5 iconic FIATs that didn't get the attention they deserved

5w ago


FIAT (Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino) was founded in 1899 in Turin and it has always been Italy's most important car brand. FIAT sales began rallying in in the 60s, during the economic boom, and hundreds of different models have been created through the years.

Some of them, like the Fiat 500 or the Fiat Panda well known best-sellers whereas some other interesting cars were often forgotten. Even though, as it is the case for some of the cars on this list, they were also best-sellers.

Fiat Tipo (1988-1995)

The Tipo, which is literally Italian for "Type/Kind", was a simple front-wheel drive hatchback that was available with as a three-door or a five-door and several different engine variants, from the parsimonious 1,1-litre FIRE engine with 55 HP to the sparkling 2-litre 16-valve 146 HP and it was very common in the 90s. The roads in Italy were awash with these things.

Fiat Seicento (1998-2010)

Ah, that's an easy one. The reason why the modern Seicento (the spiritual successor of the original 1955 Fiat 600) is often ignored even though Fiat sold 1,3 million of those is that it was overshadowed by the more popular 500/Cinquecento.

The Seicento was a great car because it was simple and cheap. A no-frill city car which was fun to drive because even though the engine was just a tiny 900cc (a 1,1 was also available but hardly anyone bought that version), it only weighed 700 kg which made very lively. It was also stress-free because it was very small, which meant you could fit anywhere, park it anywhere and you wouldn't have to worry about scratching or scraping the bodywork.

Fiat X1/9 (1972-1982)

the picture in the header is a Fiat X19, this is the Bertone X19

This quirky-looking two-seater is Fiat's only attempt at building a mid-engine, RWD sportscar. It wasn't a convertible, it was actually a targa and it was originally available with a 74 HP 1,3-litre and a 1,5-litre with 85 HP (different versions were available for different markets). They made about 170,000 of these, which is a lot more than you would assume.

Even though production was officially discontinued in 1982, the car remained available until 1989 marketed as Bertone (Italian coachbuilder, under the Fiat wing at the time) with some slight modifications including a new, bigger engine.

Fiat Coupé (1993-2000)

This need-for-speed-looking thing is the Fiat Coupé, a car with a self-defining name and zany looks. It had an FF layout, which meant the power was delivered through the front wheels, but it was still fun to drive. I drove one once, in 2011, and it was all over the place, but in a good way.

There were six different engine options and one of these options was especially interesting: a straight-five 2-litre with 217 HP. The top speed was 155 mph and 0-60 was dealt with in 6,3 seconds.

Last time I checked, you can find these cars in the second-hand market in Italy being sold for peanuts.

Fiat Ritmo (1978-1988)

Fiat sold about 1,8 million of these and, that's pretty much a statistical certainty, nearly every household in Italy bought one at some point. The Ritmo (Italian for "rhythm") was a front-engined, FWD hatchback and over its 10-year lifespan it was made available as a 3-door or 5-door hatchback and a 2-door convertible, and with several different engine options including an Abarth version with a 2-litre petrol with 130 HP and a top speed of 121 mph. This particular version became available in 1983 and remember, this was just a simple a family hatchback. Not too bad.