In response to Mr R.J. Hardaker’s appeal to other Fiat 124 Special T 1600 owners for tales of woe. I would like to add my own contribution.
I purchased my new car on 13/8/73, the overall finish was very good apart from one or two small scratches which were touched up by the garage.
My first problems arose whilst driving home to Birmingham from the garage in Cheltenham. The brake pedal had an unpleasantly long travel and quite firm pressure’was required just to slow the car! I put this down to the pads needing bedding in. The more annoying problem was a knocking noise from the rear end which only occured when the engine wasn’t pulling (in gear) or when the car was allowed to coast out of gear. I contacted the garage and they promised to attend to the faults at the first service.
I was pleased to find that after the service the brakes were 100% better although perhaps not quite so good as on my previous car (an MG-B). The knocking noise was not, however, corrected. To be fair the garage did make quite an effort discover the cause, in the process replacing a drive-shaft and re-positioning the exhaust pipe. The eventual diagnosis being a faulty differential and a aew one was ordered. (This has now arrived and will be fitted on 6/10/73).
The next traumatic incident occurred after a leisurely motorway journey (the road was crowded with idiots crawling in the middle lane) I had just pulled off and was easing around a busy island when the oil-pressure light came on (why no oil-pressure gauge?) causing me to switch off immediately. To cut a long story short the garage had the car in again immediately and the problem was blamed on faulty electrics (it now seems OK). The car has now covered 4700 miles and to my dismay (after reading Mr. Hardaker’s letter) the gearbox has started to whine in top gear at about 4,500 r.p.m.! the speedo cable has started to make nasty noises and the rev-counter has become inaccurate. I should like to add that, unlike Mr. Hardaker, I have received efficient and courteous service from my Supplier (Baytree Garage, Prestbury, Cheltenham) and they did provide me with a car for a day. Thus my opinion of the 124 Special T is that it is fairly rapid, pleasant to drive car but a little too unreliable to recommend to others. Any ideas on what to replace it with? Maybe I will go back to the outdated, much abused and loveable MG-B (if BLMC can produce enough),
Thank you for a great magazine. Birmingham J.B. Rowlands