Tag Archives: Fiat 500

Coronation Street Scene of the Week (Nov. 20/11)

Marc & Marcia & Bambina

The scene that made me shriek with delight this Tuesday was Kevin’s surprise gift to Sally seeing her Fiat 500Sally.  A beautiful little red Fiat 500, giftwrapped!  I just wanted them to keep the camera on the car.  My delight quickly turned to horror as Sally shrieked at the happy salesman to take it back.  No, Sally, you don’t know what you’re saying, no no, keep the car!!  Keep Kevin.  Give the car to me – Kevin too if it’s a package deal!

I thought, she’ll come to her senses.  The car will win out.  But then she flew into Kevin, and even said “the colour stinks”!  No, it’s beautiful!  It’s a brand new little Bambina.  Red!  What more could you want?

It was hard to concentrate on the show after that.  The image of the little orphan car wearing its bow was burned into my brain.

Marc as Marcia

Marc and Audrey in police station Marc as Marcia in police stationBut then I saw Marc, bruised and bloodied, slumped on the bench in the police station in dress, necklace and blonde wig.  The look of surprise then realization on Audrey’s face as she recognized the battered lady on the bench was the suave man she had come to the police station to help – priceless.

Then the beautiful scene that put even the Fiat 500 out of my mind (briefly).  Marc, cleaned up as best he could, explaining about being a transvestite and about his late wife and her acceptance of him and his alter-ego Marcia.  And Audrey understanding, remembering people in her life who were “different” but made her feel “fabulous” for just being her.

Audrey consoling Marc with a hugShe had jumped to the conclusion that many do: that cross-dressing is only something gay people do.  So she remembered her gay friend, Lionel the colourist.  I wished I had known Lionel, just from how she talked about him.  Sadly, he was one of the too many who died of AIDS in the 1980s.

That was a time when living with AIDS wasn’t talked about; dying from AIDS was the only option.  It was very frightening for gay men and for anyone who knew and loved a gay man.  Audrey’s far-away look as she talked about Leonard brought it all back for me.

And Marc was equally concise and effective at explaining straight male cross-dressing to Audrey.  He also conveyed the fear of telling a partner about it, about the fear of rejection Audrey telling Marc he must tell Claudiaand the joy of acceptance.  I also wished I’d known his late wife because she sounds like a lovely lady to have made him so happy in her life and so sorrowful at her death.

I hadn’t really had any thoughts one way or the other before about Marc, other than wondering what he was doing in the storyline with Audrey and Claudia.  Now I like him, feel like I know him, and I hope he and Audrey become lasting friends.  If he tells Claudia about his cross-dressing, I hope she is as understanding as Audrey was.  But, after all, she’s a hairdresser too so, as Audrey said, she also ought to have lots of experience with “people of all types.”  I’m counting on you, Claudia.

Big Jim

Jim telling bank teller to put money in bagFriday note:  I do not believe this bank robbery and Jim story.  He wouldn’t be that stupid, so he wouldn’t.  There are a million other ways to get out of this cockamamie story about the pub ownership.  Jim’s character didn’t need to be sacrificed in schedule-driven writing to accommodate actor and production plans.

Fiat Bambina

new Fiat 500 - cute carIf I could possibly justify another teeny-weeny cute car, I’d get the new Fiat 500. I’ve only seen one around here, a silver grey one. I like the tv ads, and I’ve checked them out online since I first heard that Fiat/Chevrolet was going to remake the Bambina.

I was so much hoping they’d do a good job – keep the look and spirit of the original, as BMW did with the MINI. And Fiat, bless their hearts, did.

In the 1970s, in New Zealand, I had a 1965 Fiat 500. There, at the time, old Bambinas were the car of choice or, more accurately, no choice for students and others with no money. I learned to drive on that little car and my boyfriend’s parents’ 12-seater Land Rover. It was like switching between a Dinky Toy and a tank.

Bambino in Ponsonby, AucklandMy Bambina had the “suicide doors” that hinged at the rear (it was 6 months older than the last of those). The back seat would hold two adults as long as they didn’t demand a lot of legroom. Storage was under the hood and the 500 cc engine was in the rear.

It was two cylinder. In models like mine, both pistons went up and down in unison instead of alternating. That meant a lot of vibration, leading to engine parts and wires falling off.

Repairing an old cute car

My boyfriend and I bought a manual for it because we had no money for garage repairs. My father was a mechanic, but he was in Canada and he’d never seen an engine like that anyway. I drew pictures of it and mailed them to him to get his opinion on mechanical problems. But return mail took about 6 weeks so that wasn’t very efficient.

Fiat 500 with cats, Ponsonby, Auckland NZEventually we got so we could put blocks under the engine, haul the bumper off and push the body of the car away, fix it and put the car back together in a couple of hours. That was to replace the starter motor pins that sheared off regularly from the vibration. The starter motor was located at the front of the engine and there was no way to get in to it unless maybe you had a hoist.  We learned to tighten the starter motor every time before starting the car.

Wires also fell off, often at inopportune times like the middle of an intersection. I could push the car off the road by myself. And I learned which wires were more likely to fall off and where they belonged. We learned to check and tighten all wires and cables before starting the car.

But it was a good car. It took us and camping gear all over the North and South Islands one summer. It got crotchety and didn’t like the damp. On those days, it just wouldn’t start. It’s often damp and rainy in New Zealand. Finally, we just kept it for state consumerguideauto.howstuffworks.com/2011-fiat-500.htmoccasions, opting to walk or take the bus most of the time.

It’s the only car that I’ve known every inch of and known how to fix. And its engine was totally unlike any other, so that knowledge was not transferable. I’ve never had a car that frustrated me more, and I’ve never had a car I remembered with such love. I am so happy that they’re back.