Any hundred people asked which European country is the most stylish would probably come out with a 99 to one answer; Italy. This is true of clothes, shoes, bags, food, drink; even the pasta comes in designer shapes. So it is hardly likely that their cars would be anything less than stylish and there is definitely something about the cars the country produces which strikes a certain chord with most people. Unlike some makes which have become rather laughing stocks as far as looks are concerned, no matter how many times they redesign (Skoda, anyone?) Italian cars are stylish, zippy and full of street cred, even when basically they look like a cardboard box on wheels – the Fiat Panda being the prime example. Some of the great Italian cars are not necessarily for popping down to the shops and picking up the kids, but petrolheads like to dream.
Top end beauties
Starting at the very top is always a good idea and for everyone who has ever fallen in love with Italian auto styling the top of the top is the Ferrari Enzo. Produced between 2002 and 2004, this car has everything and is something to bear in mind when pottering to the supermarket in a Fiat 126. From the gull-wing doors to the low, mean front, the Enzo is the ultimate Italian car and is something to aspire to. The Lamborghini Murciélago coupe, released in 2002 and redesigned as the Roadster in 2005 is also a car to make the neighbours jealous. Unlike the Enzo, though, it is a car that everyone could aspire to without winning the lottery, although it is still, unsurprisingly, still pretty pricey!
Alfa Romeo’ Spider has appeared in some amazing iconic films, not least of course The Graduate with Dustin Hoffman famously running out of petrol on his way to save Katherine Ross from a disastrous marriage (for those who haven’t seen the film, he gets there in time!). Although the film did a lot for the car by bringing it to the world’s attention, it also made the lack of petrol gauge common knowledge too, so it was redesigned in later models. Alfa is such an iconic make – although strangely often considered the ‘poor relation’ in Italian marques – that driving any Alfa Romeo has to be a real street-cred enhancer.
After all the glories of Spiders and Enzos come the everyday Italian cars which make up the bulk of the output of the countries car plants. Fiat cars have won European Car of the Year twelve times in the past forty years which is a pretty impressive score. Most of these wins were for the more everyday car such as the Uno (1984), Panda (2004) and the 500 (2008). These cars are the choice of people who want a hardworking car which will be moderately cheap to put right when things go wrong and will be reliable in-between. Some European makes from other countries, such as Renault from France, have some real drawbacks when it comes to parts and spares either because of expense or difficulty in finding the relevant part but Italian cars, and Fiat in particular have parts that are easy to find, cheap to buy and also easy to fit, making garage bills much lower in general.
Although Italian cars do come in family sizes, many of them are small and nippy and just made for town driving and parking. Anyone who has ever driven in Italy knows that the drivers there are very adventurous when it comes to squeezing into tight spots and it is with them in mind that some of the smaller cars have been designed. The Fiat 500, for example, with its funky roll-back soft top is only 139 inches long and 64 inches wide so will fit in the tiniest parking space imaginable. It sometimes seems when trying to park that the car-park designers don’t want a driver to be able to get out once stopped, so narrow are the spaces. This is no problem for the Fiat 500 and if all else fails, you can climb out of the roof, which folds right back. It is this kind of car that people really love to drive – fast and zippy on motorways and a dream to park in town.
Reliable as well
As if all this style and convenience were not enough, Italian cars also come up well in any list of most reliable second hand car purchases. With many people nowadays always buying used, they look for this above other criteria and so anything that lasts without costing a fortune has the attention of any buyer. Italian knowhow in the auto industry dates almost from the first days of car manufacturer and they haven’t wasted a moment.
Author Bio : John Hinds writes for Lojix. His interests include blogging, reading, playing tennis, listening to music and traveling.