Non-Wallflower Fiat: 1978 Fiat 128 Sport 3P

041716 Barn Finds - 1978 Fiat 128 SPORT 3P - 1

You won’t lose this car in a parking lot, “Wait, which silver minivan is mine?” Nope, not gonna happen. This 1978 Fiat 128 Sport 3P sure stands out in the crowd. The paint and graphics on this car were all applied at the factory in 1978, other than the rear hatch that was repainted after fixing a bit of rust in the corner of the rear window. This car isn’t for wallflowers; if you don’t like being noticed, this car isn’t for you.

041716 Barn Finds - 1978 Fiat 128 SPORT 3P - 3

Speaking of the rear end, here it is. That is one funky Italian derriere! You knew that Enzo Ferrari was said to have driven a Fiat 128 as his personal vehicle, didn’t you? No giggling, I’m serious! If we were to make a list of the people who knew their cars, I think that we could safely say that Mr. Ferrari would be in the top-ten. Top-five?

041716 Barn Finds - 1978 Fiat 128 SPORT 3P - 2

I guess if I had a choice I would like a non-graphics-laden car; they look so much cleaner to my eye and it’s such a great design that the graphics really make it look busy to me. But, it’s unusual and I like unusual vehicles so graphics or not, I like this one. Fiat made over 3,100,000 128s between 1969 and 1985.

041716 Barn Finds - 1978 Fiat 128 SPORT 3P - 4

This interior is supposedly all-original other than the seat fabric. It’s a time capsule if that’s the case. The rear seats look comfy, too, but you had better not be much over 5′-0″ tall to sit comfortably back there. The whole interior looks brand new to me.

041716 Barn Finds - 1978 Fiat 128 SPORT 3P - 5

Ok, the engine is most definitely not original, it’s been fully rebuilt top to bottom and it looks great. This is the 1.3L inline-four with around 75 hp. This isn’t a speed demon with a 0-60 time of almost 12 seconds. But, that’s probably fast enough, you aren’t going to race this car anyway, it’s for weekend jaunts down a deserted two-lane road.

This car is on eBay with a current bid of just under $2,900 and 5 days left on the auction. That is a steal at the current bid price but, of course, the reserve isn’t met and it most likely won’t be until the price is two or three times the current bid amount. This is one bright and showy car! Would you drive something this bright or do you prefer the modern trend of black, white, silver, or gray cars?

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Comments

  1. Doyler

    Are the graphics orginial? I’m sure they’re period, but are they an aftermarket add on?

  2. Dairymen

    Weren’t they called Fiat Ritmo in Europe?

    • Bob

      No. The Ritmo is an entirely different car. The Ritmo was sold as the Strada here.

      • Doyler

        I’d love a Ritmo Abarth…

    • Francesco

      The graphics are original car never a respray only the hatch the only add on is the hood scoops.

  3. Lee Hartman

    I used to own a ’78 128S 3P. Loved that little car! Unfortunately I met up with a cow in the road on a moonless summer night. Interesting how the value has risen, I paid $80 for mine!

  4. angliagt

    I believe the Ritmo was called a Strada over here.

  5. John B

    I had one of these. The graphics are original. I don’t remember the hood scoops though. Sure was slow. Somebody owed my dad money so I got Bilsteins put in it for free. Slow as hell but turned like a go-kart.

  6. Alan (Michigan)

    Slow can be fixed.

    A friend who had a number of 128’s told me once that the blocks had particularly thick cylinder walls. That meant big over-bores were possible. If someone wanted to keep the original engine in an untouched state, then plenty of temporary alternative installations are possible. Handling is tougher to achieve if you start with a dog.

    This could be a fun little car to buzz around in with bolt-on modifications, then return to stock and get your money back? The little dent in the RF fender does not bother me, nor do the door dings. Add character. I might have to refinish the parking brake handle, just to contribute to the overall cleanliness of the car, though.

  7. Doyler

    Perhaps a good candidate for a turbo hayabusa?

  8. Wiley Robinson

    I’ve had dozens of 128s over my lifetime but have only ever seen a handful of 3Ps. The 3P is the rarest of the 128s, an upgrade of sorts to the 128 Sport Coupe. Pretty sure the hood scoops are a dealer add on and not a factory Fiat deal. Other than that, this is a really cool car. I had thought they were all 1500s from the later X 1/9 but I notice that this one has a 1300 badge. Maybe it’s an early car (or more likely my memory is bad).

    This is a really rare find, esp. in good shape.

    • Kevin Harper

      Wiley
      I think your memory is going, all 128’s were either 1100 or 1300,. The 1500 didn’t come out until the strada.
      Many 128 have been retrofitted with the 1500 and a 5 speed, but factory they came with a 4.

      Enzo drove a 128 but it was a normal sedan and not one of these.

      I had several 128 sl but not a 3p. The cars aren’t rockets but are terrific fun. I use to race my friend who had a 1275 mini cooper and we were close to equal. If we had a stop light drag race though chances are nobody would notice.

      Kevin

  9. Jubjub

    Awesome.

  10. jim s

    i would want to use this as a daily driver/autocross car. i too think this is going to get costly. bright colors work for me. great find.

  11. AMCSTEVE

    Italian Chevette!

  12. RobM

    My Mom drove a bright yellow 1975 Fiat 128 Sedan back in the ’70s. Since I was in my late teens, I got to drive it on occasion. What a wonderful little car! The engine loved to rev and the handling was (relatively) quite good. An Italian Mini Cooper. The car was unstoppable in the snow. This 3P is quite a rare find. I hope it goes to someone who will continue to care for it and keep it as original as possible.

  13. Chris In Australia

    Fun little cars. For an engine with a tiny stroke, they have a surprising amount of torque steer. I had one, ended up tearing the strut rod out of its mount due to tinworm. Of the 5 Fiats & Lancias in my family over the years, this was the only victim of rust.

  14. Alan (Michigan )

    Relisted.

    TWENTY FOUR THOUSAND DOLLARS BIN!

    24K!
    Fun little car, but not THAT much fun.

    Wow.
    What did the bidding reach first time around?

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