Rare Rides: The Luxurious 1972 Fiat 130 Coupe
Rare Rides has featured a couple of Fiat coupes lately, their special, swoopy bodies representing redesign work carried out by Allemano and Vignale. Today’s Rare Ride comes to us from Pininfarina, and though it’s not as swoopy or special, I like it even more.
Though all wore the same 130 badge, the coupe version of Fiat’s executive class car for the Seventies was very different than its four-door sedan sibling. Paolo Martin (Lancia Beta Montecarlo, Rolls-Royce Camargue) applied his blocky styling eye to develop a thoroughly Seventies Modern coupe. In addition to a different exterior shape, his design featured a different interior to the other two body styles in the lineup.
While the sedan debuted in 1969, customers waited until spring 1971 for the debut of the coupe. Befitting its flagship mission, it was built at Pininfarina instead of at the Fiat factory. At introduction, the 130 coupe featured a new engine. Known as the 130 Type B, the 3.2-liter V6 used dual overhead cams and produced 165 horsepower. Sedan 130s made do with just 2.8 liters of displacement through 1971. At that point, Type A cars were upgraded with the engine and some interior cues from the coupe, becoming Type Bs. Transmissions on offer were a five-speed manual or three-speed automatic. Coupes had a party trick, too: The driver could pull a lever to remotely open the passenger side door.
The 130 coupe immediately won a design award, but Mr. Martin departed Pininfarina almost immediately afterward. Other design talents were put to work coming up with more Fiat 130 variations, which culminated in the presentation of a two-door shooting brake (the Maremma) and a stylish sedan called Opera. Fiat rejected both, and wanted no further variations on 130.
Perhaps the decline was understandable, as the big, pricey Fiats were slow to move at dealers. Between 1969 and 1976, production of the 130 sedan totaled just over 15,000. While the coupe remained in production until 1977, just 4,294 were made, overall. There was no successor model to the 130 range, as Fiat exited the large executive car class permanently.
Today’s light blue 130 coupe features a tan interior, which is less stunning than the orange velour that blessed some examples. Already restored, this particular car hails from very early in the model’s production (it is the eighth one built). Yours for $29,000.