White Convertible Thing, Not Sure What it Was…

… because I couldn’t see the badge.

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The badge is placed on the upper surface of the boot. It probably really ought to sit on a vertical surface so people can read it with less trouble. You can get all the glorious details on the car here. I notice it’s a fairly light car (just over 1000 kg) so I suppose the 1.4 litre engine is able to haul it about. The other thing I noticed is what looks like misalignment of the outline of the bodywork around the rear lamps. The car is made in Japan alongside the Mazda MX-5. How did that happen then?

As for the rest of the showroom, there are 500s, 500Ls and Pandas and no Puntos and no Qubos. They do sell some nice paint colours though. To be fair, the 500 is probably covering the work of what was once known as a Regatta or even the Tempra, even if it’s not a saloon.

The absence of the Punto in the region’s biggest showroom shows they have pretty much given up on this one though it is shown at their website. And there’s are no Tipos around. Like Honda, the Fiat range is rather unbalanced.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

14 thoughts on “White Convertible Thing, Not Sure What it Was…”

  1. The 124 is a bit of an odd one for me. It looks like an alternative internal Mazda proposal updating the themes of the second generation MX5, much as the third generation was an update of the first. One wonders exactly how much input Fiat had on the project.

  2. I much prefer the aesthetics of the 124 over the Mazda offering. I seem to have a real issue with the design choice Mazda made with the tail lamp design of the MX5??? I suppose they do echo the style of the head lamps…

    ‘… misallignment of the outline of the bodywork around the rear lamps.’ Well spotted Richard. May I take this opportunity to also highlight the exact same observation on the Alfa Romeo 156. I don’t believe I have ever clapped eyes on a 156, where the bootlid and the adjacent panels married up. Is this just an acceptable foible of the portfolio of the FCA group? I don’t want to be seen to be casting any Nasturtiums though…

  3. On the misaligned boot-lid, I’m not that surprised. I actually washed my Mazda over the weekend (proof that my children are getting older and more independent) and noticed for the first time that a) the panel gaps in general are not that tight (C6 nails it!), and, b) the passenger side rear door is slightly misaligned … and has become the source of some irritation now that I have clocked it.

    On the design of the FIAT, the exterior panel and lights are all very different to the MX-5, and I think it’s just a lazy coincidence that FIAT managed to style their car to look like a pastiche of an older version of the Mazda on which it is based. Of course, it can be argued that the Mazda is itself a pastiche of European sports cars of old, of which one was the FIAT 124 Spider. Actually, I’d say the current MX-5 looks very inspired by the E85 Z4, so there’s a lot of cross referencing going on in roadster design.

  4. Despite the fact that I have a very soft spot for the original 124, I suppose I can’t get too upset about the new 124 Spider. It’s probably a nice enough car to own, but it’s not really a Fiat, is it?

    As for badging, I used to resent being asked to provide free advertising for the company I bought my t-Shirt or car from. I’d even carefully remove external identifiers from any clothing I bought but, of course, on a car it was more difficult. These days branding is so ubiquitous, I can’t be arsed.

    But advertising it is so, yes, it is maybe unwise not to have that Fiat badge legible from following cars.

    1. This car is so low, the badge on top of the bootlid should be perfectly readable from any SUV.

  5. The Mazda MX-5 is probably lighter, less thirsty and better to sell after a few years, but i would prefer the 124 with the turbo-punch. But i am afraid not many people will come to the same decision and will buy the italian stallion and i really can understand them – i don´t want to drive a italian car with that boring Mazda interior too….

    1. They really should have spent more effort in differentiating the cabin from the MX-5. This is a real shame, although I generally like Mazda interiors – they work hard to minimise the volume of the dashboard, which is as it should be.

      I worry that it’s going to become fashionable to hate the 124… ‘oh it’s not a proper Fiat spider!’ etc etc. And indeed it probably isn’t. But – like the Toyota GT86 – it is helping to keep the dream of an affordable sports car alive, and for that it should be applauded.

  6. Lorenzo Ramaciotti’s tenure as head of Fiat’s Centro Stile must be this particular institution’s most disappointing period. Fiat’s output was never what one would call consistent, but more often than not, the Italians came up with design that was more inspiring or, at the very least, quirkier than what the competition was doing. Under Ramaciotti, this slightly haphazard approach was replaced with a calculated kind of mediocrity, which never aimed for (much less reached) greatness, and often even failed to deliver on its slight promise.

    In that sense, the 500X was arguably the archetypical representative of its kind: It’s devoid of any originality or a challenging nature, and instead tries to make do with unsophisticated detailing, betraying a belief that some superficial signifiers (chrome! cutesy forms!) are good enough to make the thing appear endearing.

    1. Kubrick, I agree with you – but judged on its own terms, the 500X seems to be popular and is a success. Consider the brief: ‘Take our decade-old platform that underpins the Grande Punto, and create a product that sells in volume at a higher price point!’ Quite remarkable that people fall for this rubbish, but they do.

    2. Is that ‘decade-old platform’ notoriously bad or anything? If not, why should anyone care?

  7. Why is it that I generally admire the 500, but find this an irredeemable and essentially pointless pastiche?

    I want to say it is because the referencing is so overt, but then the retro cues in the 500 are hardly subtle. I suspect it is far more because the whole thing seems so half-baked. The view in profile is a dead giveaway to the parentage of this car – the surfacing and flow has an unequivocally Japanese feel to it. It is telling that this car was originally supposed to carry a serpent badge, and now does not, one suspects for reasons of expediency.

  8. Both 500L and 500X shamelessly ponce the 500 style but, as Jacomo points out, from Fiat’s point of view that is no bad thing. Though not quite up to Juke level, at 74,000+ 500X sales in Europe last year (though pretty negligible ones in the US) and good figures also for the 500L (putting the Multipla’s sales well into the shade), the realists/cynics of marketing have got a couple of winners.

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