1981 Fiat StradaS

Some of our sharper-eyed readers may have noticed the car backed up against yesterday's Scout and said to yourselves, "Wait a minute... there's something odd about that Malaise econobox!" Well, that's exactly what I said about 10 seconds after I saw the Scout and started gearing up to take photographs; I think it was the crazy door handles that first tipped me off about the possibility of a Super Double DOTS Potential situation, and then I just about dropped the camera when I caught sight of the grille.

1981 Fiat StradaS


I'm pretty sure this is the first Strada I've ever seen, period. You Yurpeans know this car as the Ritmo, and perhaps you still see a few of these things on the roads over there.

1981 Fiat StradaS


The Strada was essentially a 128 under the skin; by 1981, most Americans staggered back in horror from the prospect of purchasing perhaps the only available motor vehicle with a worse reputation for unreliability than the Peugeot 504 (yes, yes, Peugeots and Fiats are perfectly good cars in Europe, et freakin' cetera, but that's the way it was- and is- on this side of the water). Still someone bought this one!

1981 Fiat StradaS


If I ever find one of these in the junkyard, I'm buying the door handles. I don't know what I'd do with them, but this design is pretty damn cool.



First 200 DOTS