Euro Make-Over: 1980 Fiat Strada

For those of you who are familiar with the Fiat Strada, you will notice that this one looks quite different to the car that was sold in the USA. That is because the owner has gone to the trouble of sourcing a number of NOS components to transform the car’s appearance to be in line with how it would have sold in European markets. Barn Finder Rocco B spotted the little Fiat for us, so thank you for that Rocco. It is located in West Hollywood, California, and is listed for sale here on Craigslist. The asking price for this little Italian has been set at $7,500, although it appears that the owner might be a bit flexible on this.

This is not the first Strada that we’ve featured here, with Jeff Lavery having produced this article back in March of 2018. This particular Strada looks markedly different from your average example. The owner sourced the NOS European fascia and bumpers for the car, and this allowed him to ditch the 5mph bumpers that were fitted in the US. It does give the car a cleaner look and makes it look a bit lighter. The body is basically pretty reasonable, with only a few minor dings to note. There isn’t a huge amount of visible rust on the Strada, with only a small spot on the lower right-hand corner of the rear hatch visible. It would still pay to give the car a good check-over because you don’t want to find any nasty surprises once you get the car home.

When the Strada first hit our shores in 1979 with prices starting at a touch over $4,000, there was some criticism from many quarters about just how spartan the interior of the car was. This criticism grew even louder in 1980 when the equipment levels remained largely unchanged, but the price for the base model increased by a then-whopping $600. The interior is quite austere, but it looks like the original AM/FM radio is still present, while the original owner specified the car with the Deluxe dash, which included a tachometer. Overall, the condition of the interior isn’t too bad. The seats, carpet, and door trims look good, while in something of a minor miracle, the dash and pad are free of cracks. There are a few minor imperfections, with the handles for the window winders being heavily discolored, but it actually looks surprisingly good for a Fiat of this era.

Powering the little Fiat is a 1,498cc 4-cylinder engine, which produces 65hp. This is sent to the front wheels via a 5-speed manual transmission. While you also get power front disc brakes, the steering is not power assisted. The owner doesn’t indicate how well the car runs or drives. These are a surprisingly peppy little performer, but the Strada’s performance definitely benefited from the introduction of fuel injection in 1981. This blessed the Strada with a substantial improvement in engine refinement and a significant 10hp increase in engine power. One thing that is missing (apart from a battery) is the spare wheel, which should be mounted in that empty space just above the master cylinder.

The Fiat Strada is a cute looking car, but I guess that it is hard to really say whether cute cuts the mustard when you are considering classic cars. To my eye, the addition of the European body components gives the car a far nicer appearance than it had originally, while the body itself looks to be solid and free of the rust issues that can plague these little cars. Finding an older Fiat that isn’t being rapidly consumed by rust can be a pretty difficult task, and that alone might make this a car that is worth looking at.

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Comments

  1. Dave

    Kooky kool, but the Rabbit, which this closely resembles, ran right on by…

    2
    • Jamie

      Dave, it resembles the cars they made on the movie Gung Ho. With Michael Keaton. Assan motors was it?

      4
      • Ralph

        Those were Fiats, but a bigger model than these. Fiat Ritmos I think.

      • Phart

        You can see Yugo in it

      • SubGothius

        Ritmo was the rest-of-world name for the Strada. Gung Ho used Fiat Regatas, which were basically the trunked notchback variant of the Ritmo/Strada, and Fiat 147s, which were the South American variant of the 127, as factory scenes were filmed at the Argentinian Fiat factory.

        1
      • Paul Duce

        Here are a couple of pics of a Regata Estate, which is very different than the Ritmo, again a 1 owner car we brought over from Gorizia Italy to UK, then collected by new and driven back to France. http://www.classics-cabriolets.com

      • Paul Duce

        The other picture

  2. Tirefriar

    Tread carefully when looking at a post 1975 model year ANY car, especially carbureted, offered in California with out of state tags. With ever tightening state smog requirements this particular example may have trouble of getting proper residency papers even in a sanctuary state.

    4
  3. Rx7turboII

    Fun fact: this is the twin of the first car I ever stole! We used to have one of these in our vocational class in high school and we used to leave them out at night, when I got the bright idea to take it for a joy ride and got pulled over and arrested. Ah, the good old days! Lol!!

    3
  4. Ralph

    If anyone wants to see an actual review of how crappy these cars were in real life, check out Bob Mayer’s 1979 WTVJ Miami review on YouTube below.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqfcJ_PWLk8

    1
  5. t-bone Bob

    These were called the Ritmo in other markets. The really hot ones to have are the Abarth models with twin cams of 1.6 or 2.0 litre engines from other Fiat models

    3
    • audifan

      Indeed. These were called Ritmo 125 TC or 130 TC.

  6. Paul Duce

    How about this for a twin but an original one, we found this for a customer in Vicenza Italy, from her first gentleman owner born in 1932, had a great drive back through the Swiss Alps back to the UK. http://www.classics-cabriolets.com

    5
  7. Paul Duce

    Thought to pop a couple of pictures on of her in UK before being collected by the new owner. classics-cabriolets.com

  8. Paul Duce

    Here is another.

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