Something for the weekend – the Fiat Barchetta

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When Fiat launched the Barchetta, the small sports car sector was experiencing a renaissance thanks to Mazda’s MX-5.

Unlike the Mazda, though, the Barchetta did without rear-wheel drive, opting instead for the front-wheel drive setup of the Punto it was based on.

Translated as ‘little boat’, you might have expected that the Barchetta would lack the dynamic polish of its contemporary rivals. But what the diminutive Italian lacked in dynamism, it more than made up for with oodles of style.

Prices have remained steady over the past few years, too, no doubt helped by the left-hand drive two-seater’s relative obscurity, but it now falls well within the affordable camp.

We found this car on the classifieds of C&SC for £3495. It has covered 60,400 miles, has a stainless-steel exhaust and an alarm.

With relatively few miles there shouldn’t be anything to worry about, with the VVT variator the sole known weak spot. A diesel-like start up and huffy performance would point to this problem, although replacing it, the cambelts and bearings should be relatively cheap at around £400. The fiatforum.com is an excellent resource when it comes to diagnosing any other issues.

Or you could opt for something untouched like this. A 2005 model, it has covered only 3800 miles and is an orignal UK-registered car. It also comes with 12 months MoT, a six-month warranty and has been fully waxoiled. Unfortunately, it’s also a face-lifted car, having lost some of the purity of the original designed – not helped by the EU-legislated third brake light.

Here at C&SC, of course, it’s hard not to be tempted by the Barchetta’s forefather – the 124. It has the same pretty looks as the Barchetta, but adds to the mix rear-wheel drive and this example is yours for only £6250.

As always, we have our free guide to buying your very own Barchetta, which you can find here.

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