Published on August 24th, 2010 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Used 1995 Fiat Coupe Review_Low Cost Supercar Buy
Owning a Fiat Coupé is like marrying a super model, an Italian super model: it’s not the purchase price you need to worry about, it’s the cost of maintenance and looking after that is worrying. Super models eat at expensive restaurants, wear designer brands and throw tantrums every few hours depending on the time of day or the lack of attention. Fiat Coupés can do the same with fuel and spare parts. However just like a super model, when all is just right and the stars and moons are aligned in your favor, you’ll forget all that the moment you take your Fiat Coupé out for a drive with your super model date next to you. With used prices getting very reasonable, what was never a hugely expensive car when new now looks like a real bargain! Less than RM35,000 lets you drive one and for around RM55,000 you will get the best looked after 20v turbo in town probably.
The Coupé was introduced to Malaysia by Torino Motors in 1995/1996. Initially two engines were offered, a four-cylinder 2 litre injection unit producing 142bhp and a turbocharged version with an extra 53bhp. Later they were both replaced by five-cylinder units, adding 5bhp to the normally aspirated car and 25bhp to the turbo. The earlier four-cylinder engines are often described as “16 valve”, whereas the five-cylinder ones are known as “20 valve”.
With 220bhp on tap, the 20v Turbos are very fast making the 0-60mph dash in just over 6secs and the car continues its run all the way up to the 155mph top speed which can be increased with some mild tuning. The Pininfarina-designed body is both elegant and aggressive. Inside, the huge slab
of body-coloured metal that runs the width of the dashboard looks fantastic. The thick leather steering wheel feels perfect; the low, supportive seats hold you snugly. Only the offset pedals (positioned slightly towards the centre of the car rather than dead ahead) lose the car marks on driving environment, but it’s a feature you soon get used to.
The car’s elegant lines are matched by superb driving dynamics. Even the non-turbocharged 16v models provide good driver engagement which is only marred by a slower century meet and top speed. With plenty of grip and superbly accurate steering, the Coupé can carry speed through corners with little drama and would shame some super cars costing twice. The gearchange is sweet and the brakes powerful, particularly on models with the Brembo system.
Being a driver’s car means that correct maintenance is important, so running one on a shoestring budget isn’t recommended. Essential maintenance includes cam belt changes every five or six years and monitoring the engine oil weekly. Brakes, exhausts and suspension need to be replaced when they show signs of tiredness. You need to set aside RM1-2K a month for periodic maintenance and replacements likes brake and tires. The early four-cylinder cars without ABS are least desirable and is better avoided unless
you are buying solely on looks. The desirable turbo models can ever so often be found for sale and prices are reasonable even for well looked after units as the dealer did a ‘fire sale’ some years ago and gave hefty discounts on new unregistered units.
This together with high maintenance shot values down but recently they have seen to be hovering at the abovementioned value due to scarcity in good examples and high desire by uninformed potential owners. Avoid smoky engines, rattling interiors and cars with electrics that are not working in full force. Accident damage is a big no-no. Heavily modified units should also be avoided as they would have definitely been trashed. Used values can vary enormously on cars of similar age and mileage so take your time when
buying. Most Fiat Coupé owners are enthusiastic and truthful about their cars and you’ll have no problem finding one who is happy to advise a potential