FIAT owner/driver since 1958. Have had 17 including three long-term rentals for touring/camping in Europe. Oh, yeah, three of the seventeen were the "145," with all the mechanical gubbins and parts from the FIAT "128" and is commonly known at the Zastava "Yugo," equal in every way to the FIAT except maybe the fit and finish... it may have even been of better overall build quality than the contemporary Italian products. There, I said it.
Wife and I have covered well over a million miles in mostly the under one-liter models- Nuova 500 (3), 600 (1), 600D (3) and 850 sedan (2, including one "Idroconvert-- loved that!"). Over one-liter include "Millecento" (1), 145/Yugo (3), 127 (2 well, 903cc OHV), New 500 (2). No sport models as I'd rather surprise others- "Look at that little crap can go!" I also like the utility of four seats, 'specially back when our parents were living.
I only modified one mechanically. I did up the '70 850, converting it to "Special" specs (front discs, 2-bbl. Weber, tuned exhaust... plus- 12:1 Borgo pistons. It put out about 60 hp and would pull six thou (90 mph) in top cog, straight 'n' level, no wind. A fire-breather even when I retired it after fourteen years and 170K miles... "New England Tin Worm," doncha know. The only downside was it needed the highest of hi-test to be happy.
I grew up when 0-60 in under ten seconds was difficult to attain and this New 500 Pop does it easily so why kill the mpgs? I do like to visually enhance them, tho' and the two New 500s have been treated to judiciously applied "chrome" trim. I gussied up the stock steel wheels with Nuova 500L hubcaps, Ivory paint and trim rings. And I lathe-turned a walnut replica of the 600 shift knob- it's the sexiest, most user-friendly one with which I ever snicked a gear.
The very first one I bought was a brand spanking new '58 633cc "600" and cost $1400 (no NJ tax then) at Stillman & Hoag in Englewood, NJ. It was a drop-dead gorgeous navy/gray with WSW Pirelli Sempiones. Put 65K on it in just under three years mostly on the hills of southern New England. Taught me a whale of a lot about "energy management," i.e.; go like h**l BEFORE you hit the base of the hill! I traded it for a two-tone gray '61 "1100" DeLuxe, also with WSW Pirelli Sempiones which we sold in Turkey for a hundred less than I paid for it.
My most disappointing one was the one and only full-auto, the '12 white 500 with the Aisin box. Wifey had said I was getting too old to shift so I should get an automatic. I groused enough that she encouraged me to trade it within a year for the 5-speed I'm now driving with 65K on it. I'm going on 88 and still vastly enjoy stirring the cogs, 'specially in the mountains! Except for the idiots hereabouts in central FL, local driving is a total flat-land bore. Overall MPG? 41.5! Up to 51 on round trips to the Blue Ridge in NC, mountains and all.
Yeah, I know, too much blather from an ol' foof.