Historically, Italian Coupes played the roll of Cinderella to their portly sedan stepsisters, and that's exactly the case with today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe Fiat 130 Coupé. But instead of a glass slipper, this car requires a fat wallet.
When America found itself drawn into WWII, the nation's men and women lined up to enlist, in order to fight for their country. Two decades later, the Vietnam conflict turned such an angry shade of imbroglio that some celebrated their draft eligibility by packing up and moving to Canada. Coincidentally, that was where we found yesterday's maybe it is, maybe it isn't SHO Taurus wagon. Much like a Canuck Clark Kent, that Taurus held its true identity close to its chest, and the question of whether or not it was an SHO-sporting super sedan kept its Nice Price win to a modest 80%. Still, that's pretty super.
The Taurus redefined sedan styling in the eighties –literally – and provided Ford's design paradigm for the next decade. Fifteen years before that slippery sausage of a sedan modestly broke the wind across America, the Fiat 130 sedan broke mirrors across Europe, as it was as ugly and upright as the Ford was handsome and svelte. Powered initially by a 160-bhp twin-cam V6 of 2,866-ccs, the stodgy 130 sedan would have not looked out of place rolling away from the Politburo with a dissident or two bouncing around in its roomy trunk. Positioned as Fiat's range topper, the 130 gained independent suspension all around – torsion bar up front and coil in back - and was available with options unknown on the brand's smaller cars, such as power steering and – mamma mia – a 3-speed auto box.
If today's car were the 130 Berlina, well that could be interesting, but perhaps only to those who are raging Fiaddicts. Instead, today's car is the 130 Sedan's freakin' hot Coupé sister. How could one car be so Janet Reno while its sibling is totally Anna Kournikova? You have Pininfarina to thank for that, and they were thanked at the time, the design winning the 1971 Style Award. That was achieved by the Italian design house stripping the 130 of its mom jeans, granny panties, and rhinestone bedazzled sweatshirt, and slipping it into the automotive equivalent of a little black dress. This ‘72 130 Coupé expresses much of Pininfarina's styling meme of the era and you can see elements in its shape that are shared with such cars as the Ferrari 365/400, Peugeot 505, and Rolls Royce Camargue. The Coupé's square shoulders, sharply chiseled angles, and mono-brow nose stand in stark contrast to the rich wood and leather interior, here with lipstick-red seats that are so sumptuous you might want to make love to them. Unlike many a Coupé, which feature rooflines affording little more for windows than gun slits, the 130's greenhouse stands proud and airy, making this Fiat a poor choice for motoring nudists who pride themselves on their modesty.
By the time this Coupé was built, its V6 engine had grown to 3,235-ccs and 165 swarthy horses. Backing that here is a Borg Warner 3-speed automatic, and the lever for that slusher is mounted in a center console that will make you feel right at home, should your house be the aforementioned Ferrari 400i. The seller claims a thorough mechanical and cosmetic restoration with more than $50,000 invested, and it shows. One of only a couple thousand built, this metallic blue Coupé looks like it's ready to take first prize at the next Fiat fest, and aside from its Sony radio appears completely stock, right down to its factory Rostyle-aping alloys.
Italy denied us the 130 Coupé, but now, 38 years later, its old enough to strike out on its own and immigrate to the new world, which is where this 17,000-mile example can now be found. It's been found here for a while – it made an appearance in Hemmings a couple months back - and the reason for that may be its $37,990 asking price. Of course, whether or not that's the reason for it not being snapped up immediately is not for me to judge, that's your job.
So, can you put a price on beauty? Is $37,990 what it takes to look your best? Or, is that a price that needs some Photoshopping?
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