Fiat 131/Brava in sedan and wagon, 128 in sedan, wagon and hatchback, X1/9 and 124 Sport Spider, and a single Lancia Beta Coupe. 1976? 1977?
It’s like a Showroom Starter Kit or something, one of everything! X1/9, 124 Spider, and even the Lancia Beta are still (extremely) occasionally seen, but 128s and 131s? Finito.
Are we missing a Strada? Or maybe we’re not. 🙂
Bit early for the Strada/Ritmo if you’ve still got 128s
No 130’s either.
Never sold in the US.
This unit has the miserable access “butterfly” hoods that open from each side, rather than the entire hood tilting forward.
Can anyone tell what the round “sauce pan” seen under the driver’s door is?
I think that “saucepan” is the top (end) cap of a Luberfiner oil filter housing.
This shot illustrates well how no matter how tight the load-to-cab clearance seems, during a turn the clearance actually opens up.
I can hear the Screamin Jimmy right now, it’s music
I had that silver Mirafiori Coupe (131 Hardtop) in green color. One of my first cars. I liked its smooth ride, but it was a bit rust prone, to put it mildly. Nonetheless the 128 and 131 were some of the most common cars in southern Europe very well until the late 80s.
The 9500 series was available with fiberglass tilt hood or the steel ‘butterfly’ side opening hood. Ford some reason, the steel hood was more prevalent with the 6-71 Detroit. The round object between the fender and fuel tank is a Luberfiner bypass oil filter
There you go, I can see the Luberfinerr now. Thanks.
I changed enough of ’em, in every miserable location imagineable. Maybe it was a painful memory block. LoL
To my recollection butterfly hood in the absence of some hood-tilt limiting equipment meant 6v53, or less. Who knows?
It’d be tough to prove, but for some reason I have a hunch this is a one-piece windshield cab.
Now, the white bridging… is it a photo retouch?
Now, what IS Luberfiner? It sounds vaguely obscene.
Auxiliary bypass type oil filter. A small amount of the engine’s oil circulates through the Luberfiner (most goes through the full-flow filters on the engine). The Luberfiner removes very small debris that can pass through the engine oil filters.
Luberfiner also increased your oil capacity by some 14 quarts. Generally added to those trying to run longer oil change intervals. Lots of them were removed as a means of lowering the costs of oil changes. However, Cummins required a specific amount of oil for the 855 series so removing the Luberfiner was not recommended. The suggested solution if the customer wanted it removed was use the same amount of oil and remark the dipstick.
It is hard to pin down the year—I agree with 76-77.
What was first and last year of Lancia? I think 76 (maybe 75), and 79 (maybe 78, but definitely gone by 1980)
First year of 131? I know there were big bumper 124–I’ve been in one! So that was at least thru 1974, maybe 1975? By 1976, US had 131, perhaps by 1975.
It’s hard to believe, some trivia for younger folks who were not even born in this era, but I think 1974 or 1975 was Fiat’s best year in the US, with over 100k units sold. The only Euro brand that sold more during those post oil-embargo recession years was VW.
As total outsider, I had no idea Fiat ever sold anything like that many cars Stateside in any year.
Mind, they sold (proportionately) quite well in Australia too, if limited by rules on tariffs, partly because this country had a large population of Italian-descended people (and a small population of Euro-enthusiasts!). Funny thing too: a lot of those people were first-gen post-WW2 migrants, and they fell into two camps (or so it seemed to me). The first wanted a quality Italian car, possibly nostalgic for their old country, perhaps also a reward for hard work, as Fiats cost a bit here. The second – a big majority – thought a local Holden, Ford, or Chrysler were simply the best things ever invented, and that you’d be a fool to bother with that “bloody Italian rubbish”!
I think Fiat sold about 50,000 cars per year at its high-water mark in the US.
100,511 in 1975 was high water mark.
Give me the Fiat 124 and X1/9 in that order, or as a backup for each other so I’d have something that runs while I fix the other. At least there were no computer chips in these things!
If US bound 128s had the same grille as European ones (besides bumpers, lighting etc), then they should be no noewer than the 1975 model year, as they still have round headlamps. In Argentina, the newer front appeared in 1978. I’d say that, as I think I see snow in the background, it’s winter ’75/’76
US 128’s definitely had round headlamps in 1977, probably 1978 also.
Perhaps in 1979 or 1980 they became rectangular? IF they every became rectangular in the US. Around those years (79, 80, or 81), Fiat replaced the 128 with the Strada (which was the US market name for the late 70s Fiat Ritmo that debuted in Europe).
I know there were rectangular headlamp Fiat 128s in Greece in 1979, but I can’t recall seeing any in metro NYC. And while I know that Fiat sold over 100k units in either 1974 or 1975, the population of Fiats in metro NYC, which logically would have a lot of them, seemed rather small. Opel Mantas, even 1900s, and Mercury Capris (from small bumper to big bumper to even Capri II) were considerably more evident on the roads than Fiats.
Perhaps the Fiats were junked really soon, where the Opels and Euro Fords had good bones?
The Lancia may be a 1975, but my sense is, like many Euro cars, it was ‘delayed’ and hit in 1976.
So I think that 76 or 77 is the model year for this group of Fiats
It just reminds me of how much I miss 2-door compact wagons 🙁
You mean 3 door wagons 😉 I love 3 door wagons and 2 doors of anything else.
3 door wagons like coupes and hardtops are dead or almost there, and it’s a tragedy. Cars are get bigger and taller, and in direct contract to the collective intelligence of the sheep buying public.
I’d almost forgotten the 128 wagon existed. Like the Alfasud 3 door wagon it was never sold on the land of Oz.
We didn’t get the 2 door 131 either but that’s no great loss. A 2 door 132 would have been a bad joke.
As I’ve said before on these pages, but when the 132 and to a lesser extent the 131 came out I knew Fiat was in terminal decline. For what once was a company with a variety of interesting models and varying configurations, their only claim to fame is being the 500 car company. They only have their penny pinching (cough cough soviet steel) selves to blame.
Not convinced its a butterfly hood, the hood latch at the rear of the hood is visible and it looks like the chrome handles are there on top of the grill area to grab and pull the hood open. Some had a step on the bottom of the bumper for shorter people. Generally with the long hoods it was easier to get two people and open it by lifting from the sides. If you were about 6′ 4″ tall and weighed about 250 then the hoods weren’t so bad to get open. Although twisting or breaking your ankle was always a possibility. The short hoods opened REALLY easy, especially if you forgot to latch it and you hit the brakes a little hard going down hill out the driveway. As the old saying goes ” don’t ask me how I know this”. I never saw a butterfly hood that wasn’t either a gas job or 6v-53, but maybe they built them that way. If the engine was requiring serious work I usually removed the fenders, there weren’t many bolts holding them on. Those buttery fly front ends were pretty floppy. I always liked the trucks that had the hinged front fenders, they hand a vertical piano hinge at the edge of the grill so the fenders swung clear of evreything. Definitely a luberfiner filter there, pesky things to get sealed up sometimes.
With a third look I’d have to change my mind and agree, it looks like a tilt hood.
I remember those vertical piano hinged fenders on the big Dodges. All the GMC’s I saw like this with 6V-53’s, Cat 3208’s, and gas engines had the butterfly hoods. This one might indeed be a tilt hood, notice how the headlights are are mounted towards the lower edge of the grill? I think that’s because the hood and cab were mounted higher to accommodate the Detroit 8V-71, and as I remember that engine required a tilt hood.
The curved framework on the trailer adds to the European feel. It looks like the structure of a multi-arch bridge.
I was thinking that the curved and straight white side pieces added a very appropriate element of style for a transporter with Italian cars
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