First new member of 2018

For three years running I have been fortunate in persuading our first new member of the year to jot a piece about themselves and their cars.  Here is Mike Emmett’s contribution for 2018.  Mike wonders whether the Barchetta will prove reliable.  Judging by many other members’ experiences I think this is an unnecessary concern.  Welcome to our Club Mike and Tracy.

Martin Garrad

(Membership Secretary)

January 2018

“First of all I would like to thank the Fiat Barchetta Club UK for accepting me as a member of the club. My wife Tracy and I have a bit of a love affair with Fiats. Our first Fiat was a Fiat Panda Mk1 in red with a double vinyl sunroof. That was nearly 30 years ago and we loved that car. Eventually corrosion got the better of it and sadly it had to go. Since then we have had various Fiats including Cinquecento’s, and Punto’s. Both of our daughters had Fiats when they passed their driving tests and they also loved them. We now have a small collection of Fiats. We have a Fiat Punto HGT which is a very rare car now. We have a Fiat Stilo Abarth (manual gearbox) which is also very rare. The other Fiat we own is a Fiat Coupe 20V Turbo which I adore. We have had the Coupe for approximately 5 years and maintaining it is not easy. Luckily I’m a mechanic and MOT tester so I do all the maintenance myself, it is definitely worth it, this car has opened up touring holidays in Europe for us. For the last 5 years our holidays have taken us to France, Italy, Switzerland and Spain all in the Fiat Coupe and we have had some fantastic times and seen things from the car that you would never see if you fly. So this is where the Barchetta comes in.

I started looking for a Barchetta a couple of years ago. I had never driven one nor sat in one and until a couple of years ago I’d never seen one. We went to an Italian sports car show at Stanford Hall near Lutterworth and that was the first time I saw one. I liked the look of it and I did a bit of research on the internet to find out more about them and then the hunt to find and buy one was on. I was looking for the right one though, I nearly bought a limited edition one over a year ago but I couldn’t make my mind up so I didn’t buy it.

The hunt for the right car continued and then last October a Riviera Edition in black was for sale in the Autotrader, I didn’t know at the time but it was also advertised on the UK Fiat Barchetta Club’s website. The car was in Devon, 200 miles from us but we decided it was worth a trip to have a look. We are so glad we did, we came back to Leicestershire with it and we love it. It had everything we wanted, full service history, hardtop, new mohair soft top, wind deflector and an unused original boot rack. The only problem was the hardtop headlining was sagging. I have now had that re-trimmed in matching red vinyl and it looks stunning.

The original plan for the Barchetta was to use it for our holidays. With it being left hand drive it will be perfect for continental driving. This year’s holiday was planned and booked before we bought the car and we would have gone in the Coupe if we hadn’t found a Barchetta, now we have one we’ll be using it. We are going to Anguillara Sabazia which is just North of Rome, approximately 1200 miles over 3 days. We are really looking forward to the drive and touring with the roof off in this beautiful sporty car. The preparation of the car for the holiday has already started; we have never had a problem with the Coupe on holidays so hopefully the Barchetta will perform as well.

Unfortunately our holiday clashes with the Barchetta Club’s holiday to Derbyshire but we will certainly aim to make it to other meetings when we can. We are looking forward to meeting other Barchetta owners to swap stories and experiences.”

Mike and Tracy Emmett

January 2018