My first car was a 1973 Plymouth Valiant. It had a V-8, automatic transmission, power steering and brakes, and over 100,000 miles on the clock. The car had been well cared for but suffered being a product of mid-seventies "how cheaply can we build it" technology.

After owning the car for a while it began to have some problems, most of which were too expensive for me to afford to have worked on by a repair shop. I was still in school and barely made enough money to buy gas and insurance, so to have a running car meant becoming a home mechanic.

Since before I could drive I was interested in cars and how they worked, so learning to work on my own vehicle was a welcome challenge. As more parts on my car failed, I learned more about how they work together and became increasingly confident at doing my own work. At some point in time I began to question why certain components were designed the way they were, and think about more sensible designs and how the current designs might be changed. I determined that my current vehicle was a hopeless case and decided to look for a different one. That was when I bought my first FIAT, a 1981 Brava.

This car was also a front engine, rear wheel drive, four door sedan, but that is about all that was the same. The FIAT drove so differently and felt much more precise. Another major difference was the power under the hood. My Valiant would roast most anything off the line. My Brava needed some time to get up to speed, but it really didn't bother me because I had discovered a new realm of driving. The Brava's steering response was so much quicker and more controlled that my interest in handling leaped way ahead of my interest in speed and acceleration.

I was so impressed with the precision and simplicity of this car that I began looking for any information that I could find to learn about FIATs and their handling qualities. I was disappointed to find that very little information was readily available, so I began to learn about general handling and suspension principles hoping to apply what I could to my car. That was nearly eight years and quite a few FIATs ago and I believe that I have learned a great deal about this subject and about the specifics of these cars.

I decided to join this project to help create the opportunity for others to learn about their FIATs and supply information helpful for enhancing these fine cars for more driving enjoyment. Whether you choose to modify your own car or just read about what we have done, we welcome all inquiries about our articles and recommendations. If you would like to challenge our information, please do, but not before doing your homework, as we have certainly done ours in preparation for this project. This will be an on-going project with no foreseen end point, so we will be adding articles about various subjects from time to time. We are not above admitting to or correcting our mistakes and we will be sure to give credit wherever deserved for any information, tips, or contributions. Please be patient about our response time to inquiries as we never seem to have the time we would like to devote to this project. If we don't have an answer to your question, we'll find it and let you know.

I wish you all happiness and success with your FIATs and your projects.

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