Lost and Found

A joyful tale of how member Alan Norris fell in love with first one then another yellow Barchetta, regretted selling his car but his story has a happy ending!

Martin Garrad

(Membership Secretary)

June 2018

In the spring of 1996, my partner and I attended an Auto Fair in Alicante, Spain as we owned a villa nearby.  There were many beautiful cars to see, however, a FIAT Barchetta in Broom Yellow definitely caught my eye. The amazing pop out door handles, its graceful “boat like” lines and of course the grab your attention yellow paintwork really made me think.

The following year in the summer we decided to explore further the possibility of purchasing a Barchetta.  I contacted FIAT HQ and they advised us that there was a Broom Yellow Barchetta for sale in Worthing, Sussex. We travelled from Hampshire, and there in the showroom was this fabulous car, a mix of Art Deco and Contemporary styling, roof down, and desperate to be released from the showroom, and head out onto the open road.

We purchased the car, for £15,000, and it was registered on the 1st August, 1997, with a personal plate spelling R111CKK  (for Richard)…. We drove the Barchetta many times down to Alicante, via the Portsmouth to Bilbao ferry and then down to Madrid, over the Somo De Sierra Mountains and onto Alicante.

It is absolutely amazing how much luggage we could get in the boot and the space behind the seats where the hood drops down.  We enjoyed the car immensely right up to 2004 when an article in the local Echo motoring section reported that the Barchetta had been face lifted, perhaps 200 were on their way to the UK, and then the model would be discontinued.

We immediately headed to our local FIAT garage, and ordered a new Yellow Barchetta, and part exchanged the old one for the new one. 

Can you believe that the new one in 2004, was just £11,995.00 plus £500.00 for Broom Yellow paint work? The new model, with face-lifted nose and additional 3rd brake light on the boot. The car never let us down, and we enjoyed her company until 2015, when we exchanged her, extremely reluctantly for an SUV……….Biggest mistake of my life!!!

I did not get on with the SUV, and eventually sold it to Webuyanycar.com!!

Ever since, we have been searching on Autotrader for another Barchetta, however ours had been garaged every night, had a full service history, including Variator Valve exchanges, and had covered only 43,000 miles over 11 years…….How would we ever find a comparable replacement?

Roll forward to Wednesday 23rd May 2018 and what popped up on Autotrader, was a photo of the nose of a yellow Barchetta, with my old number plate on it…………….

For sale in Wiltshire, and with just an additional 4,000 miles on it!!!

I ‘phoned the dealer, told him the story, and within 8 hours had visited the garage from Dorset, and secured the car……. Phew, thank goodness for the power of the internet…

So it has been back in our possession for just a few days now, and luckily the sun has been shining ever since so we have enjoyed open topped motoring once again. It is amazing how the 1990s styling has continued to look as contemporary today as when they were first manufactured.

We shall have the car on display at the Italian night, for “Quay for my Car”, on Poole Quay on the 20th July, hope to see you there. Please say Hi if you come along.

Regards Alan & Rick