1981 Fiat Strada

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.


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.

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!


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

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