cheeky buns at the back, and yet its Group 3 insurance put it within reach of many a new driver.

Of course, the reason for that cheap insurance was that, beneath the looks and despite the neat handling, the Cinquecento had all the power of an asthmatic bee, with a maximum power figure of - wait for it - 54hp.

This one, mind you, is slightly different. Just six years after it was registered, a former owner decided 54hp wasn't enough for him. Which is rather understandable, really. So he took this particular car to Van Aaken, who slapped a Garrett T15 turbo onto it, a conversion they carried out for more than a few Sporting owners.

The advert doesn't mention any power figures, but a quick browse around suggests the turbo kit was enough to double the power output. There is some question over the quality of the kit, mind you, with some commentators suggesting it didn't make for a particularly reliable conversion. Then again, when was buying a fast, small Italian car ever a reliability choice?

We'd have it just for the looks. The selling dealer has carried out quite a bit of renovation work, if the ad is to be believed, and mentions the phrase 'baby Integrale' just a little too often to be convincing. Nevertheless, you can see where they're going with it, especially with the addition of the dark grey Compomotive wheels and the big farty exhaust hanging out of the back bumper.

All this can be yours for just... oh, wait, it's six grand. Crikey. You know when people say 'That's a lot of car for the money'? Well, that, but, the opposite. Then again, as young Mr Bird commented, "people have spent considerably more on far worse things". And where are you going to find another that's been done so well?

We'll leave it to you to decide whether it's worth the cash, then. And meanwhile, we'll be off somewhere trying to find a stock Sporting to relive that perfect first car.


Engine: 1,108cc, four cylinder
Transmission: five-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): 110
Torque (lb ft): N/A
CO2: N/A
First registered: 1996
Recorded mileage: 70,000 miles
Price new: £6,922 (+ turbo conversion)
Price now: £5,995

See the original advert here



P.H. O'meter

Join the PH rating wars with your marks out of 10 for the article (Your ratings will be shown in your profile if you have one!)

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Rate this article

Comments (32) Join the discussion on the forum

  • JonChalk 28 Jan 2018

    No, no & no again.

    So unbelievably unreliable - my OH had one back in the nineties & it spent more time in the hands of the fantastically sh*t FIAt dealers that it got traded for a Fiesta as soon as she possibly could afford to.

    Age does not make a classic. This one needs consigning to the bin.

  • redhanded 28 Jan 2018

    That looks like fun. And every time you survived a journey in it you could buy a lottery ticket. I had one in the 90's. NCAP were a little concerned I seem to remember. Whats the worse that could happen.

    Edited by redhanded on Sunday 28th January 17:40

  • jet_noise 28 Jan 2018

    I had mine done by VA.
    Was a hoot for the 2 weeks it worked... 2 years.

    Looked great - yellow on 14" black RD wheels.
    Twin DTM style centre exit cat back exhaust.

    Blew a head gasket.
    Hardly ever ran right and VA shrugged their shoulders after 2 attempts to get it working.
    Put me off modified cars for years!

  • rallycross 28 Jan 2018

    These are funny little things I had one about ten years ago and it was their ex demo car that had been owned by a barrister from nearly new and he had clocked up 80,000 miles in it then traded it in for a new Lotus ( he got less than a grand in p/x).

    It had all the bits from new from Van Aken with Mini-light wheels centre exit exhaust uprated suspension fuel/airflow controller and most importantly that tiny little turbo - no lag.

    It was fun being so small and quite quick upto about 70 mph, sadly it was nothing like as quick as the old uno turbo i.e. were. I think I sold it for about £1700 which seemed ok at the time. There is no way one of these is good enough to drive to justify spending £5k on one. Here is my old one ( we called it the Van Hallen!).

  • thewildblue 28 Jan 2018

    I had a VA turbo back in 1997 to early 99. Was superb fun, put about 40k on it. Turbo went twice from what I recall. Was epic fun and dirt cheap to run with fuel and insurance. Mine would pull off the clock ( 120 at around 6k IRC) no problem all the way to the limiter in 5th. I remember having uprated front arb, abarth springs and drilled discs. Used to run on semi slick yokos and they gripped like poo to a blanket.

View all comments in the forums Make a comment