Posts Tagged ‘My Abarth’

Two years with an Abarth Grande Punto

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

I’ve owned my Abarth Grande Punto for nearly two years now, and in that time, I’ve only managed to clock up a feeble 9,500 miles.

I think it’s fair to say I’ve had a few ‘issues’:-

  • Abarth side-stripes replaced due to poor application by supplying dealer
  • Rattling C-pillar interior trim fixed with foam padding
  • Exterior trim at base of windscreen replaced after coming adrift
  • Plastic wheel-arch liner replaced (twice) after coming adrift
  • Front passenger seat replaced after stitching failed
  • Driver’s door replaced due to failed seam weld
  • Front suspension top-mounts failed four times

A few other issues have popped up along the way, too, but have either never been resolved, or I’ve just learnt to live with them – a rattling passenger seat mount, and the ubiquitous knocking door latches, for example.

There are plenty of design ‘faults’ that continue to infuriate me – the useless windscreen washers, the sun visors that won’t stay put, the lack of a cancel button for the cruise control, the uncommunicative steering, plus a few other niggles.

However (and probably to the amazement of most other Abarth owners), I’ve never had a single problem with Blue&Me.  And, although my brakes squeal occasionally, it really doesn’t bother me.

I’ve averaged 34mpg (according to the trip computer), and had one service (£253).  There’s plenty of life left in my tyres, too.

So, what now?  I think I feel a change coming on…

My Grande Punto Abarth has arrived!

Saturday, October 4th, 2008

Collected my new Grande Punto Abarth from Westover late yesterday afternoon.

Had a lucky break in the weather for the hand-over so managed to drive it home in the sun. However, didn’t have any such luck with the traffic, so spent a good while stuck on the M3 going nowhere – though I can now report that with Sport Boost off, the GPA is extremely docile in stop-start traffic.

With Sport Boost on, it’s much peppier than I remember from the test drive. The Brembos are also much stronger than I remember – I can’t see why anyone would need the Esseesse brake upgrade unless the car was to become a track day regular.

I downloaded the SMS Reader update (you can find that and more Blue&Me blurb here) and that works beautifully.

Any problems? Well, the front passenger seat creaks and rattles enough to be annoying so it’ll be going back at some point to have that sorted.

And Abarth UK haven’t got their act together enough to sort out floor mats or other accessories, so we adapted some standard Punto ones for now.

Other than that… game on!

My Grande Punto Abarth

My Grande Punto Abarth

My Grande Punto Abarth

My Grande Punto Abarth

My Grande Punto Abarth

My Grande Punto Abarth

It’s on the boat!

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

A quick phone call from Ben at Westover this morning confirmed that my Grande Punto Abarth had been built and was starting its journey to the port at Portbury, near Bristol.

From there, it’ll be loaded onto a transporter with a few others and taken the 100-odd miles to Westover in Poole. Allow 4 or 5 days to schedule a PDI and, all being well, my car will be ready for collection some time in early October.

My Grande Punto Abarth has been ordered!

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

I took a trip down to the guys at Westover Sportscars in Poole, Dorset, today. Somehow I left £500 lighter.

Some history, first. As an impoverished teenage student in the very early 1990s, I drove a black Fiat 127 GT. It had perforated bodywork, skinny 135-section tyres and indicators that wouldn’t self-cancel. However, it also had twin-choke Weber carbs, a fruity stainless steel exhaust, and unfathomably nimble handling. Technically, it should have been rubbish, but somehow it was greater than the sum of its parts. It was the car my friends wanted a lift in at lunchtime and, as I look back at the cars I’ve owned since (and there have been many), it’s the one I remember with the most affection.

My old Fiat 127 GT

My old Fiat 127 GT

It was with my old Fiat bouncing nostalgically around inside my head that I took a trip to see Ben at Westover. I wanted to downsize to evade the hideous road tax bill that Gordon Brown and chums have forced upon my perfectly environmentally-acceptable Honda. But I wanted to downsize into something that was still fun – Labour haven’t completely managed to make that illegal, yet.

In truth, I was expecting to be disappointed. I was sure I’d realise I was being more than a little rose-tinted about it all. Or I’d simply realise I was too big for it (I’m 6ft 4).

Rather annoyingly, I didn’t discover either of those things. What I did discover was this: the Fiat Group still know how to make great fun cars.

So, I put my deposit down on a Grande Punto Abarth in 1949 White with Climate Control, standard 17″ wheels and standard seats that was already nearing completion at the factory. But, because I think the car looks naked without the stripes, I’m having Westover’s bodyshop apply them when it arrives – I’m not bothering with the red mirror covers, though.

Hopefully, it’ll be here early October!

Grande Punto Abarth, 1949 White, Stripe Kit

Grande Punto Abarth, 1949 White, Stripe Kit