Exterior: The paint looks good. I don't wash the car as much anymore but the finish is just as good as it was when new (maybe I'll wax it this weekend) . Except for at work, shopping, etc., its always parked in my garage. Tires were replaced at 40K miles. Yes, they lasted that long. I bought new 'Runho' chinese tires and they are not wearing nearly as well. I can see replacing them within 5K miles (sometime this summer). Maybe when I'm at the salvage yard I'll look for 17" wheels. The 16" tires are pretty expensive since they aren't such a common size. 17" might be more common and less expensive.
Engine and Tranny: The 1.4 motor runs like a top. I love that motor. And the exhaust note, when revved, is music to my ears. I have test driven cars with the 1.4 turbo and the extra power (and that sound!!) is intoxicating, but I get by just fine with the base 1.4. Its taught me how to drive it... rev it to around 4k - 5k rpm and the torque really kicks in. This is why driving a stick shift is so fun to me. That being said, the stick shift remains kind of 'notchy' and unrefined. The Abarth/turbo heavy-duty tranmission shifts smoothly and easily, with confidence and I think shorter throws. By comparision, the base manual tranny is rough with longer throws. If it is feasible, i wouldn't mind replacing the the base tranny for the heavy duty gearbox from the turbo cars. But I don't know if it would work, if you HAVE to mate it with the turbo motor. Another salvage yard possibility, I guess. The clutch is still going strong and I don't feel any weakness or slack in the pedal. And I have a daily commute of about 10 miles of stop and go traffic. The clutch remains easy to use and doesn't wear me out.