The Fiat 130 Coupe and Saloon


By Brian Stigant


The fiat 130 saloon was introduced in march 1969 to top the Fiat range and attempt to break into the luxury car market. It was a large saloon, almost 16ft long and 6ft wide. It was powered by a Lampredi designed 2866cc V6 engine with rear wheel drive, independent suspension all round, with either 3 speed auto or 5 speed manual gearbox. In 1971 the engine was bored out to 3235cc and changes to the interior. The appearance of the Saloon car however, lacked appeal and the best that could be said was that it looked dignified. However, salvation was to come with the appearance of the Pininfarina designed coupe at the 1971 Geneva motor show.  The 130 coupe offered simple classic lines and made the car a thing of beauty. When seen from any angle it has a timeless elegance and is regarded as the most aesthetically pleasing shape that Pininfarina created in the 70s. Even today it belies its age and has a striking presence on the road.


Does the Fiat 130 coupe drive as well as it looks? Most reviewers were impressed with the cars performance in terms of its handling, road holding, and comfort levels. In road tests it compared well with BMWs and Jaguars of the time. "Motorsport" in November 1972 assessed the 130 in the following enthusiastic terms: "The fiat 130 Pininfarina coupe is a very beautifully contrived car indeed. Just consider it! The styling, the wide fluted waistline is simple clean-cut, classic. The interior is in the best possible taste, with upholstery of velvet cord, cut-pile carpeting, and a pleated headlining, ahead of which are recessed visors. The whole aspect of the 130 is that of the refined luxury car".  Motorsport concluded that "This Fiat 130 is a very excellent luxury car, beautifully engineered, with that "Expensive" feel that such cars used to have. For comfortable, uncontenious, fast motoring, this top Fiat model is certainly not to be denied, but it is a very expensive car in this country at 5,499.48".  It is interesting to note that a fine example of this car can be purchased today for less than it cost in 1972, this must be a true classic car bargain!


Two 130 Coupes side by side at the Tatton Park Car Show in 2009



Brief Technical specifications:


Engine: 60` V 6 Cylinder
Capacity 3235 cc
Power 165 bhp
Cast Iron cylinder block
Light alloy cylinder heads

Transmission: American built, Borg-Warner Type 12 automatic
3 forward gears and 1 reverse

Suspension: MacPherson struts all round with torsion bar springing at front, coil springs with trailing arms at the rear.

Steering: worm and roller with hydraulic power assistance.

Brakes: ventilated discs all round

Speed: 118 mph (automatic)

It has been said that the engine owes a lot to the Ferrari designed Dino V6, There is no similarity, the Dino is 65` whereas the 130 is 60` and is a cast Iron block with one camshaft per bank cylinder heads.

Production of the 130 Saloon continued until 1976 by which time 15,000 had been built. Production of the 130 Coupe until 1977 with 4,492 built. In total about 800 imported to the UK (Saloon/Coupe)


Written by Brian Stigant with assistance from Eric Greenhalgh (Julian`s dad)




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