Searching for a Fiat 500 manual/stick 'Plague' car

Clinton McClure

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Just lazy ass Americans. That's all it is. (I'm American so I can say that, right? :) )

I'm saying that in jest, but I believe that it is a convenience factor, particularly for those who primarily use their cars for commuting. Just one less thing to deal with during that painful slog to and from work.

- Walter.
Yep. I drive over 100 miles every day and much prefer an automatic.
 

Clinton McClure

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An Abarth is to a Fiat like a Shelby is to a Ford. The Abarth was a sweet machine.

I wish everyone in America was required to buy a stick. It would stop a lot of accidents. Hard to text when you're down shifting.:lol:
A good friend of mine was an Uber driver for a few years. One night in Little Rock, he was carjacked at gunpoint when he dropped off his fare. He fled the scene on foot to get help and when he returned, his car was still there and had only moved a few feet before the engine died and the carjackers couldn’t get it restarted and had fled themselves. His car was a stick shift. :D
 

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I think this thread has been side-tracked as "stick vs. auto" will make an interesting thread to itself. If you like I can move those posts and established such a thread to continue this discussion? Let me know!
It wasn't my intention to sidetrack the discussion! I just wanted to mention that I was getting a car specifically due to the pandemic, mentioned I was getting a manual, and then all of a sudden the subject just grew! :D

Whether I do get the car or not, I'll be posting my shopping experiences on this board. Also, I have absolutely no patience with bad dealerships! I already have a good, long story about a non-test drive experience last week, and a terrific "gotcha" over a 2017 Fiat 500 Pop with less than 2000 km/1200 miles being sold at a "too good to be true" price!

Robert, if you do move the posts into a new thread, if you can, please title it "Searching for a Fiat 500 manual/stick 'Plague' car". I'll post my dealership experiences including some of the email and text exchanges along with pictures of the candidates and my checklist for inspecting the cars.

I should replicate all of this on my Web site as well. I don't think I've added anything on it since 2013!
 
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Kevin Hewell

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I have never really understand why stick shift cars still exist at all. Automatic cars are an invention which have obvious benefits. It’s like saying “no, I’m going to continue to go down to the stream and wash my clothes on a rock. No of that new fan dangled washing machines for me!”
I think many people feel like they have more control of the car with a manual transmission. Plus, you can push it off in case the battery's dead.

I learned how to drive with a stick but it doesn't matter one way or the other now.
 

Francois Caron

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Got a response from the dealer selling the yellow Fiat 500. And for once, it wasn't a form email! It was legitimately written by the sender, and it included the information I had requested!

Once I start expanding on what happened when I tried to communicate with the other dealerships, you'll understand why this particular response is a small miracle! :D

BTW, the car was bought by the dealer last September and put up for sale in October. The asking price was already dropped once by about a grand. This thing will need an oil change pretty soon (life expectancy for oil already in a Fiat engine is one year).

The tires might need to be changed even sooner. They're Pirellis.
 
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ManW_TheUncool

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Got a response from the dealer selling the yellow Fiat 500. And for once, it wasn't a form email! It was legitimately written by the sender, and it included the information I had requested!

Once I start expanding on what happened when I tried to communicate with the other dealerships, you'll understand why this particular response is a small miracle! :D

BTW, the car was bought by the dealer last September and put up for sale in October. The asking price was already dropped once by about a grand.
Congrats on the find! Hope it works out great!

We only bought (certified, pre-owned) used once w/ a (mostly) gently used, (then) few years old Toyota Sienna from a local Toyota dealer (in Manhattan). The minivan itself worked out very well (and still runs very well under a friend's ownership for last few years)... though we didn't care for the dealership one bit and would probably never buy from them again...

We've downsized and gone w/ a Subaru Outback that my wife loves nowadays since we no longer need something so big, which makes a big diff here in NYC area (and she definitely appreciates their 4-wheel drive)...

This thing will need an oil change pretty soon (life expectancy for oil already in a Fiat engine is one year).

The tires might to be changed even sooner. They're Pirellis.
No doubt they'll give you a "great deal" on all those... ;) :D

_Man_
 

Francois Caron

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I already know what I'm willing to pay for the Fiat, but that will involve a lot of ball squeezing. :D

Seriously, I've been paying very close attention to the prices of the Fiats on various sites, both dealer and private sales. I even checked out the prices in the USA as a point of comparison (you're asking way too much!). I know what the car's worth and likely how much the dealer paid for it.

After eight months up for sale, and moving into a pandemic induced sales slump no less, the price could go down pretty catastrophically just so they can get rid of it. They'll still make money off of the sale, just not as much as they would have hoped.
 

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I already know what I'm willing to pay for the Fiat, but that will involve a lot of ball squeezing. :D

Seriously, I've been paying very close attention to the prices of the Fiats on various sites, both dealer and private sales. I even checked out the prices in the USA as a point of comparison (you're asking way too much!). I know what the car's worth and likely how much the dealer paid for it.

After eight months up for sale, and moving into a pandemic induced sales slump no less, the price could go down pretty catastrophically just so they can get rid of it. They'll still make money off of the sale, just not as much as they would have hoped.
Some dealers just won't budge.

I was looking at a 2012 Kia Soul last year, had been sitting on the dealer's lot for nearly a year, they had it at, oh, 8 grand.

I asked them what kind of deal they would give me, and the "deal" was just enough to equal out to 8 grand after tax, title, and tags. I told 'em I'd maybe do 7 grand, it had been sitting for a year. They plead hardship, said they couldn't do it, so I walked.

In the end, I wound up not needing a second car anyway, so I'm glad they did want to play hardball with their overpriced stock.
 

Francois Caron

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I told 'em I'd maybe do 7 grand, it had been sitting for a year. They plead hardship, said they couldn't do it, so I walked.
Same hard limit for me (10 grand CAD, 7 grand USD). I'll tell them this up front since the dealer's located in a rural community outside of Ottawa. I need to rent a car to get there and don't want to waste time and money on what would be a pointless trip. I'll simply look elsewhere.

However, if they accept this, maybe I should be very suspicious of the state of the car! :D
 

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Now that the car discussion in one of the pandemic threads has been branched out into its own thread, allow me to expand on my car searching experience.

I've previously lived in Montreal, Canada for thirty years where owning a car was not necessary at all due to a decent mass transit system. I moved back to my birth town of Ottawa (our nation's capital) some five years ago where mass transit may be lacking, but was functional enough along with the taxi services that I still didn't need to own a car to get around. I only need to rent cars for trips outside of the city, and mostly for business purposes.

The pandemic started, and everything changed. Situations are now cropping up where I'll need to get out of the apartment to get things done, but I would prefer to avoid using public transportation in order to avoid being exposed to the virus because I am an occasional asthmatic, triggered off primarily through illness. Catching the virus could potentially be very dangerous for me, even deadly.

It was time to isolate myself not only at home, but also when I'm outside. I needed to buy my first car.

But not just any car. After years of renting a wide range of vehicles, most of which felt like clones of one another even across different brands, I wanted something fun to drive for a change.

Hence, the Fiat 500, the only rental car I've ever wanted to keep after returning it.

The specific trim I'm searching for is the Sport Turbo model, or simply the Sport. Unlike the Pop and Lounge models with their common bodywork (three painted tabs are replaced with chrome tabs to transform a "Pop" into a "Lounge"), the Sport trim has its own unique bodywork and is equipped with larger 16 inch tires which are much more comfortable over bumps and potholes than the stock 15 inch tires of the Pop and Lounge models.

I'm aware of the car's reputation as being unreliable, and I'm prepared to risk it. I've been learning about the car's quirks for a few years now, lessons that have become more intensive during my search for the perfect 500. And since this car won't be a daily drive, my exposure to mechanical issues should be minimal.

Honestly, the car wouldn't have had anywhere near as many reliability issues if it were built in Canada instead of Mexico. We know how to build cars well enough that American and even Japanese automakers trust us to build their cars here.

The biggest hitch in all of this is that I've never purchased a car before. I've only visited dealers to look at the cars and see if any of them would interest me. I've never experienced the full dealership nightmare which seems to be all too common these days. The only time I ever driven a car off a lot was a loaner from a dealer for a car review video I did many years ago when I tried to launch a television channel in Canada.

No, you don't get any points for guessing which car was reviewed! :D

In the next few days, I'll relate my experiences in searching for a Fiat 500 including pictures, interesting exchanges with a few dealers, and fascinating Carfax reports from some of the cars I've found which will make you wonder what the heck happened to these poor vehicles.

Until then, please watch the only car review video I've ever made dating back to June of 2011.

 
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Buy a Miata. They are fun, and they don't break.
 

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Now that the car discussion in one of the pandemic threads has been branched out into its own thread, allow me to expand on my car searching experience.

I've previously lived in Montreal, Canada for thirty years where owning a car was not necessary at all due to a decent mass transit system. I moved back to my birth town of Ottawa (our nation's capital) some five years ago where mass transit may be lacking, but was functional enough along with the taxi services that I still didn't need to own a car to get around. I only need to rent cars for trips outside of the city, and mostly for business purposes.

The pandemic started, and everything changed. Situations are now cropping up where I'll need to get out of the apartment to get things done, but I would prefer to avoid using public transportation in order to avoid being exposed to the virus because I am an occasional asthmatic, triggered off primarily through illness. Catching the virus could potentially be very dangerous for me, even deadly.

It was time to isolate myself not only at home, but also when I'm outside. I needed to buy my first car.

But not just any car. After years of renting a wide range of vehicles, most of which felt like clones of one another even across different brands, I wanted something fun to drive for a change.

Hence, the Fiat 500, the only rental car I've ever wanted to keep after returning it.

The specific trim I'm searching for is the Sport Turbo model, or simply the Sport. Unlike the Pop and Lounge models with their common bodywork (three painted tabs are replaced with chrome tabs to transform a "Pop" into a "Lounge"), the Sport trim has its own unique bodywork and is equipped with larger 16 inch tires which are much more comfortable over bumps and potholes than the stock 15 inch tires of the Pop and Lounge models.

I'm aware of the car's reputation as being unreliable, and I'm prepared to risk it. I've been learning about the car's quirks for a few years now, lessons that have become more intensive during my search for the perfect 500. And since this car won't be a daily drive, my exposure to mechanical issues should be minimal.

Honestly, the car wouldn't have had anywhere near as many reliability issues if it were built in Canada instead of Mexico. We know how to build cars well enough that American and even Japanese automakers trust us to build their cars here.

The biggest hitch in all of this is that I've never purchased a car before. I've only visited dealers to look at the cars and see if any of them would interest me. I've never experienced the full dealership nightmare which seems to be all too common these days. The only time I ever driven a car off a lot was a loaner from a dealer for a car review video I did many years ago when I tried to launch a television channel in Canada.

No, you don't get any points for guessing which car was reviewed! :D

In the next few days, I'll relate my experiences in searching for a Fiat 500 including pictures, interesting exchanges with a few dealers, and fascinating Carfax reports from some of the cars I've found which will make you wonder what the heck happened to these poor vehicles.

Until then, please watch the only car review video I've ever made dating back to June of 2011.

I'm thinking a European Soccer Player viewing this might be slightly offended! ;)

Southwestern Ontario winters do tend to be a bit shorter, btw. Good luck with your Fiat search! :)

CHERS! :)
 

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Buy a Miata. They are fun, and they don't break.
I know, but its usage would be limited to the summer months. It's not the kind of car I would be willing to drive during the winter months. Even I'm not that cruel.

BTW, there's a nice 2007 grey one available in the Ottawa area with 125,500 km (77,982 mi) for $9,499 CAD ($6,784 USD). Includes hard top and winter wheels.

cf63d6bf-8aa9-4e3f-87a7-7ca51f3f6df3.jpeg-1024x786.jpg

I'm thinking a European Soccer Player viewing this might be slightly offended!
After posting the review, I found a European Fiat site that was discussing the review. They found the European soccer player crack really funny! :D

UPDATE:

Found another 2007 Miata, this time a blue one. 142,000 km (88,235 mi), $9,995 CAD ($7,142 USD). No hard roof or winter wheels though.

76721179.jpeg

Not that it would make a difference. Along with no winter driving, the Miata simply doesn't have enough luggage space. The Fiat 500 with the seats down has plenty of storage space.

Taking this into consideration I figured I'd search for something more reasonable (i.e. boring) from the same dealer as the blue Miata. I found this 2012 Hyundai Accent GL for $5,995 CAD ($4,284 USD) with only 54,000 km (33,554 mi).

75336021.jpeg

I think I know why this car might not be moving any time soon. :oops:

75336027.jpeg

Tomorrow, I'll tell you about the "too good to be true" Fiat 500 that I found. We'll make a game out of it. This should be fun!
 
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Walter Kittel

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I know, but its usage would be limited to the summer months. It's not the kind of car I would be willing to drive during the winter months. Even I'm not that cruel.
While i realize that it gets a tad cooler in Ottawa during the winter months when compared to Texas :) - The interior volume of a Miata is fairly small, which means that the heater can get the space pretty toasty in short order, along with heated seats and strategically placed vents winter driving for me is never uncomfortable. Of course that doesn't do anything for your luggage space concerns, but I thought I'd chime in about the Miata's winter performance in terms of comfort. Now that I am a little older I don't do it as much, but as long as there wasn't precipitation I would drive with the top down even near freezing temperatures, due to the heater's performance and the vents that would blow directly on the steering wheel.

In any event, continued good luck with your search for a vehicle.

- Walter.
 

Francois Caron

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While i realize that it gets a tad cooler in Ottawa during the winter months when compared to Texas :) .
Average winter temps in Ottawa are about -10C to -20C (14F to -4F) with occasional windchill drops below -30C (-22F) thanks to the high humidity.

"A tad cooler" doesn't even begin to describe it! :D
 

Francois Caron

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Time for a game!

As I've said in my updated post with the second Miata and the "violated" Hyundai Accent, I promised you a game! And that is:

WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS CAR?

Our first candidate comes from the Elite BMW dealership located in the Ottawa area. It's a 2017 Fiat 500 Pop with only 1,347 km (837 mi) on the odometer. It originally started life possibly as a demonstrator at a Chrysler/Fiat Studio dealer in Edmonton, Alberta. It was later shipped to Ottawa to be sold (it wasn't driven to Ottawa, the odometer reading's too low). The car has been for sale in Edmonton since October, and in Ottawa for the last three months.

The asking price is a firm $8,900 CAD ($6,371 USD) for what's essentially a new car.

Now you know why I was wondering what was wrong with this car. I later found out what it was. Now it's your turn to guess what it is!

Here are a few pictures to start off the game.

75613210.jpeg 75613208.jpeg
75613207.jpeg 75613213.jpeg

Make your best guesses!
 

LeoA

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I'm sure it's not the correct answer, but I'll go with it being a bit too close in size to a Matchbox car, lol.
 
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