Fiat Seicento Sporting | Shed of the Week

For when you're fed up with getting the bus…

By Tony Middlehurst / Friday, March 26, 2021 / Loading comments

Ah yes, the Seicento Sporting. We had one of these in October 2018, an 88,000-mile W-plater that at the time of writing had just flown through its MOT test with no advisories. Oddly, that car failed another MOT just six months later on a raft of issues including, amongst many other things, excessive offside corrosion that you would have thought must have taken longer than six months to develop. Hmm. Maybe it had been parked the wrong way on an east coast seafront and a council gritter driver with a grudge against Fiats had sat there churlishly blasting it for a few hours.

Anyway, just three weeks after its major fail, that W-plate car skipped through another test with zero advisories, showing either a fierce determination on the owner's part to spend what would certainly have been more than the value of the car to keep it on the road, or – well, let's just say that its Covid-extended MOT expired last October and was not renewed. You call it.

Still, as Shed tells himself on a daily basis, let's not dwell on the past, especially as today's Sporting looks like a different and altogether rather more tasty kettle of fish. Its MOT history is just as interesting as that earlier rustbucket's, but this time for all the right reasons. It's covered 57,000 miles now, which doesn't sound high for a 2002 car, but it is for this particular Sei because as recently as three years ago it had only done 23,000 miles. It didn't move at all between 2006 and 2011, at which point with just 7,000 miles on the clock it was hauled out of the garage and put to some very limited (2-3,000 miles a year) use.

Now it's up for sale with nothing of note on the MOT history bar the usual signs of a hardly driven motor, ie perishing tyres and wiper blades. If you buy it, you'll have until the end of this year to replace a track rod, a ten quid item.

Then what would you have? In literal terms, not a lot. The whizzy FIRE engine only had 54hp at 5,500rpm and 63lb ft at 3,250rpm, but unlike a real fire engine the Sporting weighed just 735kg so it felt quicker than the 13.8sec 0-60 time might suggest. Not as quick-feeling as the Cinquecento with the same engine but still good fun in town and on the right small roads, if not on the motorways.

Like most cheap Fiats, the Sporting was designed to be hammered everywhere by uncaring Italians. It wouldn't quite do 90mph but by engaging Seicento cruise control (a paving stone rested against the throttle pedal) you could fizz along at 89mph until other traffic or your final destination got in the way. You'll get 55mpg in steady A-roads cruising and you'll do well to get worse than 45mpg.

The vendor, who also appears to own an Aston DB7, says he has prepared the car to a high standard and that the interior is mint. The pics indicate that this is no idle boast. The shots of the painted parts are the important ones. Rust would normally be a big problem with one of these, or with any mass produced car of this vintage, but the owner tells us that there is no rust. Better yet he has undersealed it. Again the pics would appear to back that up.

One thing nobody can help the Fiat's body with is its strength, or lack of it. These cars famously scored 1.5 on the Euro NCAP crash-o-meter, which is only a good score if you like the thought of a cosier cabin environment after a 10mph tap from a Citroen 2CV, children's tricycle or similar. Clutch cables snap quite often (again, ten quid to buy but ten times that to get it installed), suspension bushes wear for fun, screen wash pipes split and if your feet are bigger than those of a Milanese teenager's you'll curse the tangle they'll get into and the absence of anywhere to rest them. Which is odd as there's loads of headroom. Who did they make this car for? Carmen Miranda? One for the old folk there.

The other Sporting mentioned at the beginning was up for £1,095 in October 2018, or £1,895 if you were unlucky enough to find it on the forecourt rather than on the internet. Today's shed is £1,495. Some might think that the '1' needs removing from that price before negotiations start, but if you're after a Seicento Sporting you're unlikely to find a better or a more original one than this.

Many readers of that 2018 Seicento Sporting story said that they wouldn't touch it with yours, that they'd rather be in the bus queue being shouted at than be in one, worst shed in living memory etc. Post(ish) Covid, is there no softening in your hearts for these little yella fellas?

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