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FIAT 130 Familiare. 50 years of this essay used by the Agnelli

In 1969 FIAT launched the 130 as a top-of-the-range saloon designed to compete with the BMW 2800 and Mercedes 280. However, its engine was never at the level of those of the Germans. Which is why it went down in history as a model with little success despite FIAT's efforts to update it. The most important in 1971, when he launched a coupe variant designed by Pininfarina and even flirted with the idea of ​​producing it in a station wagon body.

Any management of reality requires both a certain analysis and an action plan for the future. In this way, politicians and businessmen have endowed themselves with ideologies with which to understand and shape the form and manner in which humans live in society. However, one of the great lessons shown by the passing of the centuries is the primacy of facts. Thus chance and the unforeseen are always above any previously constituted agenda. Something that should not lead to blind cynicism at all, but to recognize and apply the necessary flexibility that underlies any agreement or business.

In this sense, it is interesting to see how large businessmen in the automobile industry have managed to reach unforeseen agreements to continue with their company. In Spain we have a clear example with Eduardo Barreiros. Clear example of instinct and perseverance, which He was able to work together with the government of Fidel Castro in order to continue carrying out his business activity. An example of economic adaptation. Dedicating himself to diesel engines at the Cuban-Soviet Amistad factory in Havana after having forged his past with Dodge and Simca under Chrysler license in Villaverde.

An example of the lack of borders for technical expertise and business eagerness, which the Agnelli clan symbolized in Italy. Known and recognized funders of the Christian democracy that closed the way to the disciplined Communist Party of Italy. But at the time skillful negotiators with the Soviet Lada for the licensed manufacture of 124. A saga of skilled entrepreneurs born at the dawn of the XNUMXth century who knew how to make FIAT a global company in every way.

fiat 130

Or at least almost all of them. Since, although they were the reference in urban compacts at the time they controlled Ferrari, They never knew how to wrest the reign in the saloons from the Germans. Proof of this is the controversial FIAT 130. A top-of-the-range that never achieved the intended success, even knowing interesting tests with the family body that now turn half a century.


By the mid-sixties FIAT was already one of the most important generalist manufacturers in the world. A growing giant due to the licensed manufacturing system. Thanks to which countries as different as the Spain of national-Catholicism or Soviet Russia incorporated into their economic progress models derived from the Italian house. Thus, its compacts and cars were the benchmark in various segments. Even more obvious situation with the irruption of the successful FIAT 124 in 1966.

However, when it came to the more exclusive FIAT models, it failed to hit the mark with a good product. Due to its lack of success when it comes to high-end sedans, this promising segment in a Europe with more and more kilometers of motorways remained in the hands of the Germans. For this reason, BMW and Mercedes -with the British point contributed by Jaguar- shared the market with a FIAT wounded in their pride. Problem that he wanted to remedy by presenting the FIAT 1969 in 130. A top of the range as ambitious as it was unsuccessful.

On paper, the truth is that a vehicle with conservative aesthetics, a V6 engine and four-wheel independent suspension, sounds promising for a representative saloon. Even more so if a spacious and comfortable interior with various options and great luminosity. Data that clashed with the reality of only 140CV provided by an engine that lacked displacement with its 2866cc. Very little for a top of the range focused on long trips with about 1.600 kilos on the scale. In this way, not even that the adjustment of the mechanics was signed by an engineer of such prestige as Aurelio Lampredi could save the face of the FIAT 130.


Since it was presented in 1969, the FIAT 130 already seemed to be obsolete compared to its rivals. In fact, the brand itself was aware of it. Adding to the brand different technical improvements in successive series to increase power to just over 160CV. Vain attempts to improve the number of sales, very low with little more than 15.000 saloons sold over eight years in production. Data in which you will surely have been struck by seeing the word saloon to differentiate this variant from others. And it is that in 1971 FIAT came to the rescue of its top-of-the-range model incorporating a coupe model designed by Paolo Martín -Pininfarina-.

Much more modern in its lines. Straight and refined to show a two-door with displacement increased to 3235cc and 165CV. A priori attractive, but with high consumption and a price three times higher than that of a 132 saloon made commercial rescue of the FIAT 130 impossible despite having sold nearly 4.500 units. In this way, the FIAT 130 was sentenced although it was still alive in the brand's dealerships until 1977. A history of little success, in which it could never cope with its competitors: the BMW 2800 and the Mercedes 280.

However, for fans of the Italian brand the FIAT 130 today represents a interesting and curious model especially in its coupe variant. Which has not gained as much over time as the FIAT-Dino V6 although it retains a charm given by its scarcity. In any case, If what you are looking for is the most unknown FIAT 130 we will tell you that there are actually four of which three are preserved. All of them were commissioned by the Agnelli family, which used two for private use while giving a third to their reference antiquarian. In addition, the Centro Stile FIAT valued making this wagon version in the boom of station wagons in Europe. An idea that had its end in the prototypes that are now half a century old.

Photographs: FCA Heritage

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Written by Miguel Sánchez

Through the news from La Escudería, we will travel the winding roads of Maranello listening to the roar of the Italian V12; We will travel Route66 in search of the power of the great American engines; we will get lost in the narrow English lanes tracking the elegance of their sports cars; We will speed up the braking in the curves of the Monte Carlo Rally and we will even get dusty in a garage while rescuing lost jewels.


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