The Twelve Drives of Christmas - 02. Fiat 126 vs The Arctic Winter.
Before I set forth on the Mongol Rally - as described in the first of this series - I was getting rather used to having Daisy the Mini as my around-town runabout. I may have mentioned this to my family in passing before I left, with a throwaway comment along the lines of 'when I get back I fancy getting another little classic city car. Another Mini maybe, or something like a Fiat 500'.
Having celebrated my birthday in Mongolia, I came home to find that my family had clubbed together to get me a late birthday present - not the '500 I'd aspired to, but instead a Fiat 126, purchased for the astronomical sum of £200. Here's the stats:
Car: 1992 Fiat 126 Bis.
Cost: £200 in 2006
Route: England to Arctic Norway, via the town of 'Hell', in midwinter.
Breakdowns: Many, mainly down to carburettor icing.
Ben's Rating: 7/10. The Fiat lacked the charisma of Daisy the Mini, but certainly put its own unique mark on our trip to the Arctic, and it was great fun sliding the little rear wheel drive beastie around on the snow.
One Autumn afternoon, I collected the Fiat from my family home in South Wales, and set off on the two hour drive back to Plymouth. And I hated it. After 10,000 miles in that great little Mini, the Fiat felt, well, a bit bland and rubbish. So that evening, I met up with my friend Brummy in the pub, and we discussed what to do with it. And in a perfect piece of drunken logic, we decided that as it was the car from Hell, we should drive it to Hell.
Hell is a small village near Trondheim, in Norway.
And so, in December 2006, three months after getting back from the Mongol Rally, we piled into the wee Fiat and set course for the Arctic Winter, on an adventure you can read about here: https://www.autoclassics.com/posts/reviews/bangernomics-fiat-126-arctic-circle
The Fiat was sold on after the trip, and hasn't been seen or heard of again. However a brief look at the DVLA's MOT records show it was on the road until 2014, but hasn't been MOT'd since, meaning it's probably rusting away on someone's drive somewhere. If anyone has any leads on J846 GTP, I'd love to hear them, as it deserves a better fate than that.
Here are some of the photos from the trip: