BRITISH CARS IN ROME
Having read with much interest the contributions of ” Unglaubiger ” and Major Peaty on prices in France and Germany, may I add in turn some equivalent information on the situation here in Italy ? The following is a representative -selection of prices of cars up. to 1,300 c.c., excluding Italian Government purchase tax of 33%(!), registration charges and road tax (based on a sliding scale from, for example, 6,8o5 lire for the 499-c.c. Fiat 500D to 30,620
lire for the 1,295-c.c. Fiat 1300).
included in the basic price. Delivery charges are usually
• . .. If the editor is not surfeited by statistics perhaps he might let me quote some sates figures of cars imported into Italy from January-November 1961 inclusive, culled from a reputable motoring journal :—
Despite impeccable road-holding, space, and a lively performance the Mini suffers from yet a further handicap here as well as those mentioned by Major Peaty, i.e., minimal fuel capacity and undergearing. This is, of course, its total lack of” aesthetics,” one of the most prized qualities that are taken into account in this country when buying an (expensive!) foreign car. B.M.C. would do well to look at, for example, a Bianchina, which might show them that it is possible to produce a very small car that is at onde cheap, attractive and well finished. And then the eternal spares problem seems to be with us still; you may be interested to hear of two friends of mine in Rome, both with Morris Minors. One had to wait six weeks for a gearbox, and the other two months for a crankshaft which, when it finally arrived, was found to be Of the wrong type; another . month elapsed before the right part eventually arrived.
One can only hope that the largest motor corporation in Europe.
having amused itself enough with its Spridgets, Rolesley Wolves and so on. not to speak of delightfully misleading publicity statements, will eventually get down to the business of selling motor cars. I have experience of both Cowley and Mirafiore products and I fear that I shall again be resorting to one of the latter, as I can at least vouch for the following : It will not
(m) require a replacement engine after 20,000 miles nor new tyres after 9,000 no matter how hard it is belted down the Autostrada del Sole.
(2) a gearbox ” ricostruzione ” at 8,0oo miles no matter how hard it is caned up the Stelvio, nor frequent replacement brake linings, however fast it goes down the other side. It will have—
(2) .Only two greasing points.
(3) A 230-mile fuel range.
(4) A 24-ft. turning circle.
(5) A waterproof ignition system.
(6) A silent heater.
(7) A demister that works.
(8) A thiefproof petrol filter that doesn’t spit the fuel back in your face.
(9) Accessible light switches, including (a) a headlamp flasher that works without the sidelights, (6) a positive indicator switch with a repeater that does not blind the driver at night.
(to) Visible instruments (not clustered in the middle of the facia. where only the back-seat passengers can see them).
(a t) Self-parking windscreen wipers.
2) A speedometer needle that does not wander in spite of a long cable drive.
(13) A hand-throttle. It will not
(i) have any glued-on bits of woOd adorning the interior, nor interior lights which concentrate their entire attention on the parcels shelves. (2) have the slightest trouble in containing its six-foot owner.
3) be an easy car to break into.
4) fail to keep out torrential rain despite a sunshine roof. , sl deposit its exhaust system in the road without due warning.
(6) be !et-propelled.
(7) be ludicrously expensive.
(8) resemble in any way a bow-legged sardine tin.
Rome. ▪ • * C. D. L. PIGGOTT.