Pimping Our Fiat (or how to make a crappy car slightly less bad at offroading in the desert)

The Fiat Seicento is one of the worst possible vehicles we could choose to drive to Mongolia, let alone to the corner grocery store. As such, we decided to make a few modifications in hopes that we’ll have a better chance of getting it across 3 deserts and 5 mountain ranges.

Here’s a timelapse video of all the work we did on the car (I had a little fun with my new GoPro camera while we were working):

We did this work last week while staying with the Weigel family in Warendorf-Milte, Germany, and thanks to their expertise, gracious help, and tools, we were able to soop up our little car so that it might just make it! Nothing like a little German auto engineering.

The metal parts we installed were designed by us, and then cut, bent and welded by a metalworker in Milte. We then made the final bolting and fitting of the pieces. A huge thank-you goes to the Weigels for donating their time, tools, as well as quite a few old parts they had around the house — skis, roof racks, bits of metal, etc. We spent two and a half days working on the car, and without all the help, I would have never been able to do all this.

Here’s a little video walkthrough of all of our handiwork:

All in all, we added:

  • Roof Rack – The Fiat came with absolutely no good way to attach anything to the roof, so we built a very sturdy roof rack from scratch, consisting of two rugged horizontal bars. We also have a pair of skis and a few drain pipes that we can use to make crossbars when we strap our gear to the top.
  • Sump Guard – Bolted a big piece of 1.5mm steel sheet metal to the undercarriage of the Seicento. This will keep rocks, bumps, stumps, grass and bushes from tearing apart the sensitive mechanical pieces, accidentally cutting the brake line, etc. We expect to be driving through a lot of this stuff, so this could save our ass.
  • Front Bumper Reinforcement – The Fiat Seicento has a 1 out of 5 star crash test rating, so we reinforced the front bumper with a solid steel plate in the center, and also a strong metal bar on the lower rim (which should help if we drive into a boulder of some sort).
  • Radiator Grate – The radiator on the Seicento is, inexplicably, completely unprotected aside from a few flimsy pieces of plastic on the front of the car. (I think it’s Fiat’s way of selling extra radiators.) We put a piece of wire grating in front of the radiator to protect it from pebbles, sand, plants and debris).
  • Ducky Hood Ornament – A little yellow duck to add some more pizazz to our car. (Thanks Paul for making this!)

This is all really strong and sturdy, and must I say, pretty impressive. I can’t thank my dad Bob Berg, as well as Uli and Paul for all of their brilliant design work and manpower. My sister Sara and mother Cheryll as well as Jutta Weigel also played crucial roles.

Stay tuned to this post for photos — once I get to a place with a decent Internet connection, I will upload the stills I took while we were working so you can get a better look.

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One Response to Pimping Our Fiat (or how to make a crappy car slightly less bad at offroading in the desert)

  1. peter mobijohn says:

    nice video good luck

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