I bought a Fiat 500D some 24 years ago instead of a Mini, and this choice has been vindicated so far. It is a most splendid little beast, and a constant delight. I would hesitate to attempt the World’s Land Speed Record at its wheel but it is unfailingly reliable, remarkably cheap to run, and enormous fun to drive. With well over 40,000 miles to its credit the engine still runs like a turbine at its habitual cruising speed of 60 m.p.h., while overall consumption of cheap(?) petrol is about 56 m.p.g. Michelin “X” tyres help to raise its road-holding to a very high level, although I must admit that Minis (presumably young ones) frighten it now and again on wet roads. Perhaps the best feature, however, is the careful way in which it is constructed, and it is not, like so many British cars, a sound design which has been virtually nullified by cretinous assembly.
Most friends and acquaintances, when urged to emulate my example, become worried about the servicing arrangements for queer foreign cars in this country. I can only say that my own experience has been entirely happy. Firstly, little more than minimal routine work is necessary and, secondly, this part of the country is very well served with agents.
Championship of foreign cars gives me a vague, unpatriotic sensation, but I’m afraid that until I am more convinced that a British car will give the same high standard of reliability over a long period I will be forced to think of buying my fourth Fiat.
Finally, Sir, may I congratulate you on continuing to produce such an excellent publication in which honest opinion is not modified by commercial pressure.
J. Westall – Nunthorpe.