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Fiat Coupe: Buying guide and review (1993-2000)

Fiat Coupe: Buying guide and review (1993-2000) Classic and Performance Car
Fiat Coupe Fiat Coupe Fiat Coupe Fiat Coupe Fiat Coupe
From the moment the first pictures were issued, it was obvious the Fiat Coupé was special, thanks to its distinctive Chris Bangle styling, and colour-coded interior dashboard trim. Thanks to the highly-tuned 20-valve Turbo engine, the Coupe could happily hit 155mph, makign it the fastest front-driving production car of the time. 
 
Forget about Fiat’s reputation for producing rapidly dissolving greats; the Coupé is as durable as its contemporaries and generally a lot more interesting. Stylish and very usable, any well-kept Coupé is also an absolute blast to drive, despite the power going to the front wheels. 
 
The Coupé is also surprisingly cheap to run, as long as you seek out a decent independent specialist. Even better, you can do a lot of the maintenance yourself, keeping running costs to an absolute minimum; what’s important is that you buy a car that’s been cared for as it’s essential that the oil is changed every 6000 miles. 
 
Which one to buy?
 
Coupes respond very well to modifications, and it can be all too tempting for owners to go spoil the car’s natural composure. Most modifications are unnecessary, although with increased power, bigger brakes are an absolute must. 
 
If you do decide to take the plunge, the most sought after editions are the Limited Edition models. Limited Edition spec was made standard on all cars built after August 1999, however Turbo Plus spec added a more aggressive bodykit. It’s these that are already the most collectible, but buy a good example of any cherished Coupé and you’re unlikely to lose money on it, as the sporty Fiat has already hit rock bottom in terms of values, with good ones already starting to appreciate.
 
Performance and spec
 
Fiat Coupé 2.0 Turbo 20v
Engine 1998cc, five-cylinder 
Gearbox Five-speed manual
Power 220 bhp @ 5750rpm
Torque 229lb ft @ 2500rpm
0-62mph 6.5sec
Insurance Group 19
Top speed 155mph
Consumption 29mpg
 
Dimensions and weight
 
Wheelbase 2540mm
Length 4250mm
Width 1760mm
Height 1340mm
Weight 1270kg
 
Common problems
 
• Rust shouldn’t be an issue but crash damage might be, so check all the body panels for large or inconsistent gaps, as well as rust, the latter betraying poor crash repairs. 

• On earlier Coupés, lift the boot carpet and check for corrosion along the seam where the floor meets the wheelarches. It’s down to leaking boot seals; fixing the leaks is easy enough, but sorting out any welding can be tricky. Water ingress through poorly mounted Pininfarina badges low down on the rear flanks can also cause unseen corrosion. Restoration costs often outweigh the value of the car, so if it has had any welding check the quality of the work. 

• The 1995cc four-cylinder unit in early Coupés is similar to the Lancia Integrale Evo 2’s. Properly serviced it’s reliable, but the camshafts wear, while the oil cooler pipes below the radiator can corrode and fail with catastrophic consequences. 

• Many cars still feature factory-fitted coolant cap and hoses, and they’re starting to fail. Cam cover gaskets on the 1995cc engine can also leak. 

• On 20v models, look for leaks from the nearside rear corner of the cam cover. The cover bolts get over-tightened, but the covers can be repaired. The most common problem, especially with 20v cars, is a failed thermostat. This normally fails in the open position and results in a slow warm up and cool running, with resultant high fuel consumption. Replacement is simple and cheap.

• The 1998cc five-cylinder engine is generally found in turbocharged form; it’s tough but exhaust manifold cracks are common between cylinders four and five. Listen for ticking when starting from cold; the crack closes up once the manifold is hot.

• Blue exhaust smoke at idle betrays a worn turbo, caused by failure of the oil seals. If replacing a turbo, go for a later unit with a stronger bearing. 

• The four-cylinder engine needs a fresh cam belt every 36,000 miles or three years; the five-pot engine needs a new belt every 50,000 miles or five years. Officially this means removing the engine, but a decent specialist can do the job with it in situ. The auxiliary belts are another weakness; they should be inspected every six months and changed every 24,000 miles or two years.

• Clutch slave cylinders can leak or seize, the latter leading to a heavy or stiff pedal, but replacement is cheap and easy. Of more concern is a slipping clutch, as replacing one of these can be costly. Also, crunching on fast second gear changes can often be solved by changing the transmission oil.

• The front lower wishbone bushes wear, along with the rear swing arm bearings – and particularly so on Turbos. Wear is given away by clonking over speed bumps (usually anti-roll bar bushes) and potholes.

• Listen for chattering from the rear hubs, as you corner, signifying worn rear wheelbearings. Fiat supplies the bearings only with the hubs, and while aftermarket suppliers can supply the parts separately, the price ultimately is often no cheaper. 

• The under-worked rear brakes can rust up and the callipers seize, while handbrake efficiency can be poor. A common issue with the handbrake is a seized load proportioning valve; it’s on the passenger side of the rear subframe.

• Air-con systems fail and so can the central locking, the latter usually being down to duff door switches or the control unit under the driver’s seat, both of which are cheap enough second-hand. Check that the front seats both fold and lock into position.

• The radio’s signal booster fails, but replacements are available. 

• Try to get all the keys; from late 1996 there were three. The silver one is for everyday use, the blue one is the spare and the red one is the master key, which allows fresh keys to be coded more easily.
 
Model history
 
1993: Fiat launches the all-new Coupé model in Europe.
June 1995: Almost two years later, the first officially-imported Coupe models arrive in the UK, fitted with 2.0-litre 16V engine, producing 137bhp in naturally aspirated form, or 195bhp when fitted with a turbocharger.
March 1996: Basic-spec 1.8-litre Coupe is launched in mainland Europe. Never officially brought into the UK or built in right-hand drive spec
November 1996: Four-cylinder engines make way for 1998cc five-cylinder engine, again offered in naturally aspirated and fire-breathing turbo form. 
July 1998: Limited Edition model arrives in the UK with 300 sold.
June 1999: New 154bhp 20v engine with Variable Inlet System and a fly-by-wire throttle.
August 1999: New six-speed manual transmission becomes standard fitment, while the run-out Turbo Plus model is launched, with Viscodrive LSD, 16-inch wheels, leather trim.
 
Key clubs and websites
 
•www.fccuk.org - UK-based Fiat Coupe owners club
•www.fiatcoupe.net - Fiat Coupe club and forum, useful for spares and technical advice
•www.fiatforum.com - Forum covering all Fiat model including the Coupe
 
Summary and prices
 
While there are a lot of rough examples out there, there a great many usable examples as well as a few absolutely mint cars. Prices start from around £600 for an early four cylinder car in rough condition, rising to around £1500 for a turbo model in reasonable condition. Pay £2750, and you should be able to find a 20v Turbo with reasonable miles in pretty good condition. Top spec models in great condition can push £4500.
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Last updated: 21st Oct 2015
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Fiat Coupe
2250 12990 GBP
  • FIAT VIGNALE COUPÉ

    POA POA

    SOLD TO SWITZERLAND Brand Fiat Type 600 Vignale Color Light Blue Interior Light Blue-Beige Year of build 1956 Price Sold to Switzerland 1956 FIAT VIGNALE COUPÉ This very nice Fiat has been sold to a customer in Switzerland. If you are willing to buy or sell a rare/unique automobile. MORE INFORMATION For more information or an appointment, please call Rutger Houtkamp+31625098150 or send an e-mail to Rutger@Houtkamp.nl . Please do not hesitate to contact us by phone during evenings or in the weekend. The Houtkamp Collection is centrally located near Amsterdam and only 10 minutes from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. Please contact us directly or fill in the form to receive more information on this specific car Your Name (required) Your Email (required) Your phone number Subject Your Message The information provided on this website has been compiled by The Houtkamp Collection with the utmost care. The information contained within this advert is provided ‘as-is’, without warranties as to its accuracy whether expressed or implied and is intended for informational purposes only. The Houtkamp Collection is not liable for any errors or mistakes.

    • Year: 1956
    For sale
    The Houtkamp Collection
  • Fiat Coupe

    £2,250 £2,250

    Portofino blue 1998 Fiat Coupe 20V Turbo: 127k miles, next MOT Jan 2018, two owners (mine since 2002), never modified, big history file, original driver's manual. Everything works. Has had replacement radiator, rear main coolant hose, stainless steel exhaust. Has all three original keys. Cloth interior, no aircon or sunroof.

    • Year: 1998
    • Mileage: 127000 mi
    • Engine size: 2
    For sale
    Edward Threlfall
  • Fiat Coupe

    £12,990 £12,990

    Electric Windows, Electric Mirrors, Stereo, Central Locking, Immobiliser, Service history Fiat Turbo Coupe 20V 2.0 5 Speed Manual Registered September 1997 finished in Sprint Blue with Full Beige Leather interior, One Owner from New, New Yokohama Tyres all round, Electric Windows, Electric Door Mirrors, Clarion Stereo, Rear Windscreen Demist, Front and Rear Fog Lights, Remote Locking and Immobiliser, Service History at Fiat D Salmon Cars Colchester on 21/09/99 at 7,259; 14/08/06 at 23,947; Power Fiat London on 11/2007 with Cam Belt; Tensioners and Water Pump; Middleton Garage on 04/07/12 at 32,986; Autofficina on 20/07/16 at 33,686 with Engine Oil; Gearbox Oil; Fuel Filter; Air Filter; Spark Plugs; Cam Belt; Discs and Pads all round. Finance available on request - subject to status and terms. Ask about our Company Directors packages. Fully Valeted; UK Wide Delivery Available; Part Exchange Welcome.

    • Mileage: 33800 mi
    • Engine size: 1998
    For sale
  • Fiat Coupe

    £6,995 £6,995

    *SIMILAR QUALITY CARS ALWAYS REQUIRED* SOLD Thinking of selling? Our proven commission sale or SOR (Sale or Return) program is a great way to utilise and access our professional services and facilities while still maximising the return from your vehicle with minimal hassle, stress and time, If you’d like to take advantage of this then please get in touch for further information. Alternatively If you’d like to move your vehicle on quickly and efficiently with minimal delay then we can make an offer on an outright purchase basis with payment and collection arranged soon after. An edgy Pininfarina/Chris Bangle collaboration, a beautiful Fiat Coupé 2.0 20V Turbo. EQUIPMENT Body-coloured bumpers, tinted glass, front occupant airbags, FPS fire prevention system, faired polyelliptical headlamps, Viscodrive, collapsible EAS steering wheel, bodyshell crumple zones, side impact beams, anti-submarining sports seats, aerodynamic recessed door handles, quick release fuel cap, body coloured insert on fascia and door panels. Factory options, Electric sunroof, leather upholstery, climate control. EXTERIOR Designed by the renowned and often controversial Chris Bangle of Centro Stile Fiat, the unique lines characterised by two raked grooves set this Fiat aside from the more conventional coupe. Finished in stunning Sprint Blue (code 462), a colour exclusive to the 2.0 20V Turbo, the paint finish is incredible and unique in equal measures. Only tiny hairline scratches and some minimal paint micro blisters around the fuel filler are worthy of mention. Enthusiast ownership to include the Editor of Auto Italia Magazine, Phil Ward, has ensured this Coupé Fiat remains one of the best surviving examples. An outstanding car and one certain to delight any Fiat aficionado. INTERIOR The interior design is credited to Pininfarina and the car was in fact assembled at their factory in Turin, hence their logo and badges featuring widely. The super chic interior design is everything you would expect from the automotive icon with touches such as the body coloured gloss insert across the fascia and continuing along the door panels. The factory optional full leather interior in Black (Code 408) is exceptional with all seats squabs and bolsters fully intact. Only tiny hairline veins to the leather on the driver’s outer bolster can be seen upon close scrutiny. All functions and controls operate fully and the pristine boot area houses the space saver spare wheel, jack and original Fiat tool roll. A genuine four seater coupe that effortlessly emanates Italian flair. ENGINE & TRANSMISSION Fitted with the sought after five cylinder 2.0 20V Turbo unit featuring a Garret Turbo, this was at the time the fastest Fiat ever made and the fastest front wheel drive production car. Developing 220bhp, a top speed of 155mph and 0-62mph in just 6.5 seconds is very impressive. Comprehensive servicing and maintenance carried out by dedicated Coupé Fiat specialists ensure optimum and exhilarating performance. A spotlessly clean engine bay will impress on the show scene. The five speed gearbox is light and precise with a sporting feel. WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES The factory 16in four spoke alloys wheels, special for the Turbo model, have been refurbished to a very high standard to replicate the Titanium rims fitted to the LE model. All fours wheels are shod in quality branded Avon ZV5 tyres with masses of tread remaining. The ABS assisted braking system features standard Brembo callipers on 305mm ventilated front discs and 240mm rear discs to offer superb braking performance. HISTORY FILE Registered new on 12th July 1999 by Fiat Main Dealers Herbert Robinson Ltd, the first keeper was a Mrs Gillian Kime. The original service booklet remains in the blue Fiat wallet along with all handbooks, guides and point of sale literature. Furthermore, a comprehensive history folder contains many invoices, receipts and MOT history from Coupé Fiat specialists, most notably being Midlands Car Servicing whereby respected Technician John Cartlidge has performed extensive maintenance. The full history file confirm a total mileage of 61,681. A cambelt change in December 2015 and rust proofing treatment in March 2016 carried out by Midlands Car Servicing are included in a very detailed log of maintenance and servicing throughout the cars entire lifetime. Without question this privileged enthusiast owned example has enjoyed comprehensive care by knowledgeable specialists. Completing the huge history file is the imperative red master key and numerous copies of Auto Italia magazine featuring the car under the ownership of husband and wife, Editor Phil Ward and Publisher Josie Ward. A first class low mileage example not to be missed. MOT November 2017, HPI Clear. To see a video of this car please click on the link below: https://youtu.be/_izJU_vH1j4 To see a complete set of photographs of this car please click on the link below: https://flic.kr/s/aHskS1asAs 'Like us' or 'Follow us' for exciting new cars coming soon at KGF Classic Cars: https://www.facebook.com/KGFClassiccars https://twitter.com/KGFClassicCars

    • Year: 1999
    • Mileage: 61681 mi
    • Engine size: 2
    For sale
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