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Drive it day: Bicester Scramble 28th April 2019

Perfect place for a perfect day: Drive it at the Bicester Scramble

For those of you who are Club Members, please note you can only book tickets to the Bicester Scramble ‘Drive It Day’ event online, and this needs to be done by 21st April. It promises to be a great event, with plenty to see and other classic and vintage car enthusiasts to meet.

For more information, please go to the Events Page on our website here.

Please note, there will be no tickets available on the day.

Information from the organisers follows:

“The former RAF Technical Site springs to life with a unique mix of vehicles brought by enthusiasts from all over the UK to visit this beautiful location. The specialist businesses of Bicester Heritage throw open the doors to their workshops, showrooms and offices, revealing an ever-changing display of magnificent vehicles from every decade.”

Bicester Heritage, Buckingham Road, Bicester, OX26 5HA

From 0900 hrs to 1600 hrs Sunday 28th April 2019.

London Classic Car Show ExCel 14-17th February 2019

The Club was invited to return for a second consecutive year by the event organiser, the Fiat 500 Club had a stand in Car Club Corner at this prestigious indoor show held at London’s ExCel arena. This year the layout was improved, and it was busier than ever with over 20,000 visitors across the weekend.

Four days came and went quickly at the show. From Thursday night’s Preview Evening featuring an array of special presentations from classic car celebrities and movie stars, through to final Grand Avenue parades and live panel discussions. Grand Avenue this year featured Bentley, Citroen, Mini and Ford Capri where 100- and 50-year anniversaries were celebrated. Car clubs were represented by Jensen, Bristol, Marcos, Corvette, Aston Martin among other marques all of whom curated fabulous stands with beautiful examples from their respective members.

On Thursday morning the weather was dry, mild and sunny for our load- in slot at 10am, perfect for driving a classic Fiat into East London. Our allocated floor space only allowed for 4 cars which when manoeuvred into position looked great. This year the cars on display consisted of a 500D, 500F ,500L and 500 Abarth which was a fine array spanning many years of the car and all owned by club members.

Twin brother’s Will and Anthony had their Positano Yellow 500L on display and this was their first experience of showing at an event. Eighteen months ago, they spotted the car in Marche, Italy made a deal with the previous owner and had it transported to the UK. This is a 1971 model with only 54,000km on the clock, it is completely original and unmodified with immaculate paintwork and black vinyl seats. The car had been loving preserved over the years and kept garaged in Italy resulting in a beautiful example. Sad to report after a weekend of being admired the car decided to breakdown in Esher on the journey home during Sunday evening. Guys, welcome to the world of Fiat 500 ownership!

Vikki was the super sub, able to get her baby blue 1965 500F RHD to the show with only 48 hours’ notice after another owner was unable to exhibit due to a last-minute work commitment. With the original engine currently in need of some fettling she decided it was safer to trailer it to the show rather than driving it from Buckinghamshire. Vikki is a long-standing car enthusiast and no stranger to showing her previous modern classics around the country. Since hankering for a classic Fiat 500 from the age of 14, she found one after a long search for a right-hand drive model. She is now the proud owner of ‘Botty’. Since purchasing it in 2016, she and her husband have undertaken a serious overhaul, including a re-spray and new seats. This was her first show with the club and certainly won’t be her last.

Self-confessed Fiat 500 addict and car hoarder James displayed his 1959 RHD 500D which, for the purists is on the cusp of a 500N. Finished in gloss black paint with suicide doors along with wicker picnic basket attached at the back, at 60 years old this was a wonderful example of a 500D. This is a favourite from his collection and is regularly driven around South London.  James has around 16, yes 16, Fiat 500s and derivatives, just when we thought Roger had an extensive collection, it’s now been usurped. James keeps vowing to reduce his hoard and stop adding to it but admits it’s a hard habit to break. He has promised to attend more club events and display other cars from his extensive collection.

The head turner on the stand came courtesy of Carlo’s Fiat 500 Evocation Abarth.  It is the current holder of Car of The Day award bestowed upon it at Festival Italia during August at Brand’s Hatch. Long standing club member Carlo has owned it for 10 years and over the time transformed it into undoubtably the best Fiat Abarth in the UK. Finished in blue /black paint with an Alfa boxer 1.7 engine making 150 bhp and roll cage the car illustrated to visitors how a Fiat 500 could be modified to such a high sports spec. Carlo is very keen to have the car selected and be able to drive in the LCCS Grand Parade next year. The request has been made to the organiser.

Across the weekend the stand was visited by many club members several of whom kindly spent time helping out for a few hours. Displaying at an event such as this is a big undertaking and thanks must go to the team who played a part in making it happen. At this point Paul is award Star Baker for his magnificent carrot and walnut cake, which helped keep up the sugar levels topped up.

Along with showcasing the beauty and charm of Fiat 500s to the visiting car enthusiasts it was a fantastic opportunity to promote the club, sign up new members and sell club items.

It is highly likely the organiser will ask the club to return next year so make a note of 13 – 16th February 2020.

Further details from  www.thelondonclassiccarshow.co.uk.

Lisa Bardsley, London & South East event organiser

National Car Club Awards

We won!

The Fiat 500 Club has won the ‘Outstanding Car Club Run, Rally or Tour’ category in the National Car Club Awards 2019 for the ‘Poppy Returns Home Tour 2018’.

The National Car Club Awards celebrate, recognise and honour the achievements of the nation’s car clubs, the enthusiastic people who run them and the remarkable cars they preserve and cherish. Presented in association with Tourism Ireland, supported by Classic Car Weekly and endorsed by the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs.

Poppy Returns Home!

The club was chosen from the shortlist of 7 and presented with the trophy at the awards dinner held at the NEC, Birmingham on March 23rd. More details and photos will be in the next magazine. Congratulations to all involved in the Poppy Returns Home Tour 2018.

My New Year Break(down)

I’ve owned my 1970 Fiat 500L ‘Rizzle’ for 3 years and after never having the experience of a piggy-back ride home I was beginning to think that she was a very unique vehicle indeed. Despite occasional problems with poor running and brake master cylinder failure (causing the brakes to bind), I’d never broken down completely.

I installed an electronic ignition eight months ago (with much amusement from some other members of the club, with quotes such as, ‘let’s see how long it lasts’ and ‘I would stick to points and condenser if I were you’).

I was joining the club on a drive out to ‘Stony Stratford’s New Year’s Day Meet’ and luckily, I decided to have a quick blast a few days before. All started well until three miles in (on the bustling A14) I suddenly lost all power. After a few seconds of disbelief and that ‘please, not here’ feeling I rolled to a stop.

I drive for a living and encounter this kind of thing quite often but it felt much more scary in my own pride and joy, being stranded on the side of a hectic dual carriageway.

After a quick look I couldn’t see anything obvious and decided to call for recovery. I have to say it was just a tad hairy watching big trucks thunder by my car, with just inches to spare. Causing quite a commotion (with the police called to close the lane, whilst recovery took place).

Although I was lucky really, back, tinkering in the garage within an hour, I learnt a few valuable lessons on the day. These include…

• Stand well behind the carriageway barrier.
• I may install hazard warning lights.
• Have a Hi-Viz jacket in the vehicle.

I’m sure there are other safety items to carry such as a warning triangle etc…

Back at base, after a calming cuppa I started to investigate. After discovering I had no spark, I put the points and condenser back and I was back on the road. Revved up and ready for an 80-mile round trip. The ‘Stony Stratford Meet’ was a fantastic start to 2019. Great to see everyone who attended, with much chat about how I’d managed to stay off of the recovery truck for so long and whether I should go back to using electronic ignition or not? The jury’s out on that one!

Richard Simister

April 2019 Newsletter

The Fiat 500 Club UK magazine for April 2019 is now available to members.

Contents: Love at first sight; MoMA New York displays a classic Fiat 500 at it’s Good Design Exhibition; Electric Fiat 500; Mayor of Sandwich’s Italian Evening 13/2/2019; My New Year Break (Down)!; National Car Club Awards – Fiat 500 Club winners of ‘Outstanding Car Club Run, Rally or Tour’

Members can access this issue in the ‘members only’ Magazine section HERE but only if you are registered. If you are a member, but can’t get access you can register for your access code when you are asked for your username (at the bottom of the screen) – please have your valid Membership Number ready. Please note, we do check this before accepting registrations and it could take up to a week to get access approved.

Stony Stratford Car Show

A bright and sunny January 1st saw seven Fiat 500’s attend the Stony Stratford New Year’s Day classic car show, with one possible new member joining us with a very smart white 500L.

It was a very popular show with the whole town filled to the brim with an amazing array of classic cars.

It turned into a very cold day so after spending time looking around all the cars we managed to find a very welcoming and cosy pub that served delicious bacon butties for lunch.

It was the first time that some of us had ventured out on a New Year’s day but worth looking at doing again another year, weather permitting.

Sally Scanes

A 50 Year Wait

When at college many years ago I was forced to visit the library to research some educational philosophy (yawn). I never considered myself an academic and after about five minutes I became distracted and went over to the Technology section where I spotted a book on Italian Car Marques. So, I quickly settled down to thumbing through the pages. If I had given my official studies this level of attention it would have benefited my formal education considerably.

It was in that book that I first saw a photo of half a dozen Fiat 500s, all with lowered suspension, fat tyres, taped up headlamps and boots propped open to cool the engines while flying round a racing circuit. They were called Abarths. I was intrigued, as at the time I was the owner of a rather slow 500D complete with leaky windscreen, which had cost me the princely sum of £92.50. Attending an all-male college made my car the butt of many jokes but it got me from Birmingham to Windsor numerous times and I can still tell you all the places it broke down on the A34 during those three years.

Ever since discovering that black and white image I have had a lingering ambition to drive or even own an Abarth.

Last winter while driving my trusty old Punto we decided to go for a pirouette on some black ice. Sadly, the front got remodelled by a bank and hedgerow. Ah, the wonders of cable ties and Gaffer tape, but it was never going to be a good repair. After driving for a while with one headlamp squirrel spotting and the other wobbling about a bit too much I decided that I had to find a replacement, but I wasn’t really looking very hard.

By chance I went with my son to his friend’s lockup. All the cars were covered with sheets and I was drawn to a small lump of a car. We pulled back the covers to reveal a 695 Turismo, two tone grey with red leather seats. I was invited to start the engine which rumbled into life. How much do these fetch? I asked, and it only took me a few minutes to make the decision – well I needed a car, didn’t I? and after all I had waited nearly fifty years for this opportunity. My son was very encouraging and thought it was a great deal (mainly because he wanted to get behind the wheel). So the deal was done.

A 500 Abarth is probably not the best choice for an everyday car for someone of my mature years. Especially on country roads with adverse camber, potholes, raised white lines and cats eyes. All of which can prove a bit of a challenge, however it is perfectly good on flat road surfaces and motorways. The seats are really comfortable, but the rest is a bit like a go kart. It is of course far too fast for me, but it is great fun at traffic lights. In spite of my occasional lapses into childhood while enjoying the spits and pops from the exhaust, it’s returning 45 mpg. It also looks rather good on the front drive.

So, for anyone out there thinking, shall I? Shan’t I?  –  go for it, because you owe it to yourself.

                                                                                            Ade Long

February 2019 Newsletter

The Fiat 500 Club UK magazine for February 2019 is now available to members.

Contents: Stony Stratford Car Show report, GIU GIU – The 595 Abarth Elaborazione, A 50 year wait  (New 595 Turismo), Fiat 500 Club UK and Instagram

Members can access this issue in the ‘members only’ Magazine section HERE but only if you are registered. If you are a member, but can’t get access you can register for your access code when you are asked for your username (at the bottom of the screen) – please have your valid Membership Number ready. Please note, we do check this before accepting registrations and it could take up to a week to get access approved.