The big Fiat 130s, both sedans and coupes, were true Grand Touring cars, intended for high speed cruising across Europe or other places with minimal speed restrictions. Elegant and fast, they represented Fiat's finest, apart from the Dino. Unfortunately these desirable automobiles were never sold to North Americans so you're not likely to see one on Rodeo Drive. However you could if you were the new owner of a 1973 Fiat 130 Coupé with coachwork by Pininfarina, offered by Bonhams at their sale at the RAF Museum, Hendon, April 29.
It was one of two large coupés styled by Pininfarina in the 1970s, the other being the Rolls-Royce Camargue. Some will insist that the Fiat 130 was the more successful design and perhaps that's true although, having just seen an absolutely gorgeous Camargue convertible in Sidney, BC, last Sunday, I won't take sides in that argument.
Based on the 130 sedan that appeared two years previously, Fiat's flagship coupé was introduced in 1971. A two-door four-seater, the 130 Coupé used only the larger (3.2-litre) of the sedan's two overhead-cam V-6 engine options (with Dino origins) while retaining the latter's all-independent suspension and four-wheel disc brakes. Three-speed automatic or ZF five-speed manual were the transmission options. Top speed for the auto was 115 mph, for the manual 118 mph. Three mph isn't much but I would think the 5-speed was more entertaining when navigating the Alps en route from Milan to London.
The Coupe being auctioned by Bonhams underwent a body restoration and re-spray in 1990/91. The cam belts were changed in 2007, the brake lines recently. Said to be in excellent condition, with 58,975 miles on the odometer, it has been in classic vehicle shows and driven in several rallies. If you can find a more enticing grand touring car for less than the estimated US$ 6,100 - 7,600 selling price my suggestion is... buy it. I'd buy the Fiat myself if I could afford the flight to England. And the hotel room. Oh, and the car. And the cost of shipping it home. Ah well, Philip... dream on.