Battle of the Beaters – Part 1: Bondo It Again, Tony

fiat beater 131

Shiny, clean and restored classic cars are always an impressive sight when we see them. It’s wonderful to see someone who appreciates a classic car and dedicates their time, money and energy into bringing these cars back to showroom condition. But isn’t it even more impressive when somebody actually drives their classic cars? Isn’t it laudable when someone keeps their old jalopy going even after the rust forms around the rockers and the rub strips sag and fall? Over the next three days, I will present to you three beaters that have endured all the damage sun, snow and shopping carts could throw at them but still keep on ticking. Exhibit A: this Fiat 131.

fiat 131 beater (3)

This owner must know a thing or two about preventive maintenance if they’ve kept a Fiat running for thirty years! These 131s were first introduced in 1974 and were also known as Mirafiori or Brava; over 1.5 million units were produced of this Fiat 124 replacement. David Saunders has covered the history of the 131 before, so I won’t expound other than to say Fiat was a peripheral player in Australia by the 1970s and the 131 didn’t exactly sell up a storm. These 131s would be replaced by the front-wheel-drive Regata (Curbside Classic coming soon!), a sedan and wagon based off of the quirky Ritmo/Strada not sold here.

fiat 131 beater (4)

This 131 ticks plenty of beater boxes. DIY trash bag repair job? Check. Mismatched colors? Check. Discolored bumpers? Check. Patina? That’s a big check!

How would you like one of these as your beater daily driver? One owner of an American Brava racked up almost 600k miles, or close to a million km, on the original,engine. Or, would you prefer to see what is behind Door No. 2?