Fiat Barchetta (1995 – 2005) Review

Fiat Barchetta (1995 – 2005) At A Glance


+Affordable open-top fun for cruisers, cute retro looks, great front-wheel drive handling

-Left-hand drive only, people trying to palm off over-priced personal imports as official UK cars

The Type 176 Fiat Barchetta was a welcome return by Fiat to the affordable sports car market it had been absent from since the demise of the Bertone X1/9 in 1989. Development started in 1990, almost to a day after the arrival of the Mazda MX-5, but unlike its Japanese inspiration, the Barchetta was based upon the floorpan of an existing front-wheel drive hatchback, in this case the Punto.

Purists might bemoan Fiat's choice of front-wheel drive, but to most owners, it didn't matter as the Barchetta was simply great fun to drive. The car's bodyshells were assembled by Maggiora - but when that company went out of business in 2002, production was halted for a year while Fiat relocated production to its Mirafiori plant. While production was on hold, Fiat lightly facelifted the Barchetta before reintroduction in 2003. The Barchetta was reintroduced in the UK for he bargain basement price of £10,995, picking up a useful and appreciative audience.

Today, rust-free bodies and tough mechanicals make these an interesting alternative to an MX-5 or MGF. Assuming you can put up with left-hand drive.

Ask Honest John

I have a 1998 Fiat Barchetta so do I need a red key?

"I have a 1998 Fiat Barchetta so do I need a red key? "
As far as we're aware, these did come with a red master key. This master key was needed if new keys had to be coded, but if the worst happens modern technology can overcome it without resorting to new ECU’s (a proper auto locksmith should be able to deal with it).
Answered by Keith Moody
More Questions

What does a Fiat Barchetta (1995 – 2005) cost?