ASI-Certified – 1972 Fiat 128 Berlina

Continuing the theme of featuring interesting cars from abroad, here’s a first for us – a “historic” car which has received its certification from ASI (Automotoclub Storico Italiani). This certification is only given to cars with a known history that are located in Italy, and gives some special benefits that only apply there, such as access to areas blocked to normal cars. So for us foreigners, the primary benefit is that of the car’s history, and that cool little badge on the front bumper. And it should come as no surprise by now that the love here is strong for little Italian tin cans, the 128 ranking high on that list. Unfortunately, most surviving 128s in North America appear to be the later, big bumper examples, so for an earlier 128 it’s easier to go abroad. That’s how you’ll find this 1972 Fiat 128 Berlina 4-door for sale for €2000 ($2751 today) in Agropoli, Salerno, Italy.

1972 Fiat 128 Berlina right front

White suits these little cars quite well, much as it does Alfa’s Giulia sedan. You could easily look at these as the affordable alternative to the Mini, with an equal fun-to-drive quotient and a much more sporting Lampredi inline four. Remarkably for a small econobox, they not only had front strut suspension, but independent rear suspension, and the drivetrain set the standard for compact cars for years to come with its transverse engine and transaxle arrangement. Unequal length driveshafts to fit this under the hood meant torque steer in larger, more powerful cars, but with only 56hp in the featured car, that shouldn’t be too much of a concern.

1972 Fiat 128 Berlina left rear

This car looks incredibly well-kept, and is said to have only 44,000km indicated. Even if the clock has turned over once, white paint would not do a good job disguising your main concern here, the condition of the body. A close look at some of the pictures shows light surface rusting from stone chips on the front valance, and either dirt or rust on the rear shock towers. However, it doesn’t seem that ASI certifies absolute sheds, and they have to have Italian plates, which suggests they must at least be road legal.

1972 Fiat 128 Berlina engine

Based on the engine output cited, this appears to be the 1116cc engine. It debuted at that displacement in 1969 in the 128, and grew up to 1839cc with a 16-valve head, where it was last used in 2010 in the Brazilian Fiat Linea. At over 130hp, this incarnation surely tested the unequal length drive shafts! While the underhood area looks very clean, it would be nice to see more of a detailed shot with the spare tire removed. It is nice to see that this dealer doesn’t feel the need to douse the engine compartment with Armor All – there’s nothing worse than working on an engine coated in that slime.

1972 Fiat 128 Berlina interior

It’s hard to say if the seats were ever originally two tone, although it’s probably nicer to sit on these on a hot day. The dash is crack free, lending credence to the low mileage, and while the floormats with their red inserts could be from Pep Ragazzi (the famous Italian car parts chain), ASI perhaps makes allowances when the use of newer materials and covers protects the originals. If this car is as good as it looks, you could hardly go wrong doing a quick European tour before shipping it back home.

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