The 131 Mirafiori was introduced in 1974. It was rear wheel drive, had a fairly sophisticated (for its time) suspension and, in US trim, a rev-happy SOHC 1.8 liter 4. It had a boxy design (like many European cars of the time) with plenty of interior room. The interior was a cut above the typical middle / lower end imports, with comfortable seats and a uniquely designed dashboard.
In 1976, Fiat's sales hadn't completely fallen off the cliff in the US, and, while not a big selling car, Fiat managed to sell a decent number of 131s. Unfortunately, Fiat's build quality and reliability had fallen off the cliff, and most of the Fiats sold in the US in 1976 saw the crusher a long, long time ago.
This car somehow survived. The seller doesn't say if it's has been restored, but underneath the coats of wax and Armour All appears to be a very nice body. (Although I hate doing it - because I assume everyone who reads this blog knows about Fiat's legendary rust issues in the 1970s - I guess I should mention that you should check for poorly done rust repair on this car or any old Fiat.) The interior looks great for a 37 year old car, with the seller mentioning only a few minor flaws.
This is a rare 95,000 mile survivor in very nice shape. So why do I think it's going to be a tough sell?
First and foremost, it has an automatic transmission. That 1.8 liter SOHC cam, rev-happy engine I mentioned in the second paragraph only puts out 86 HP in US, emissions controls strangled form. To get any sort of fun out of it, you have to keep the revs up. The 3 speed automatic transmission discourages that. (On the plus side, the transmission is GM sourced and fairly durable. If you need or want an automatic transmission, this one should last a long time.)
The second issue is the price. This is a hard to find car in nice shape. But, its market is extremely limited. If there was a way of finding out how many times "Fiat 131 S Mirafiori Automatic Wagon For Sale In US" was googled, I think we would find that number to be very low. Someone with $4500.00 to spend on an old car still has quite a few choices. I'm not sure this one tops anyone's list.
Having said all that, I hope the seller finds a buyer. This is an extremely hard to find car that deserves a home where it's appreciated and cared for.
Located in the San Francisco Bay area, click here to see the Craigslist ad.