We have done some re-organising with regard to our cars, and as my husband decided to purchase a small van for our Silver2treasure business I had to say a fond farewell to my old Jaguar Estate car that had been the workhorse and my car for the last few years, but was now proving a little too small as it was becoming more and more difficult to try and fit all our stock and large display cabinets in it. As the van is purely for business purposes I needed to look for an alternative car for me, and I have always loved the Fiat 500’s.
A couple of years ago, we were deciding to purchase a van for the business and then a small car for me to replace the Jag. I have always the loved the Fiat 500’s and we were contemplating getting a new one and having it built to my specifications, which included it being in the then new “Idol Pink” colour (much to Steve (my husband’s) disgust, as although he too loves the little Fiat 500’s he hated this particular colour. However, we decided against it and the Jag stayed for another couple of years.
So now with the arrival of the little van, now was the time to look for a Fiat, but not in Idol Pink, but decided on a red one, but it had to have a white steering wheel and dashboard. I searched the internet, and came across an advert in the Auto Trader of a little red one that appeared to be just what I was looking for, and it just leapt off the page at me as if to say “pick me, pick me”. I noticed the number plate WL11 GYY, and a name jumped out WYGLY (that is wiggly but spelt with two “y’s” and one “g” yes, I know, I am mad, but I do name all my cars) but it couldn’t be named anything else!!! Did look up alternative Italian names, but we always referred to it as Wygly even before we had even seen it in the flesh, and nothing was going to change.
It was through the large Westcountry Dealership of Vospers who are main dealers many makes of cars and have various branches throughout our part of the World. It was in their Truro (Cornwall) Branch, and it was very kindly driven up to our local branch in Plymouth for me to have a look and test drive it stressing that it would be under no obligation whatsoever.
Well, we arrived at the showroom on the 6th February 2014, and parked alongside was Wygly which looked exactly like it did in the photograph and it was love at first sight – forget the test drive, my mind had already been made up. The interior was perfect and everything about it couldn’t have been better. We did however test drive it, and apart from the quite loud engine noise which is a factor on this particular model, it drove really well, and was extremely nippy, particularly as it only has a 900 cc engine. This model is known as a Twinair and has turbo power, so for a little car it has lots of “go”. This was the first and only car that we looked at, but decided it was the one, so the deal was struck. Although isn’t it galling, that when you come to part exchange a car, their figures are always miles apart from what you expect, and basically the price we got was very upsetting. Dealers’ used car price books are very different to the price guides, that members of the public have access to!!!! Yet when you buy a car it is the other way round!!!. But a few days later Wygly came home with us, after a sad farewell to Olly (the Jag).
The first few trips out I got to know its little ways, but did notice that when I reversed up the slight incline of our drive and out onto the road, that it juddered quite a bit. I didn’t say anything to Steve the first couple of times, as I thought it was just me getting used to it. However, it didn’t get any better, so I did then mention it to Steve who initially thought it was just my bad driving, but I insisted he reversed it up the drive to see if it did the same to him. He came back and was rather reluctant but had to agree with me, that it was not my driving, and this shouldn’t be happening, and he thought it could well be a problem with the clutch. We did have a look on the Fiat forums, and found that other owners had experienced a similar problem, some saying that it was a clutch problem and others stating that it was a problem with the engine mount, but that Fiat apparently were aware of this problem, but had not recalled any cars, as they would fix it if anyone encountered the problem under the original manufacturer’s 3 year warranty.
We contacted Vospers and booked the car in for it to be looked at which couldn’t be done until the following week so Wygly went in on Wednesday 5th March 2014. After examining the car, they agreed that it was the clutch at fault, BUT they could not go ahead with any repair, as apparently the Fiat 3 year warranty does not cover clutches in the final year (and Wygly was in the last 6 month period of the warranty. The next step was to get someone from Fiat UK to come and inspect the car to see if in fact the warranty would cover it, or whether the used car 3 month warranty from Vospers would have to pay for it. One thing was for certain, the cost of the repair was not going to come out of our purse, after only owning the car for just over 3 weeks. So my euphoria of purchasing Wygly was brought to an abrupt halt and I was very disappointed that something had gone wrong so quickly.
Wygly stayed at the garage until the chap from Fiat came down on the Friday 7th March, and we got the phonecall to say that Fiat man had said “yes” and the clutch would be replaced warranty, which was a great relief, not only for us, but naturally for Vospers aswell. They then had to order the part which would take another couple of days and then a day to fit, so Wygly was actually in the garage for just under a week.
I got a phonecall on the Tuesday (11th March) to say that Wygly was ready to be picked up and were told that it had been washed outside so it was nice and clean, which it did (on the outside). Steve decided to drive Wygly home, to check that it was driving okay and once he checked the outside to make sure there were no scratches etc we set off home with me driving Steve’s car.
We arrived back home at about 3.45 p.m. and Steve got out, and as he got out I opened the passenger door to get something out that I had left inside, only to notice that there were black marks (some quite large) all over the front and back of all the seats. You didn’t have to be a detective to work out that engine parts had been put on the seats, without any protection whatsoever – unbelievable. Surely it is a matter of everyday procedure that seats are protected when mechanics are working on cars isn’t it? But what on earth were they doing putting engine parts inside the car in the first place, even as a mere woman surely the place should have been for dirty engine parts should be the garage floor!!!
I was extremely angry and my blood started to boil, and naturally came straight indoors and telephoned the service department of Vospers with my Mrs Angry head on, as you can imagine. I got put through to actual Fiat service manager who showed concern and said that naturally he wanted to see the car and could I take it in the following day, to which I refused and said that I was not going to drive it back to the garage AGAIN. It was agreed that he would send someone to collect it and assured me that it would be cleaned before it came back. All very well, but that does not excuse how a huge garage like Vospers, can a) not protect seats whilst work is being done, which surely is standard procedure, and b) why was it not checked before handing the car back to the customer, as surely if someone saw the state of the seats, they would made sure they were cleaned as a matter of course, or did they think I would not notice??? To think my lovely little car went into the garage in immaculate condition but came back filthy.
As promised at 10.00 on 12/3/2014 the Service Manager himself arrived and looked into the car. He did go quiet – I wonder why, as I am sure that he was surprised at the mess that my car had been returned to me in, and he too wondered why dirty parts had been placed in the car. He then drove Wygly back to the garage AGAIN and promised that it would be returned to me by the end of the day CLEAN!!!!
Wygly arrived back about 3.00 p.m that afternoon CLEAN, and back to the condition it was in before it went into the garage, which was very lucky for the Service Manager who drove it back!!!! He did say that he had filled up with petrol to try and placate me due to the inconvenience, but it probably cost him about £5 as I had only just filled it up just before it went into the garage, so to be honest his gesture didn’t really mean anything. I did enquire as to why the car was in the state it was in, hoping that the mechanic who had worked on it who quite clearly had no common sense, got a severe reprimand, but no, he said he had been in and out all day, and he took the car straight to the valeter, and hadn’t actually done any investigating. I couldn’t believe his response or action, as the first thing I would have done (or anyone would have done) if they were the Manager, would have been to haul the mechanic out to look at the mess he had left a customer’s car, and perhaps given him some basic common sense training in how to look after someone else’s property whilst in his hands. This is such a huge car dealership, with a large service department, which includes a very spic and span reception area and waiting room and gives the impression of a very click organisation, but clearly the same cannot me said about the mechanics.
When you collect the car, a customer’s questionnaire’s ticket is hooked over the steering wheel to ask for your comments on the service you have received which reads “Vospers Final Inspection. We hope that you have been completely satisfied with your visit today (well in my case just under a week), and you feel that the level of service has been 10/10. We also hope that you would feel confident in definitely recommending our services to friends and family. You may shortly be contacted by our customer service centre about today’s experience” I didn’t have to wait for them to phone me, I phoned them about 15 mintues after I had left the service centre. I did fill out the little questionnaire, but I expect you can guess that it was definitely not 10/10 and I would definitely not recommend anyone to use the service centre – well not until they can assure me, that their mechanics have had the basic training of “never put engine parts on uncovered seats or indeed inside the car!!!!! It was quite clear that no final inspection took place, or if it was, perhaps the person who did it forgot to put his glasses on, or then again perhaps someone did, but thought the black stains that were all over the seats, were part of the pattern!!!
Now Wygly is back home to stay (hopefully) and I begin to enjoy him all over again!!!!
A couple of months have passed and happy to say that Wygly is fine, and I love driving him. I would say however, that these super colourful little “happy” cars do stand out from the drab silver and black colours which most of the other makes seem to be manufactured in. So come on all you Fiat 500 drivers, lets make the roads a happier place and give a little wave to someone else who has chosen one of these great characterful little cars to drive. My Mum used to drive a Volkswagen Beetle and they used to wave to each other and it was great fun and left you with a warm feeling, so banish road rage, embrace Fiat 500 love.
UPDATE 13th February 2017
I am sorry to say that after nearly 3 very happy years with Wygly it was time to say goodbye. He had to go to make way for an estate car as I am going to get a Cockapoo puppy, and unfortunately Wygly was just not suitable for a dog. It was a very sad farewell day on 21st January 2016 and yes, I did shed a few tears. This is really weird but I part exchanged my original dark blue Jaguar Estate for Wygly and now I have part exchanged Wygly for another dark blue Jaguar X Type Estate, so a Wygly sandwich scenario!!! This one is older than Wygly and although it is lovely to drive it hasn’t got the character that all Fiat 500’s have. They are great fun and I would recommend one to anyone, as they are a great fun, retro little car in a lovely variety of colours
So the hunt is now on for a Cockapoo puppy. However a Cockapoo was not meant to be and Archie (the Clumberdoodle) arrived. Please click on the link to read all about him.
UPDATE ON WYGLY 16th September 2017
Surprise, surprise, I do have an update on Wygly. We took Archie for a walk at Parke a National Trust Estate at Bovey Tracey and were just finishing our walk, when a little red Fiat 500 drove past us on its way to the car park. I looked at the number plate and could not believe it, but it was Wygly. I quickened my step and followed it into the car park where it finally came to a stop, and I just had to go and speak to the driver. A gentleman got out and before he really had time to open the door. I was there.
Naturally he was a bit taken aback as this strange woman approaching him. Any way once he realised why I had rushed over to him and explained why I wanted to speak to him he relaxed. His wife was also in the car and naturally they were interested to know that I was the previous owner of the car and how much I loved it and was really sorry when it had to go. They said that they loved it too and after looking at several cars, Wygly stole their hearts.
I have to say that it was looking in super condition and has been clearly well looked after and they were a lovely couple. It transpired that they live in Torquay (which is not too far away from us in Ivybridge) so perhaps we might see Wygly out and about again in the future.
Seeing Wygly again brought it home how much I do love the Fiat 500’s and would love to own another one. I know I had to sell Wygly to get an estate car for the dog, but the pull towards another Fiat 500 is definitely on the cards, and although the boot is not really big enough for him he would have to have a proper doggy seat belt and sit on one of the seats.
However, Steve has gone “green” and now has an electric car a Nissan Leaf and with the demise of petrol and diesel cars in the future, a 2nd electric car is very much on the cards. This one would be mine, but there is only one electric car that I would consider and that is a Fiat 500e (electric). The only trouble with that is, that they are only made for the Californian market and are not available anywhere else on the planet, even in Italy!!! I actually contacted Fiat UK to ask if they would be producing them for the UK market in the future as I would be first in the queue, but was told that there were no plans – which I could not believe or understand. Fiat definitely need to re-think this and be quick as I know for a fact that I am not the only one who would be interested in buying one, and with lots of other manufacturers building electric cars, they could be left behind.
According to the Automotive Research Company iSeeCars.com who analysed 2.1 million 1 – 3 year old cars sold between January and August 2017 the fastest selling vehicle was the Fiat 500e (electric) with an average days on market of just 22.2 days. So come on Fiat, pull your finger out.
As you will have read in my previous post here, that I had to sell my beloved Wygly for an estate car which turned out to be an 8 year old Jaguar diesel. When Archie was a young puppy he sat in his crate in the boot, but when he outgrew his crate he just sat in the boot and it was quite easy for him to get in and out. However Archie did not like it and nearly every time he traveled in the Jaguar he was sick, even on short journeys. Although our main car is the electric Nissan Leaf and Archie travels absolutely fine in that one, there were times when I had to use the estate car.
With Archie being sick in it, we decided that the time had come after 12 months to look for an alternative to the dirty diesel and as Steve (my husband’s goal) was to get a 2nd electric car the search was on. He scoured the internet but there were no suitable cars and after many long discussions it was decided that until the right electric car came onto the market (hoping that the electric Fiat 500 might be a possibility in a few years time) we would still go ahead and exchange the Jaguar for a petrol car which is less of a pollutant.
I tried and tired to put forward my case for another little Fiat 500, well it would only be a second car and if Archie had to go out in in I had already decided that he could sit on the back seat (which would be covered) with a harness and a doggy seat belt – sorted. Steve came around to the idea and the hunt was on. There were however stipulations, it had to be red with the right colour interior.
Well, it didn’t take long (it was obviously meant to be) as a little red 1200 Fiat 500 was advertised in a local garage only a few miles from where we live. It was love at first sight and Wygly II (yes I have called it Wygly as we seem to refer to all Fiat 500’s as Wygly) is now a member of our family – makes me wonder why we had to sell the original Wygly in the first place!!
Archie loves going out in it and enjoys sitting on the back seat securely in his harness and doggy seat belt and definitely no car sickness!!
My only one small problem with Wygly II, is that it is a 1200 and not the 898 twin air which was a little pocket rocket. It is a bit of a snail in comparison with no oomph, but it is still full of character and a pleasure to drive – albeit it a lot slower. So this one will be staying for the foreseeable future as I have no intention to sell it, unless of course it is for the ultimate Fiat 500 electric!!!
UPDATE 13th May 2018
I am sorry to say that Wygly II was not like my original Wygly Twinair. As I state above it is a bit like a slug and had no oomph whatsover and I didn’t really enjoy driving it. The main problem was that pulling away from junctions I had to rev it hard in case it stalled and it just took forever to get up to speed. Steve couldn’t understand why I didn’t like it, until he drove it and felt exactly the same. So the hunt was on for another Twinair, particularly one that had a sunroof which is quite rare.
A Little Fiat 500 Judders Into The Family