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Hello from a new Abarth owner

1362 Views 5 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  sweitznr
Hi all. I just moved to Wilmington NC from New York. Since the day the new 124 was first shipped I had used the Fiat USA site's clumsy inventory search to find a Lusso or Abarth with manual and upgrade package. I had a deposit on a white Lusso up in NY but decided to wait till I got down here and see if any Abarths would ship this year. Found my car in Roanoke Virginia and just drove it down to Wilmington on Wednesday. The ride down was great and I have about 400 miles on the car so far. Observations: I really like the ride and handling in the Abarth a lot more than the Lusso that I had test driven. To be honest I like the more elegant look of the Lusso front end, but the Abarth is growing on me. My only real beef with the design is the awkward storage. It's great to have that lockable storage space, but there really ought to be a place to stick your wallet, phone, sunglasses either in the door or even a tray under the dash (where a glove box would be if there had been room).

Two questions for anyone who has had the car for awhile:
1) The "low coolant temp" blue light has been on pretty much every time I start the car in the morning. Is that normal?
2) To my ear, the manual tranny makes a ton of noise that I can only hear if the top is up and the sound system off. I got the car with 18 miles on it but haven't ruled out the possibility that someone who doesn't drive stick "test drove" the car and mashed the gears some--though I wouldn't have thought that could create enough damage to get a noisy gear box. I'm hoping this is a "wearing in" noise but concerned.

Thanks for any response. I'm glad there's already an active board for the car. I have still yet to see any other 124s on the road all the way from New York down here to Wilmington. Why on earth they are shipping so many automatics is a mystery to me.
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1) Yes, that is normal. It's just to let you know the engine isn't warmed up yet so you should limit your hotrodding.

2) Yes, the manual makes a lot of mechanical clinking and clunking noises when you change gears. I kind of like it.

I'm still working on making the 1st to 2nd shift smoothly. Seems to be a big gap that I have to feather the clutch a bit to keep from giving myself whiplash. :)
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