Wednesday, May 29, 2024

‘Fun to drive’ sports car that’s loved by Richard Hammond can be bought for £4K

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A MODERN classic sports car that’s loved by Top Gear legend Richard Hammond can be picked up for under £4,000.

The little motor, which he owned an example of for a number of years and described as “fun to drive”, is a second-hand bargain – if you can find one.

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The little known Fiat Barchetta was a favourite of Richard Hammond’sCredit: Top Gear, BBC
The convertible can be picked up for a bargain price

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The convertible can be picked up for a bargain priceCredit: Getty

The rare set of wheels is the often-forgotten Fiat Barchetta, a roadster built by the Italian brand from 1995 to 2005.

Based on the chassis of the Fiat Punto, the Barchetta was curiously left-hand drive only – despite being readily available to buy in the UK.

Marketed as cheap and reasonably nippy, capable of reaching 62 mph in 8.9 seconds with a top speed of 124 mph, the convertible proved to be a hard sell in the UK – with just 751 Barchettas sold during its 10-year run.

However, Hammond was one of the motor’s proudest owners – proclaiming his love for it during a Top Gear review in 2004 when it was pitted against the Mazda MX-5 and Toyota MR-2.

He said: “The Barchetta is not just pretty, it’s also rare, and that makes it cool.”

He also talked up the Barchetta’s price-tag at the time, which was much cheaper than its two rivals in the small convertible car bracket.

What’s more, in a piece he wrote for The Mirror in 2007, Hammond said: “The Barchetta looks brilliant and is full of cool details – like the little alloy doorhandles.

“It’s fun to drive, too.

“The engines do suffer from a few inherent faults but there’s a strong owners’ club and several independent specialists to help with problems.”

Modern classic that Jeremy Clarkson called ‘perfect’ can be bought for £8k

He also mentions his Barchetta in a feature with Autocar earlier this year, hinting that he sold the motor.

He said: “My wife and I had just learned we were going to have a baby, so I’d swapped my much-loved Fiat Barchetta for a four-seater, a ratty old Porsche 911 SC that was permanently in danger of exploding.”

Top Gear fans will also remember the Barchetta as Hammond’s motor of choice for the 2010 Middle East Special episode – which saw the presenters each given a budget of £3,500 to buy a second hand two-door convertible sports car.

Judging by Autotrader, the Barchetta is still hard to find – although examples do pop up from time-to-time and they’re consistently priced at under £4,000.

Its rarity and intrigue could even place it in the ‘modern classic’ category – meaning they could one day become favoured by enthusiasts and collectors.

This comes as a car expert predicts a popular soon-to-be discontinued motor will see huge “increase in resale value” within just months.

Elsewhere, Wheeler Dealers host Mike Brewer has addressed fans after they were left confused about the fate of a vehicle on the latest episode of their World Tour.

The Top Gear legend admitted he loved his Barchetta, claiming it was "cool" and "fun to drive"

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The Top Gear legend admitted he loved his Barchetta, claiming it was “cool” and “fun to drive”Credit: Top Gear, BBC
Only 751 were ever sold in the UK making this motor quite rare to find

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Only 751 were ever sold in the UK making this motor quite rare to findCredit: Getty

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