Italians are complicated … well, my love affair with their cars. I wouldn’t even call it a love affair, but my interest is often piqued in ways that is matched by my aversion for others. I often am fascinated with the Italian industry’s penchant for creating utilitarian vehicles and then offering interesting variations on the same platform. One of those cars, a 1973 Fiat 130 Coupé currently for sale on ClassicCars.com by a Miami-based dealer, is our Pick of the Day.
Truth be told, the Fiat 130 was Fiat’s larger series of cars, so it’s not a model that pops up in Americans’ head when they think of the brand, especially since it was never imported to the U.S. originally and unusual considering it’s somewhat properly sized for American driving thanks to a 107.1-inch wheelbase. The sedan was produced from 1969-77 and powered by a V6 engine, if that’s any indication it’s not your bread-and-butter Fiat 128. Like many Italians from the period, it featured modern hardware like four-wheel independent suspension and DOHC V6 available in 2866cc or 3235cc sizes depending on the year. An automatic was standard but a five-speed manual was optional, which somewhat goes against conventional wisdom for a sporty foreign car so maybe Fiat had a specific luxury buyer in mind.
The Pininfarina-based Coupé was introduced at the 1971 Geneva International Motor Show and was sold through 1977. The lithe design with the low beltline and ample greenhouse was an instant classic though, again, Americans did not get a chance to buy one when new. Nonetheless, the American press proclaimed its praise of the design.
Production records show 4,491 were built, with 1,344 for the 1973 model year like this blue and tan leather example. Seller states “this example is still very original and makes for a perfect driver/cruiser,” with partial service records and Italian manuals included with the sale. With all the crazy asking prices you may see while perusing ClassicCars.com, it almost seems that the $24,900 cost of entry for this five-speed Fiat is reasonable considering it’s like Maserati-lite at a pauper’s price.