Fiat Punto GT: Crock or classic?
Evening to you all, welcome to my kitchen table, as I’m writing while looking through my flat window at the Birmingham lights, and welcome back to another episode of Crock or Classic (please don’t copyright me BBC I’m just a kid with a dream) where I take a look at cars that could be possible crocks or
future classics. Now, this article starts not with Auto Trader or eBay, but rather with Instagram. Last week, I opened up Instagram where I noticed I had a message request. I opened it up to my first article request. This particular guy (very nice guy called Chris, cheers) asked for a Crock or Classic article about his first car, a 1995 Fiat Punto GT. Once I had stopped being starstruck because I had my first request, I got working on the article. But before I could write it, I realised that I’d never heard, let alone driven a 1995 Fiat Punto GT. So that meant that I had to ring my mate who works in a used car supermarket. And behold the gods, there happened to be a 1996, lightly aged Punto GT sitting on the lot.
First impressions when I climb inside are actually positive. The interior feels surprisingly high quality and the seats, despite smelling like dog breath, are comfortable and give a good line of sight for the aspiring hot hatch driver of 1996. This particular model was the top of the range GT with the staggering amount of 131 bhp, quite nifty for a hatchback. This gives the car a cool top speed of 120mph. My mate tosses me the keys and I start her up and set off. The engine barks into life and the throttle response is crisp and quick as I push the pedal down. But there’s something missing. Usually when I jump into a car that is to be a future classic, there is a certain quality that grabs my attention and makes me absorbed in the ride and the feel of the car, completely unaware of anything going on around me. Law and order could break down and society could fall into anarchy outside, and if I was driving a future classic I really wouldn’t care.
Yet after 20 minutes of driving, I’m looking out of the window at the clouds, other cars, and thinking about sausage rolls. The car just can’t hold my attention. It also can’t hold onto the road properly, due to the fact that it understeers horrendously on each corner. The engine does pull well and there’s a lot of space inside (especially for a hatchback) but there’s no hook, nothing to grab me by the collar, yank me inside and never let me go, like if I was driving a car I knew for certain was a future classic. It’s like a Lego instruction manual that’s missing the last page: it’s all coming together, but there’s just a crucial piece missing.
After a while spent in a motorway services thinking about what this car is missing, I realised that it’s not missing anything at all. Everything is fine, works properly and doesn’t let me down. It’s what it has in abundance that scuppers it. University. It’s simply too universal. Take this for an example. Anyone would be able to tell a normal Ford Fiesta and a Ford Fiesta ST apart. There’s big differences. But this car has nothing apart from an engine to differ it from a normal Punto. This in turn makes it normal and boring, something a hot hatch should never be, which alienates their market.
Don’t get me wrong, I think this is a cracking little car. But it’s not a classic because a true classic car explores something new or at least takes a novel approach to an overdone concept. But this car offers nothing to make me come back like a panting dog for more. This car isn’t bad by a long mile, but I’m afraid I have to end my classic streak and declare it a crock.
Thanks so much for reading, I’ve recently set up a new Instagram account with the username @weldonswheels so go ahead and give it a follow, be a mate! Stay tuned for the next article, coming soon!