Insurance for me, isn't that expensive (Based on the quote it was £1700 and cheaper to insure than a base model Citroen Saxo) but I guess that might be down to requiring a black box, where I live and a 147 being a fairly unusual first car. Iam not afraid to get my hands dirty, so as long as the parts are fairly cheap and the labour is free (I will try to do most of the work myself with my dad to guide me) and, unlike my friends I wont be ragging my car round every street corner at 6k rpm! Although I will be planning to have this car for the next 2 years and right the way through uni and possibly for another year or two after that, and after you listed all the new parts you had to fit after 6 years, I was wondering how much all of that cost?
Not knowing a huge amount about the black boxes, but on the 1.6 at least, it does take a fair amount of ragging to get it moving, and you need to keep those revs up - add to that, the fun factor, of a small, well handling revvy hatxh, also these are cars that don't respond well to being babied along.
My 147 was what I'd term to be a good one, didnt use too much oil, was well rustproofed from the factory, and had had a relatively sheltered life - most of the work was consumables, and the car only left me stranded the twice, once when the clutch slave cylinder failed (which I knew it was on its way out) the second when the clutch slave pipe worked loose - likely my fault)
It had a hard life compared to most cars, being driven hard, and earning me more than a couple of speeding fines.
All told, I spent thousands on parts, more often buying OEM parts which in most cases is the best option, luckily I could do most of the work myself. I wouldn't say the parts are expensive, but it all adds up.
If I were in your shoes... Get yourself a Fiat Panda 100hp, not the best looking, but all the fun of a 147, with a better power to weight ratio more likely, and a vastly lower insurance group - you'll get used to the quirks of Italian cars, have 5 doors and if you're lucky, it'll likely hold its value better - keep it a year or 2, then move on, the first year's NCD makes a huge difference to your premiums.
I still want a 100hp as a second car