Archive for February, 2011

Il Coniglio – 1981 Fiat Strada

February 10, 2011

I’ve liked these since they were new. And I think it’s because the Fiat Strada looked like it was the Italian interpretation of the Rabbit/Golf I (a car I grew up with). Which is ironic, considering the Rabbit was designed by an Italian. That said, at this point the main appeal of this car for me is its oddball style and rarity. Unfortunately, they’re only getting rarer – when’s the last time you saw one on the road? Built on the structure and floorpan of the 128, which it was meant to succeed, it’s not a terribly powerful car, so to save myself a lot of trouble, I’d rather go for an early 128 fitted with a 1500 engine that’s been de-smogged. But if you’re outside one of the smog-nazi states, you can use the Euro-market cars as a reference for what you can do. Find our rare little gem for $3500 in Alameda, CA.

1981 Fiat Strada left front



1950s Euro Family Cars – Fiat Millecento vs. Renault Dauphine

February 5, 2011

If you’re anything like me (and I’m sure you are, if you’re readying this) you’ve wondered what compact sedan comparisons were like back in 1959. Well, here’s your answer! With 45 raging Italian stallions against 27 Gitane-smoking, beret-wearing French ones, it’s little question who will win the race, but the question is, who cares? We’re not really going for speed here. And for the record, I haven’t actually wondered about 50-year-old comparison tests… but I have wondered what it would be like to own one of these charming little euroboxes.

Continuing with the bad buff-book metaphors, in this corner, we have our Italian contender. It bears mentioning that even though this car wouldn’t actually win you any races, it does qualify you to get into several. And if you’re worried about speed, you should have several options, especially if you speak Italian, since these were used as the basis for many racing specials when they were current. But since they’re Italian, you should be able to give them a pretty decent flogging without having to worry too much about it. All you need to do is contact the New York-based owner to see the car in Arizona, where it’s listed for sale with Minnesota plates for $3000.

1959 Fiat Millecento left