In early December, my venerable old 1997 Toyota Camry finally gave up the ghost. Having served us for about 200,000 of her 310,000 miles, she threw a connecting rod. Let me just say, that this was one of the best cars ever made. The Camry was so reliable, so well balanced in features and performance….all I can say is, I will miss having so trusty a car!
But then we had to figure out what to do next. Obviously, I need a car to get to work. And my wife needs a car too. With the Camry gone, we were down to one car and had to get another. My personal favorites have always been Porsches. Ever since I was very little, I have loved the 356’s and 911s. For a short while, I owned a 1967 Bahama Gold 912…this was a GREAT car — it got 30mpg, ran very reliably, needing almost no repairs in the time I had it, handled great, and turned heads wherever it went. On the flipside however, it was loud, you couldn’t drive it any kind of weather (because it was a piece of history), and my wife hated it (even though she though it was a very cute car).
How we came to the decision to buy a new/used Fiat is a story in itself, but let’s just say it was the right balance of affordable, cute, fun to drive, economical, and endorsements from friends who had one.
One the advice of a good friend, I decided I would buy only in NY, so I called the nearest NY Fiat dealership — Fiat of Larchmont and asked to speak to someone in sales. At this point I still had a number of questions about the cars. For one thing, what did ‘Pop’, and ‘Lounge’ mean? Which cars had the convertible top? What sort of warranty was there? What is the 500L? I was pretty sure I wanted a turbo and a convertible top, but that was about as far as it went.
Now look, friends, when I go out to buy a car from a dealer, I have this expectation, reasonable or not, that the sales person is going to be absolutely bonkers about their car. I expect that they are going to know everything there is to know about their car, why their car is better than anything else in its class, and why I should buy one right now. I want to buy a car from a person who loves what they’re selling! Because if the sales guys isn’t passionate about their product, why should I think it is any good? I don’t expect to hear a salesperson give vague answers to specific questions. Ok, so maybe the sales guy wasn’t very technical. But he could of at least said “gee, I don’t know, let me find out the answer to your question.” But unfortunately, the sales guy in Larchmont either didn’t really like Fiats, or didn’t really want to sell any cars, because he did not have answers to my questions and showed no interest in finding them.
But I still wanted to buy a Fiat, and in NY, so I called Fiat of Manhattan. But this time, when I got connected to the receptionist, I asked “Do you have anyone on staff whom you would describe as ‘passionate’ about cars?” “Oh yes,” she replied. “I’ll connect you to Guiseppe.” And friends, Guiseppe did not disappoint.
Not only was he able to tell me what was the difference between Pop, Lounge, and Sport, but he also could tell me the specs on the Abarth, and by the way, he’s got one right now that he would love to show me.
I could tell right away that I was dealing with someone who loved his product.
So the next day, my son and I got on the train and headed off to Fiat of Manhattan. We met Giuseppe, and he gave us a test drive in a 2015 Nero Black Fiat 500 Abarth with 270 miles on it, explaining all the cool features (like Sport mode!) and generally getting us acquainted with the car.
OH MY GOODNESS, WHAT A FUN CAR!!!!
I probably should have looked at other cars, but the Abarth was so fun, sooo good looking, and since it was technically used, was available for better than %20 off of MSRP. How do you say no to a deal like that? Besides, convertibles are no fun in winter.
Now it is February, and I like the car even more than when I bought it. It is the most delightful car I have ever owned, and my wife loves it too. Now what could be better than that?
Thanks, Giuseppe, for being so knowledgeable and helpful, and for helping me to get a car that both my wife and I love to drive!
And to you my friends, if you are looking for something small, stylish, and fun, check out the Fiat’s. If have any questions about Fiats, or if you are in or near NY, talk to Giuseppe Salvitti at Fiat of Manhattan. And if you are in Orlando, talk to Andrew Tartaglia at Fiat of Orlando (I was in town and dropped into the Fiat dealership and he and I got to talking — definitely a man who is passionate about his product!)