There were fast cars around, of course, but these were generally expensive to both buy and insure - so, instead we looked for cars that looked like they might be fast even if they weren't. The astonishingly pretty Fiat 850 Coupe was just such a car. Developed from the 850 saloon - itself a development of the Fiat 600 - the 850 Coupe was a pretty little rear engined fast back that made a very decent alternative to the Imps and Minis which so many young drivers favoured.
It had a similar performance to these cars, but the different layout and slightly exotic flavour made it an attractive proposition to someone who wanted something a bit different so the 850 coupe was my first choice. I spent many hours poring over the Thames Valley Trader looking for an 850 Coupe in my price range only to find once I'd identified one that it was already sold or badly afflicted by the metal moth (rust).
Eventually I gave up and bought the Elf from a friend of a friend of my mother. Over 10 years old and less than 30,000 miles on the clock with leather seats, wood dash and go kart handling .... for £185, but I always retained an affection for the pretty little Fiat that was my first choice.