Generations Timeline, Specs and Pictures
In 1996 Fiat returned on the market of affordable open-top roadsters with the Barchetta, a car built on top of a Fiat Punto platform but designed with passion.
To cut its production costs, Fiat built the bodywork at a subcontractor named Maggiora, who went bankrupt in 2002. But the Italian carmaker didn’t want to give up and found a new assembly line to build it in its Mirafiori plant in 2003. During this one-year pause, the carmaker introduced new features and refreshed the little roadster.
At the front, the carmaker replaced the front wrapped-around bumper with a redesigned one, which sported a taller center grille extended between the hood’s edge and the lower apron edge. It was flanked by a pair of scoops that hosted the fog lights. The headlights were new as well. At the back, Fiat introduced a new bumper extended downwards and without a diffuser as on its 1996 model.
The 2003 Barchetta featured a new instrument panel with individual clusters for its dials instead of a joint panel for all the dials. On the center stack, Fiat placed an aluminum-look trim. On the passenger side, the carmaker added an airbag, which replaced the glove compartment. Its two bucket seats provided a medium-size bolstering. To protect the occupants from wind, the carmaker offered a mesh behind the seats.
Under the hood, the carmaker installed a variable-valve timing engine with a 1.8-liter displacement that provided 130 hp and paired it to a five-speed manual.
After a long absence from the sports car market, Fiat unveiled their response to the Mazda MX-5 with the launch of the Fiat Barchetta.
Have you ever thought that one of the Italy’s symbols in the automotive industry was created by a Greek? Well, Andreas Zapatinas was the one to design the Barchetta.
The sporty vehicle was built on the Fiat Punto’s platform, however, the chassis was shortened, strengthened and revised to offer more performance.
Such as the Punto, the Barchetta featured a front-wheel-drive system, fact that may have upset some of the rear-wheel-driver lovers for a sports car.
The car’s body parts were assembled by Maggiora. When Maggiora went out of business in 2002, Fiat ceased production and managed to relocate after 1 year.
The Barchetta had a zippy engine, 1,8-liter powerplant that developed 130 hp and had a top speed of around 200 kph.
Even though Fiat had never produced right-hand drive models, the Barchetta was loved in England and Japan.
The small Barcheta (which, by the way, translates into “Little Boat”) could sprint to 100 kph in 8.9 seconds.
The sports car had a great handling and a very precise steering with its short, stout body that was close to the ground, as well as the wheels positioned at the extreme corners of the chassis.