Roger Tye is the first of four new members to join us so far this year. He has kindly shared this account of life with his Barchetta thereby continued our tradition of previous years. Roger and his partner Jeni have booked to for the “Simply Italian” day at Beaulieu in April and we look forward to meeting them. Here is his story and thank you Roger. (and his very tolerant Jeni!)
We are the proud owners of a yellow 1998 car, originally registered in France and then imported to the UK in 2003. It was imported to Bristol by a guy named Bruce who immediately gave it to his girlfriend as a present! She kept the car until 2007 when it was purchased by former Owners’ Club member Phil Healey who used it for continental road trips and car shows in the Kent area.
I met my partner Jeni about 15 years ago—-and after about 8 weeks we drove to Cardiff (in the dark) and bought a yellow Alfa Spider (906)——the madness hasn’t stopped since! In case you’re wondering the Alfa turned out to be pretty good in the context of a 90k mile Alfa!
So one Friday night in 2021 I announce, “We’re going to Kent in the morning !” —-“KENT?” said Jeni rather loudly —“Yes Kent, to see a Fiat” I replied —–“a FIAT!!???” At this moment Jeni decided it was bed time, I could tell the thought of classic Fiat ownership wasn’t quite ticking all the right boxes. Next morning we headed off to Kent, when we arrived Jeni had some more observations to make —“It’s TINY’ —‘it’s YELLOW’—‘it’s , its LEFT HAND DRIVE!!’ Unphazed I transferred Phil some cash and we headed back North. The first few weeks were somewhat testing. Firstly I needed to re-train into driving a left hand drive car and Jeni needed to re train as a passenger facing the oncoming traffic! But happy days, this all soon passed as the sun came out, the roof came off and down to a few local car shows and all was forgotten.
So when we got the car there was a dent in the top of the wing (been there since France) which had to get sorted, luckily 5 miles away lives ‘Graham the Dent’ a man of high skills who pulled the dent out perfectly and never damaged the paintwork! I was struggling to find someone in the Banbury area who would change the cam belt so ended up heading to Simply Alfas garage in the Midlands to get this done, other work has been to swap the clutch, exhaust back sections and then just regular services; touch wood all is good.
We got this car because we wanted to go to car shows in something a little bit different —which has been the case—–on the road we have never passed another Barchetta! Only once at the Alfa North Show have we seen another one on the field. When I looked on the “How Many Left?” Web site it said around 340 Barchettas actually on the road, whilst on line I thought,”OK then how many Ferrari 458 Italia Spiders???” Answer over 500!! So we are in a pretty exclusive club here!
We also went on a Belgium/Holland road trip chasing tulip fields and such, the amount of interest from the locals was staggering—everywhere we stopped people commented—cars flashing headlights all the time, little Barchetta never missed a beat what a legend. We love our Barchetta!!
I said the madness hasn’t stopped —-of course not—– Barchetta has friend —a 1988 Fiat X1/9—–of which Jeni said? ———–answers on a postcard please ——-
Look forward to meet some Little Boat owners at Beaulieu in April
Roger and Jeni