Somehow it seems the words "luxury" and "Fiat" should never be used in the same sentence. For some unknown reason the folks at Fiat decided they wanted to compete in the high end with the likes of Mercedes and BMW ... and the 130 was born. As was expected of a luxury car it needed to be spacious and has a lot of user amenities.
The first time I saw a 130 I had to tell myself ... now that is as weird as they come ... and of course I loved it! The car has a very 70's look with a lot of glass. Remember that these were the days when BMW had the 2002 and Mercedes were boxes with tons of glass. Unfortunately the Fiat 130 was never imported into the USA therefore finding one on these shores is rare. This car was just imported in 2012 and spent all its life in Italy. Several things attracted me to this particular car:
I love the color combination as it is very 1970's. The blue exterior has a hint of purple and what is not to like of the mustard leather! What makes this Fiat 130 rather unique is that most had velour interior. This has the optional leather interior. The leather is original and in really nice condition. It really makes the car look quite elegant. The other big plus is that it has the optional 5-speed ZF gearbox which was also used on the 2.4 liter Fiat Dino. Only about 10% of the Fiat 140 had this gearbox, the rest were automatic.
So how is it to drive? Surprisingly the car feels a lot smaller on the road than it really is. The V6 engine was designed by Ferrari engineer Aurelio Lampredi and is loosely based on the Dino V6 engine. The engine feels very peppy and likes to rev. The gearbox has very short throws and gives the car a sporty feel. It has ZF power steering which gives the car a very good handling. The independent rear suspension is identical to the Fiat Dino and is rather sophisticated.
Paint is quite nice and the interior speaks for itself. The body is in excellent condition. There are a few rust bubbles on the right fender which were this way when I bought the car and has not gotten worst. The undercarriage is straight and rust free. Chrome is nice as is the glass. There is a crack on the inner laminate of the rear glass. The crack does not extend to the outside of the glass and it is barely noticeable. Mechanically the car is very good with no smoke or major oil leaks. AC works as do the gauges, power windows, power steering etc.
EPA regulations of that year. Therefore this car retains the beautiful European headlights which I am sure would have been modified had Fiat brought the car into the USA... also it would have had much bigger (and uglier) bumpers.
Overall this is the type of car that shows that it has been loved all of its life. The paint might be original as I cannot see any tape lines. It is what I would call an honest car which has its expected minor faults as it is after all 41 years old. I have really enjoyed owning this Fiat 130 but it is time to move on as I need the garage space for other stuff.
I found this video on YouTube which must have been taken last year when I attended one of the Cars and Coffee shows:
Car comes with its original owner's manual plus a copy of the shop manual.