For $4,495, Take A Seat

Fiat used to own SEAT, but these days the company that's as Spanish as paella is a subsidiary of Volkswagen. At no time, under either of those companies, did the US get a chance at Seat ownership. Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Ibiza intends to change all that, but only if enough of you own up to liking its price.

Let’s all have a refresher course on SEAT history, because it is a little confusing. The company was founded in 1950 by the Instituto Nacional de Industria, or INI. which was a state-owned conglomerate. Another of INI’s holdings was Pegaso, maker of heavy trucks and, for a short time, amazing sports cars.

SEAT - which is pronounced Say-At like to talk to something, and not SEET like where you might plant your ass - is itself is an acronym for the Sociedad Española de Automóviles de Turismo, S.A.

The company’s first products were simply rebadged Fiats, the Seat 600 being nothing more than a locally produced Fiat 600, and the later Panda similarly similar. That didn’t stop the cars from being touted as one of the most important contributors to Spain’s economic boom of the sixties and early seventies that is known as the Spanish Miracle.

Of course, if you fly so very high you run the risk of falling equally far, and following the agreement to build a Spanish version of the Lancia Beta (which ruin everything), and a fight between Fiat and the Spanish Government over who was going to pick up the check for the company’s needed capital investment, the Italians said arrivaderci to the Spanish car maker in 1981.

A year later VW signed a cooperation agreement to have SEAT build Santanas, Polos and Passats in Spain, and a few years after that they purchased a controlling share in the company. By 1990 the Germans had bought SEAT outright.

Unlike most of the Fiat-based products, the VW-based cars made an effort not just to hide their origins, but to carve out their own niche. In the case of the Ibiza, that was of a sporty supermini.

For $4,495, Take A Seat

This 2005 Ibiza - and seriously Texas car dealer, would it have killed you to spell the car’s name right? - is based on the MK4 Polo platform (PQ24), but is the third generation to have been designed by SEAT. Engines for the Ibiza ranged from a tax collector avoiding 1.2-litre to this car’s 2.0 four. It’s hard to tell under the engine’s plastic modesty cap, but there’s a lot of parts that are interchangeable with VWs so getting things like coils, injectors and the like shouldn’t be a problem. Mated to the engine is a five speed gearbox.

The car’s condition is as you might expect of an 8 year old car, appearing reasonably clean and tidy. The rolly polly styling - frightening reminiscent of Ford’s lamentable Aspire - seems to be mar-free with only the miss-matched plastic wheel covers and a sticker on the gas filler cover to detract from the overall appearance.

For $4,495, Take A Seat

The interior looks similarly clean, although the shifter boot is effed up and in need of replacement. On the plus side, the dealer ad notes that the car has a mere 104,000 kilometers on the clock and as it is a metric-biased ride it’s pretty cool to see a speedo that goes up to 240, Of course that's only about 150mph, and this a car that’ll never get anywhere close to pegging that.

Despite the car being Polo-based it is somehow been registered - and apparently has a clean title as - a 2005 Golf. That’s kind of weird because should you run the VIN - go ahead, we’ll wait - it comes up as a SEAT. I guess the fact that the car is registered in Texas might explain some of that, but should you live somewhere where they actually pay attention to such things, like California, the car’s disguise would be quickly discovered.

For $4,495, Take A Seat

For those who live in less attentive places like Texas, or Florida, or. . . hell I think pretty much the entire South, you could probably keep this car as a Golf and never have to worry about it.

For the person who does, they’d be getting a pretty cool, and obviously recherché auto that’s not so obscure when it comes to parts availability. But is it worth $4,495?

What do you think about that price? You might spend as much on a trip to Ibiza, do you think this car is worth spending that much to take a trip in one?

You decide!

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