Fiat 130 saloon mixes sinister overtones with top value
Value 2012 £4750 Value NOW £6500
Fiat’s 130 four-door has always been the ugly sister to the swish coupé. The transport of Italian politicians and Vatican high-ups, it was designed to be Italy’s answer to the BMW E3 saloon and Jaguar XJ6. But sales between ’69 and ’74 were only 15,093 units and few have survived. Series 1 cars had a Lampredi-designed 2.8 V6 while the ’71 Series 2 got the gutsy 3.2 engine, improved dash, optional leather trim, aircon and a button to remotely open the front passenger door. On the road they’re poised with precise power steering and decent ride from all-independent suspension. The optional Borg Warner three-speed auto was the most popular and ZF five-speeders are rare.
These days the unloved 130 Berlina looks alluringly sharp in a Mafiosi sort of way, especially in black or dark blue. Watch Charles Bronson screeching up Italian hills in The Mechanic and you’ll see the appeal. This is a car that should carry a Walther P38 or Luger in the glove box. Saloon 130s appeared in dozens of Italian art house films with titles like L’asassino, typically with gangsters spraying bullets from the side windows – it exudes a Seventies Mafia getaway car vibe. Classics and Cabriolets in Essex has a smart ’69 in factory black and just two owners for £6495 while Classic Italians in Popoli, Italy has a perfect silver one-owner 1975 car with 15,000 miles for £10,500. For something so exclusive and distinctive these are low prices for examples that don’t need work. I’m not saying the 130 saloon is a sure-fire investment, but ten grand for a 15k minter feels extremely good value to me.