Is there much financial sense in buying a cheap 164 cloverleaf and working on it as a project car?
I think there is financial sense in this, oddly enough.
A month ago I bought a '91 164, manual, well looked-after all its life. I had owned a newer 164 in the past, and this recent acquisition drives so well that it was an easy decision to make. Even the a/c and all electrics work fine.
I just sold my 2003 FIAT Stilo Abarth yesterday. I bought that about a year ago for $20,000 - and I just sold it for $16500, which is a little over six thousand pounds.
How much did the 164 cost me, you wonder?
$1000... about 400 pounds
The Stilo lost $3500 in a year. That buys a lot of improvements to my 164. The only short-term maintenance required was a new clutch slave cylinder ($44) and even that wasn't needed as it turned out to be the damper at fault, so I simply bypassed the damper.
I plan to repaint the bonnet, replace front bumper (bought for $60), replace valve stem seals, replace suspension control arm bushes and gearshift linkage bushes, fit a new stereo ($300), and clean/polish everything.
Well, you should be able to see that as a project, a 164 is financially more sensible than a 2003 FIAT Stilo Abarth, it drives better, AND it probably loses less on the eventual resale!