NEC 8-10 November 2019

Don’t forget to book your tickets, it’s not long to go now! Come along and see the selection of 500’s on display, the club shop will be there for all your 500 shopping needs and lots of members will be there to chat all things 500!

There is also the option of booking your car parking at the NCP Car Park 5 at Birmingham Airport at a special rate of £9, please click here, using the code Classic19.

Our exclusive discount available for members on adult and family tickets on Saturday and Sunday. Find the club code on the show advert in the August and October issues of Fiat 500 News club magazine and also if you are registered for this website as a member and logged in you can see that online in the PDF version of the August magazine and when published, the October magazine.

You must book in advance to save. Please go to: www.necclassicmotorshow.com/club-tickets or phone 0871 230 1088

The Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show, with Discovery, is the event not to be missed for any classic car owner, collector, enthusiast, car club member or anyone with a passion for classic cars. The show brings together the world’s largest gathering of 300 car and motorcycle clubs with over 3,000 iconic classic and vintage cars and motorbikes on display across seven halls at Birmingham’s NEC.

NORFOLK NOMAD TOUR – 3RD TO 6TH MAY

29 cars, including 4 moderns, from far and wide converged on Blakeney on Friday afternoon, most with trouble free journeys but there were a couple of tales of derring-do.

Gill and Graham Watkin lost a wheel assembly – never to be seen again – on the M11 in the early hours and arrived with their car on top of the remains of their trailer on top of the recovery truck! The trailer now resides in a Norfolk scrapyard. Tom and Lis made it to Kings Lynn after breaking down three times but were eventually recovered back to Derby getting in bed at midnight only to be up at 4:00 am to have another go in their Abarth and reached Blakeney for breakfast on Saturday!

The programme proper started on Saturday with showers and strong winds forecast and we headed south down the coast for the short trip to the Muckleburgh Collection. This was the first time we could line all the cars up in one place – what a sight!  Muckleburgh is the largest private military collection in the country. The site has a long history dating back to the Spanish Armada in 1588 but it was acquired in the early 80’s and the collection established in 1988. Today there are over 150 tanks, guns and vehicles together with a vast assortment of other memorabilia.       

From here we made the short trip to the charming little town of Holt, where, since my early recces, Holt Town Council had enthusiastically publicised our visit throughout the town with many of the shops adopting an Italian theme. Indeed, the owner of an art gallery next to our allotted parking space had contacted the local Fiat dealer to get them to display a new Collezione outside his shop, put fiat 500 posters in his window and even dressed as an Italian character – what a star! The cars attracted great interest throughout our stay and in the words of the town clerk quoted in the local paper we created a “great vibe”! 

The wind was still storm force, and to our great relief, the skipper of the seal boat trip, which was next on the itinerary, called to say that he thought it would be too dangerous to venture out at Blakeney Point to see the seals. Instead, we took a drive down to Cromer and back along the coast road taking in some dramatic views of the North Sea rollers coming ashore.

Sunday dawned with a calmer and sunnier forecast and this time we headed north up the coast road passing through some delightful villages such as Stiffkey, Holkam and Burnham before turning inland at Brancaster and setting out across country to our coffee stop at the Royal Station at Wolferton.   

A whole article could be written about the Royal Station but suffice it to say that, for many of us, this was the highlight of the weekend. For over one hundred years, Wolferton was probably the most famous rural station in England.  This is where the Royals arrived when they travelled to Sandringham so Kings, Queens, Emperors and Empresses and the high society of the day passed through the station, from Queen Victoria, the Royal families of Europe to Queen Elizabeth the 2nd.  The last train ran in 1969 but Richard Brown, a very generous-hearted Yorkshireman, bought the station in 2001 and has since restored it to its former glory so it now looks as it would have done in the 19th century. This is a fantastic example of the vision and generosity of one man saving a slice of history for future generations.

Our fascinating visit was topped off by our very own pop up tea-room brilliantly provided by Lianna, Richard, Rob, Naomi and Sophia with both an Italian theme and “Brief Encounter” soundtrack. Many thanks to them. 

After a parade lap of Wolferton village for the benefit of the video photographer, it was time to make the short trip to Sandringham. At the very last moment, we were given permission to enter the estate by the Scenic Drive – known locally as the “Duke of Edinburgh’s garden”. This is a lovely one and half mile single track meander through the woods taking us to a specially allocated parking area. By this time the wind had dropped and the sun was shining so lots of people could drool at our cars and we could enjoy looking around the house, gardens, church and museum.

At mid-afternoon we left Sandringham along the magnificent Kings Drive, a two mile tree-lined avenue which took us through Anmer, where William and Kate have their country home. From there we trundled through Burnham Market – a honey pot for tourists – the sight of 30 500s getting everyone waving!

After a brief ice cream stop and look around the harbour at Wells-next-the-sea, we arrived at Morston Quay to board our chartered boat for the re-arranged trip out to Blakeney point to see the seals. Blakeney Point has the largest seal colony in England with over 2,700 pups born in 2017. We certainly saw a few but not that many! The water was relatively calm and the even the “waverers” with no sea legs enjoyed the trip.                      

Our final morning dawned with 32 of us heading through the sunshine to Holt to catch the North Norfolk steam train for the short trip to Sheringham and back. Being bank holiday, it was a Thomas the Tank Engine Special so the Fat Controller, Thomas and Percy were entertaining the youngsters. If I had thought about it before we could have made it a “Murder on the Sheringham Express” outing with Gino as Hercule Poirot.

After a delightful return trip through the Norfolk countryside we returned to Holt to say our goodbyes and wend our way home.

I need to say a few thanks you’s – to Rod and Sally who twice helped us on our recce visits, to Sir Michael Savory, the owner of Muckleburgh for letting us display our fleet, to Richard Neech and Elaine Oliver of Holt Town Council for all they did to welcome us and make our visit a great event for the town, and particular thanks also to Richard Brown who opened up his very special Royal Station for us and to the staff at the Blakeney Manor Hotel who couldn’t have really done any more for us and dealt with such a large and sometimes noisy group with aplomb.

But the biggest thanks must go to all who came from far and wide to take part.  Mandy and I really enjoyed planning the weekend for what is a very special group.  Even when there is a navigational glitch and we all seem to be heading in different directions, it all seems to be part of the experience!  It was especially nice to see not just regular faces but new faces and young faces, which must bode well for the future of the club.

On reflection, I think we really had too many cars but I just couldn’t say no, even to those who contacted me just a few days before – the sight in the rear-view mirror on the mile-long straights of a line of 500s as far as you could see was very special and unforgettable.

                                                                     Steve & Mandy Edmonds

Electric Fiat 500

Editor’s note: Following my request in the previous magazine I was pleased to hear from member Andre Abadie who owns an electric 500, here is his article.

I had been in the market for a classic Fiat 500 for several years but couldn’t bring myself to pull the trigger as I was concerned about the upkeep and reliability. Additionally, my job is focused on environmental and climate issues and it was challenging for me to justify buying a car with a petrol engine, despite how frugal it may be. I had instead thought about a new electric car but, as I don’t need a car for commuting, it didn’t make sense to invest in that much hardware (and software) for the purposes of running around London at weekends and the odd evening out.

But then, on a whim, I thought I’d see if there was anyone in the market converting classic Fiat 500s into electric vehicles, figuring that someone had to have come up with the very same idea. And sure enough, I found an article on the work that Richard Morgan was doing at Electric Classic Cars in Wales. I contacted Richard and he steered me to his colleagues at Classic Chrome in London who had two demonstration cars on site that I could test drive. Fast forward a few weeks and I was the proud owner of the first of Richard’s electric Fiat 500 conversions, a light blue 1965 Fiat 500F.

There were a few teething problems with the suspension given that I had upgraded to a larger motor and additional 4th Tesla battery which added a fair amount of weight to such a slight frame! But the replacement of the leaf spring with one from a Fiat 126 did the trick. The car has been an absolute pleasure to use for zipping around London (and further afield to parts of Kent and Surrey), and is not shy about outpacing most vehicles from traffic light to traffic light given the added oomph from the upgraded AC 20 96v 65HP motor.

I’m loving the car and being electric has made all the difference for me as it’s easy to maintain and has no regard for the ULEZ in London. Parking in London is a cinch as I just find the nearest available charging station (which are always available) and top up when I’m about town. I’ve entered my Fiat 500F in the London to Brighton Classic Car Rally on June 2nd which will be the only electric vehicle on show. The range of the vehicle is around 100 miles (so I’ll need to recharge in Brighton). I highly recommend anyone to look into the cars that Richard is converting. Kits are available too for those who are more technically savvy.

                                                                                                       Andre Abadie

June 2019 Newsletter

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

Contents: The Final Chapter – National Car Club Awards at NEC; Norfolk Nomad Tour 3rd to 6th May; Norfolk Dissertation; Electric Fiat 500 report

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.

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.

THE INTERNATIONAL CLASSIC CAR SHOW – ISLE OF WIGHT 14TH TO 19TH SEPTEMBER 2018

Planning to round off our 500 touring season, we headed off down to Petersfield with Chairman Rod and First Lady Sally and after an overnight stop rendezvoused with Vince and Joy, Paul and Christine, Roger and Janet and Jack in his immaculate D.

Jack had a new engine fitted just before he came and on the journey down it had developed a misfire and done its best to jettison most of its oil.

So the six of us set off for the Portsmouth ferry with Jack coaxing his car along the M3 and determined to get on to the island.

After a very pleasant crossing we made the short trip to Ryde but Jack expired (his car that is) very shortly after landing.  There was little the Fiat Fiddlers could do at this point on a busy road but Simon and Laura, good friends of Jack’s living on the island, came to the rescue with a tow to our digs.  Some intensive Fiat Fiddling ensued and, with the AA man also involved, they managed to cure the misfire but the more fundamental problem of the chronic oil leak remained with all agreeing that this would mean a recovery back to the mainland.

Not a man to be beaten that easily, Jack coaxed the car along short distances for the shows on the first couple of days and then fitted himself into the rear of our car for the remainder of the trip, supplementing our walkie-talkie instructions with semaphore hand signals wherever he could!      

So, after a traditional fish and chip supper the night before, Saturday dawned and we made the scenic overland trip the first day of the show on Newport Quay. This was a great setting with lots of exotic machinery for the men to drool over, the sun shone, there were lots of crowds and we had a chance to explore the delights of the town.                                                     

After a hearty and very sociable evening in a Sandown Hostelry we were up bright and breezy the next morning for the short drive for the second day of the show on the Esplanade at Ryde. The sun shone again and this time we had our own very special display area on a viewing platform suspended over a lake that only 500’s were able to access because of their small size. This turned out to be a delightful day, exploring the sea front, pier and great beaches.   

With the formal business of the shows out of the way we had a couple of days to explore the island and on Monday morning we had a break from the cars and walked along the promenade from Sandown to Shanklin where a reviving coffee awaited before catching the bus back or returning on the IoW coast path, depending on the energy levels.

We then set off in convoy to explore the east coast of the island dropping in at the highly recommended Isle of Wight Pearl Centre where my wallet became somewhat lighter.                

We then visited Jack’s good friends Simon and Laura  (the Good Samaritans mentioned earlier). Simon and Laura moved to the island a few years ago from London and have taken on a wonderful old farmhouse in a very isolated location but with fantastic views. A whole article could be written about the house and our afternoon there but suffice it to say that the house and its gardens were very unusual and would keep Simon and Laura occupied for a lifetime and the collection of cars (including a Steyr and Simca special), spares and memorabilia meant that men had to be physically dragged away when the time to go came. Many thanks to Simon and Laura for their wonderful hospitality!

Steve and I have only been on the island once before for an hour or so but nevertheless, it was agreed by the others that we would be in charge of the itinerary for the last day – a very brave decision.

We headed north to East Cowes and crossed on the chain ferry to Cowes proper causing great interest and amusement to the ferry crew who halted the oncoming traffic for photographs!         

 As we posed for photographs on Cowes Quay, the wind blew Sally’s designer cap into the sea.  This caused great hilarity to the rest of us but distress for Sally. Never fear Vince is here – calling upon his past scouting motto of “be prepared” he quickly acquired a crabbing line and after some expert modifications and a couple of practice casts, he managed to hook the cap and haul it back to dry land to a round of applause from us and quizzical looks from the locals who thought we were bonkers!                 

We then followed the coast road – very dramatic with the wild sea – to the quaint town of Yarmouth for lunch and a bit more exploring. Our final stop of the day was the famous Needles where the more intrepid amongst us ventured to the Old Battery where we explored the historic fortifications and hung on for dear life as the high winds continued to batter the island.  

 We returned back to our digs along the Military Road, which was ranked in the Daily Telegraph’s top ten drives and it certainly didn’t disappoint.

Wednesday dawned and we made the short trip back to Fishbourne for the ferry to Portsmouth, some of us nervous about the crossing because of the very high winds, but we need not have worried, the ferry made light work of the crossing with the gale blowing us home.

Regrettably, our favoured route home along the A34 was closed so we had to divert to the M27 and M3 which, given the strong cross winds, was a bit of a white-knuckle ride at times.

Once again we would like to thank all our fellow club members who make these trips so special and full of laughs. And a big thank-you to Florence, our trusty little car, who once again didn’t miss a beat.

                                                                            Mandy Edmonds

December 2018 Newsletter

The Fiat 500 Club UK magazine for December 2018 is now available to members.

Contents: Minutes of the 26th AGM of the Fiat 500 Club; Manchester Classic Car Show; International Classic Car Show on the Isle of Wight; AGM & Winter lunch report; Middle Barton Garage Tour; Club Film Show Report

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.

Vote for your Club!

This year Footman James are on a mission to crown Britain’s Best Classic Car Club in partnership with Practical Classics and the Fiat 500 Club UK needs your help. Click on the image below to vote for your favourite club – which is our Fiat 500 Club UK, of course! Please note, nominations close on 3rd January 2019, and results are announced in July.

“Stuck at the Lights”

If I had a Euro every time I heard “stuck at the lights” it would have paid for my holiday tour.  Other memorable comments are “good, good”, “toppie, toppie” “don’t go without me” and “ice-cream”

I am not experienced in overseas holidays, let alone driving overseas, let alone driving in an unpredictable 1972 Fiat so believe me when I say I was out of my comfort zone more times than I can count.  However, I was not alone when we all had to make a sudden turn off to the left.  What on a Motorway? A left turn? Surely Paul has his left and right mixed up? Surely the Sat Nav is upside down? No both Paul and Sat Nav were correct, pull over the two speeding lanes to join another motorway on the left, we just made it with a couple of chevrons to spare!

The first 2 night’s accommodation could not have been more different.  Night one was on the Harwich/Hoek of Holland ferry – loved it, loved it, loved it.  Relaxing with a beer, entertainment from the local constabulary dealing with a miscreant, who was eventually handcuffed, and literally, carried away face down and, more importantly, millpond seas.  I even got a friend to travel with me – an orange model balloon dog.  After retiring to the very comfortable room (no Sally I did not have a Porthole), I lay in bed after my shower to watch the TV through a camera on the front of the boat, so could see us on the move.  I was pleased that this experience will be repeated on my last sad night.

The second night – Oh my word!!  We loaded the little babes onto the train transporter and went in search of the rooms.  Cramped, hot, no water. I asked if there was a bar or communal area and was told “this is a sleeper train” to which I replied “not at 9pm it is not!”.  The Scanes and I squeezed in with the Shirley’s for the evening and we had a beer or complimentary sparkling wine and made the most of it.  At least the noise drowned out any snoring, and they did do a very good breakfast.  I woke on a stationary train and on peering out of the window was shocked to see commuters peering back in!  Not being en-suite I hoped to sneak out of my cell room, unseen, in my PJ’s, only to be face to face with a nightie clad Dee looking for a working shower – what makes people get up at 5.30am when there is no work to go to!

Don’t panic – I am not going to describe every 16 rooms (otherwise Christine may edit me!), suffice to say some were better than others, only 2 with a bath ☹, and I may take my complaint about discrimination to singletons to the European Commission, having slept in servants quarters whilst the couples had luxury!!  I felt I managed my suitcase manoeuvres fairly well for a first attempt, having a different hotel almost every night does test the sanity, and memory – now what has been worn already?

By the third day I threatened to go home – one more eyeroll from Paul or tease from another and that was it.  Mind you that is what makes these events, it was all given in jest (I hope) and received in jest.   The more relaxed I got the less they were able to successfully tease me, and I knew when to expect an eyeroll 😊.

Time became a source for discussion once we met up with Lidwina/Tom in Holland, and Christina/Barnie in Hungary – I still do not understand why six thirty really means five thirty on the continent or was it the other way round?!  Then there is the question of how many minutes is “prompt” or “at” or “ish”, I just made sure I was early (so they “don’t go without me”!)

Breakfast chats were comparisons – who had a bath (not me), did your shower head light up(!), how comfy the room was, what complimentary items were taken whether needed or not, and, for a few days, a competition over mozzy bites i.e. quality or quantity – I lost on quantity but won on quality and had to make for a Chemist for some stronger cream, but, I am pleased to say my Lake photo is rather good.  Assistance was rolled out from the first person as to how to use the coffee machine, where a spoon or milk was but most importantly in Sopron – don’t put the chopped prunes on your yoghurt as it is actually pickle 😊.  A daily mystery to me was, what seemed, the illogical layout of the breakfast buffet i.e. butter not near the bread, and pickle near the yoghurt!

Evening conversations were, mainly, about the day’s excitement, Fiat Fiddling, splendid views, have we really just parked inside a mountain!  But it became apparent I seemed to be the only one who saw anything smaller than a mountain!  Apart from the Storks which were abundant and made themselves comfortable atop chimneys or electricity posts.  My spots were carrot/asparagus fields, huge chairs, huge bowling pin, Christine narrowly missing a scurrying mouse. But even I could not spot a Pig!

Apart from the standard traffic queues behind us due to our max speed of 50mph, we also caused a few to the side. This was due to being filmed or photographed, we were waved and smiled at, hooted and flashed (all in a good way). Now surely that is why we all drive these lovable cars?

We only got lost twice that I knew about, and that was only some of us, yes you know who you are!  Once when we opted to walk back to the hotel, and within minutes we were onto Google, trying to remember what landmark was in the area to use as a pinpoint, I remembered the name of a little supermarket selling cheap wine!  And the second time, the next day, was in a Car-Park.  Vince and I stood in the lift, for it to wander up and down and deposit us back on the same floor, we could hear the other few sussing out the different staircases and we all made it out safely in the end.  We found out the next day that the lift did not belong to the Car-Park!

We had our fair share of car “issues” but only 2 major(ish) ones, Gino/Dee had 3 concerning hours whilst various diagnostics were tried and tested, finally I believe it was the petrol filter at fault.  Rod/Sally had a similar time when Lidwina thankfully spotted Rod’s engine trying to escape!  A mounting had slipped. We pulled off the Motorway to find a lovely little grassy area, with a couple of trees for shade and “the boys” set too.  Half way in and a gorgeous 1963 Volvo pulled up with a local offering help.  Rod hoped he was about fixed but we took his number anyway.  Unbelievably, 15 mins later Josef rolled up again with his wife and a flask of coffee, biscuits and cakes.

Other issues around the group were – wobbly wheel, 2 punctures (same car, same day!), spark plug cap, 2 fuses (different cars), clutch adjustments, 2 oil leaks (one minor, one major), lost accelerator return spring, juddering first gear, lost window latch, squeaky door, loose nut, replacement points – this is all normal (“no leaking oil, means you have no oil!) but what really matters is that we all got home on our own four wheels.

This holiday, yes holiday, had all emotions running – worry (will I breakdown today), fear (crossing 2 lanes of speeding traffic), apprehension (will I make it up the next mountain) and finally nervousness (will I be arrested at Customs for my herb plant) but that was all part of the fun and was outweighed by sights never seen before, laughs at/with the group, camaraderie, support and forever-lasting memories – a 2,135 miles well spent 😊

                                                                                                Felicity Greenfield

October 2018 Newsletter

The Fiat 500 Club UK magazine for October 2018 is now available to members.

Contents: ‘Stuck at the lights ‘  – Hungary Tour by Felicity Greenfield; Summer Events and Shows  –  photo display; Cheshire Car Shows report by Tony Pomelli; Technical article  –  How to set gear lever linkage.

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.