7 December 2017

More than an old car #43: Fiat 130 Coupe

Fiat is not a foreign name to most people here, but certainly not a brand which you would think of immediately when mentioning about Italian cars. It has a long pedigree of popular vehicles for the masses, including this pristine 1975 Fiat 130 Coupe.

Gianni Agnelli, along with several investors, founded the Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino [Italian Automobile Factory of Turin] in 1899. The 'Fiat' name was only in use from 1906. It became, and still is, the largest automobile factory in Italy since 1910. Fiat enjoyed much success in both Italy and abroad such as the US. In 2014, Fiat and Chrysler merged to form the Fiat Chrysler Automotive [FCA] conglomerate. As a result, brands like Alfa Romeo and Jeep are produced under the FCA flagship.

The Fiat 130 Coupe was based off the main Fiat 130 sedan, and was first manufactured in 1971. Back then, the sedan Fiat 130s were quite popular as it was marketed as a luxury car. The coupe version was designed by Paolo Martin from the Pininfarina design house, and it turned out to be quite different from the sedan version. As with cars of that period, it was quite boxy, yet you would be able to discern the subtle hints of fluidity in motion. It was powered by a 3235cc 6-cylinder engine, allowing it to reach a top speed of 195 km/h and an acceleration of 9.2 seconds [0-100 km/h]. It was 4.84 m long and weighed 1555 kg, which was rather hefty back then.

Production of the 130 Coupe stopped in 1977, with close to 4500 made. However, only around 500 were made in RHD configuration. This is the only one registered on our roads, although I have seen another unregistered one with automatic transmission. I was fortunate to be able to go up close to this unlikely rarity during a classic car exhibition and the rumble of the V6 is a rare sound to our ears these days, due to the shift towards hybrid cars. It may look terribly unremarkable, but you would be hard-pressed to not imagine a well-dressed person behind the wheel!

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