Cinquecento and Abarth Paradise Found!!
When you think of the little Fiat 500 or its slightly manic cousin, the Abarth 595, it gives you expectations of driving through Tuscany or the Italian Riviera. You have visions of La Dolce Vita, even if you are just driving to the supermarket. However I have found a land where the Abarth and Cinquecento are King and Queen of the roads. At this point you might be thinking of the south of France, the Alps, Majorca or even Croatia, but this location is much closer to home.
If you don’t recognise the picture then its a place which is not quite France but actually British. That place is Jersey, yes Jersey. The Jersey roads are full of the Fiat 500 and the Abarth 595, and that seems mad at first. After all Jersey residents are supposed to be pretty well off and therefore able to afford something a bit special. Indeed you do see some very special cars on Jersey, with a good smattering of Ferraris and other Italian super cars. However you see lots and lots of the cheeky cinquecento. So why is this? Well I have a few theories as follows:
- Parking in Jersey generally is a bit of a nightmare and the small proportions of the Fiat 500 make life much easier in that regard.
- There are no ‘main roads’ in Jersey, with all of them being like B roads or only wide enough for one way traffic. Added to this is the fact that the roads have no run-off areas; its stone walls each side or rock. There is no room for error and the fact that the 500 is narrower than a lot of cars, makes it a good choice.
- There is an island wide 40 mph speed limit in place, but the winding nature of the roads makes that not an important consideration. This makes a nippy, agile car the perfect choice.
- Lastly, if you have a bit of money, want to have fun, want cheap repairs and understand that there is no point worrying about what the top speed of your car is, then the Abarth 595 is perfect for a blast around the island.
Having spent some time on the island recently, I can confirm what a great driving experience it is and that the Abarth 595 is the perfect choice of car. With a bit of spirited driving then it is possible to drive around the whole island in little more than an hour too. As you can see, it is even used as the car of choice by the First Responders on Guernsey as well. So the most unlikely of places, it would seem, has become a paradise for the little Cinquecento.