Barchetta ownership – Julian Strutt

In truth I didn’t intend to buy a Barchetta (but I am glad that I did!) – I had owned an Alfa Romeo 146 and went to a garage near Stansted airport in April 2006 to buy an Alfa Spider – however I took one out for a road test and hated it. Luckily in the back of the garage was this car – they couldn’t move it as it was stuck in the corner so I went back with my wife the following week, test drove it and loved – even more so as it was unique– It was a one previous owner car, first registered in July 2003 and just over 25,000 miles when we bought it.

As it was still within its 3 year warranty, I took it to my local Fiat Main Dealer and it had a load of warranty work done including a new variator, new clock (!), amongst other things. Just to put things in perspective I was at my local Fiat Main Dealer a few weeks ago (my daughter has just taken delivery of a Fiat 500) and they didn’t know what my car was!

So what have I done to the car over the last 10+ years? Not a huge amount and it has been a daily driver throughout that period for both me and my wife yet we have only just passed 60,000 miles.

Within a year of having the car I did take it to DTR (their old premises in East Sheen) for a service and I had a strut brace fitted. Hoever as that is a long trip I discovered Avanti Autos in Ipswich and they have looked after the car ever since (Mario). I have only ever seen one other Barchetta in their garage at the same time as mine which I believe was owned by a former member of staff.

I very rarely see other B’s in this part of the world – again back in the early days of ownership I did meet up with some other B owners (arranged through Facebook) and I have been to an Italian car event at Brooklands but these have been one off events.

The car has been out in all weathers – only in the past 4 years has it been garaged. I have been involved in a couple of non fault claims – a neighbour reversed into my driver’s door (I still need to sort out the door card fixings as they have never been right since it was repaired) and a neighbour’s fence blew onto it when parked – luckily his insurance paid for nearly a whole body respray and some new headlights!

Recently I have had to replace the softop roof as the plastic window cracked and tore (age). I picked up a complete roof on ebay for £100 – when I collected it, I was pleased to find that it was a mohair roof so I was able to have a straight swap with the exisiting roof – bargain!

I have also bought a few bits and pieces from Henk at – the small door speakers, rear view mirror. I do want to replace the rubber seals on the softop at some point but the cost!!!!

The most recent purchase was my hardtop – I have been after one for a while and finally have got a Wiesmann – apparently only 270 were originally made. I had to drive to the Netherlands to get it but it was well worth the trip (It is currently on the car – see photo). The fit is excellent plus it is made of fibreglass. I did have to use Avanti to get the heated screen to work but it works fine now.

My wife and I both love driving the car and we often take it up to the top of Norfolk or to the coast – it is a car that we will always keep as it is unique and fun to drive.

I do have a passion for other Italian vehicles – this is my daily ‘driver’ to the station – I have had this from new (1986) and recently had a bare metal restoration to keep it going for another 20 years plus!

There are a few things I do need to sort on the car – front bumper needs a repair or replacement, the drivers door card needs some new fixings and I think a replacement variator / major service is due in the next few months!

Hope to see some more B’s on the road soon!

Julian Strutt

January 2017