The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

16 November 2006

A mighty mite

"Fiat" does not stand for "fuel injection and turbo", but their revival of the teensy Cinquecento has both of these things in small but serious abundance: a 900-cc two-cylinder engine turbocharged up to around 100 hp, which should turn the little Italian box (which will actually be built in Poland) into a screamer. Bigger engines, though not that much bigger, will be offered, and in addition to the cute little coupe, there will be a real live ragtop version.

Will we get these? Of course not. The crash-test dummies would be propelled into orbit. Then again, the same platform is being used for Ford's Ka minicar in Europe, so ... no, never mind. It will never happen.

As for that other explanation of "Fiat" — "Fix It Again, Tony" — well, that remains to be seen.

(Disclosure: I have gotten seat time in only one Fiat in my life: an early-Eighties Strada, which was the US name for the Ritmo. It weighed about 90 lb, or so it seemed, and was great fun to hurl around. Later I learned that if you kept the revs up, as one should do in Italian cars generally, you could actually avoid hearing it rust.)

Posted at 8:56 AM to Driver's Seat