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A year of yellow

November - Pete Fairhurst

A bright yellow Abarth 595 Competizione on 17
The end of November marks a full 12 months of ownership of my mad little yellow bucket of crazy. At the risk of incurring the wrath of the mechanical gods, it's been absolutely faultless to own. It breezed through it's first MOT and major service in my ownership and, even more remarkably, it's still sitting on the same set of (very expensive) performance tyres it came with - with only minimal wear. And I've made some decent use of right pedal, but all perfectly legal, officer.

A full spectrum of seasonal driving has revealed some of it's downsides though. It only really has two states of being: absolutely berserk or switched off. On smooth, curving roads it's general manners and ability to surgical slice through apexes is genuinely breath-taking - a particular highlight being one particularly cocky Focus ST owner flashing lights for a race home on the daily commute, only to leave them vanishingly small in the rear view mirror whenever we hit the twisty stuff. When I was researching the Abarth, I think Autocar captured it's character best: "bumper-car compactness and manoeuvrability, brusque handling and the fierce yet patchy acceleration of a terrier gathering speed on wet grass."

However, the ride is punishingly hard for a "daily." Try to push it too far on our more typical bombed-out British B-roads, and you risk skittering off into the nearest field coughing up a vertebrae or three in the blink of an eye.

Still, it is brilliant fun, and I'm also quite fond of its Marmite nature with other motorists; from angry boot-hangers, thinking it's "just a noisy 500" (before binning them with a quick drop-shift-punt to third gear), to boy racers' jaws hanging open when they hear the frankly rude exhaust fire up in a car park. The thunderous burble is likely as close as I'll ever get to owning a V8.

All said and done, its proud unhingedness still makes me grin like a loon when I walk back to it at the petrol station. Just like this first photo I ever took of it, about 20 minutes after collection in late 2020.
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