Practical Italian: 1970 Fiat 124 Familiare

This 1970 Fiat 124 Familiare sure seems longer than my Audi TT does but it’s the exact same length of 13′-4″. A four-door wagon is a much more practical car and one that I would love to own compared to basically a two-seater. This example can be found here on craigslist in Charlevoix, Michigan with an asking price of $3,800. Thanks to Rocco B. for sending in this tip!

I know that this isn’t a swoopy-woopy design or one of the new upswept-body-line-with-angry-frowning-electric-razor-face cars that everyone is making now, but I love it. Angular and/or just plain square is good in my world, says the guy who just talked about his Audi TT that probably doesn’t have a straight line on or in the whole thing. This car looks fantastic, no? It should stop fantastic, too, with four-wheel disc brakes.

Hey, wait a minute! Someone painted it white, or is that gray primer? It’s hard to tell but I was sure hoping that it was either white or light gray with a red interior like this one. I’d have to repaint it back to its original blue color. I don’t quite understand an outside-only color change, but I don’t understand a lot of things. The body does look good, though, and there is no mention of rust but there has to be some somewhere. I see some suspect areas around the rear hatch and that worries me a bit, but maybe it’s just missing door gasket material or something. There is quite a bit of room in the back for such a small car, unlike my TT.

It has a two-tone interior, but not in a good way. I’m assuming that the seats would have originally been the same saddle color as the door panels are? Or, maybe the door panels were changed because the cargo area has black side panels to match the seats. Weird. The seller says that they have an extra set of front and rear seats to throw in so maybe that solves the mystery. Normally I’d think about changing the interior to red but with that electric blue exterior, I’m not sure.

The back seat looks like it would have enough legroom for most people and headroom shouldn’t be a problem, again, unlike the back seat of my TT which is basically unusable for human habitation. There are no engine photos despite a run of 15 photos in the listing, but it has Fiat’s 1.2L inline-four with 65 hp. The seller says that it has been incredibly reliable and has only needed regular oil changes. Have any of you owned a Fiat 124?


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  1. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Cool survivor…glad as I liked these wagons along with that 124 car…….

    Like 2
  2. Nsuracer

    I once owned the pride of two junk yards. I bought a 74 124S wagon with a blown up 1596cc twin cam from one yard for $200. I bought a 1608cc twin cam roadster motor from another yard for $200. Voila, it ran pretty good.

    Like 4
  3. local_sheriff

    The Fiat 124 is the car that was the starting point for the ‘classic’ (?) Soviet VAZ2101, or Lada as we know it better.The basic Fiat design was improved,a different engine installed and also went through some modernizations during its life span, which lasted until 2012! It’s impressive that a Fiat wagon like this has managed to survive.

    I seem to remember Top Gear a few years back arranged a comparison of a late production Lada to the original Fiat 124.Due to the rather well-known Italian sheetmetal quality in combination with the humid UK climate they had a hard time even locating a roadworthy first year Fiat,I think they said less than 5 were still left on the isles!

    Like 3
  4. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    I remember Fiat 124s from my time working at a “petrol” station on the south side of Dublin in the early ’70s. They were quite popular then; lots of them on the road. I remember driving a few for parts runs and trips to the local “fish & chips” take-out. They were decent cars that handled pretty well and seemed fairly peppy for the time. Wagons were pretty scarce, not many around even then.

    Speaking of the Russian Lada, I never heard of them until I watched a few of the Russian car crash videos on YouTube. This wagon is a neat oddball but the colors clash and look so odd the buyer will have to address that issue. Unless you tell folks it’s a Lada, in which case they’ll figure it came from the factory that way.

    Like 3
    • Fordfan

      100% better space utilization than a Volkswagen with 99% worse reliability . There were junk when new at least here in America

  5. Mark-A

    My folks had one after FIAT sold the rights to LADA (when there was still an Eastern Block) ours was a commie red estate car (wagon) & had a LADA engine which was extremely basic, but if it ever broke down the supplied tool kit contained EVERYTHING required to strip it to a bare shell (probably because you wouldn’t want to break down in a Soviet winter?) and another thing the heater was absolutely fantastic! I don’t know why I’m starting to feel an amazing amount of love for such a heap but I have even remembered the UK plate was CUS899X. Sorry for waffling on too.

    Like 7
  6. On and On On and On Member

    My dad bought a brand new 1968 Fiat 124 sedan. What a great little car. Ran like a top, 1200cc engine and a great 4 speed made it fun to drive. I drove it from Chicago to San Diego the summer of 1970. Never had a problem with it. Chicago winters and heavily salted streets turned it to junk in a couple years. too bad.

    Like 6
  7. Jasper

    Cool. Would be fantastic put back to its original blue with a set of Libre wheels.

    Like 1
  8. Ron

    Anyone have an engine for one of these?

  9. Todd Fitch Staff

    LS swap? Sorry Scotty- had to say it. Cute and practical. What… no blind spot alert? Nice useful people-mover you could probably drive for years and sell for what you paid. Thanks!

  10. Willowen Member

    I’ve not had one yet, though I’ve loved the Fiats I have owned and/or driven. I had an 1100TV too briefly – the steering-wheel mounted shift lever flew apart when I tried to fix it, and apparently nobody in San Jose knew the remedy, or wouldn’t admit it. I have driven a couple of 124 sedans, though, and since I love wagons anyway I’d love to adopt this one. If only … we weren’t up to what I am told is Car Capacity, and a road trip from Michigan (which I would insist on) might see me coming home to an empty house.

    Fiat’s designers have repeatedly shown a genius for applying traditional methods and “ordinary” chassis technology to produce cars that handle and perform better than they seem to have any right to. All of the 124s I’ve had any dealings with have been happy, friendly cars to drive however gently or forcefully I chose to, with the exception of the very late sports roadster that was both smog-strangled and dull at the wheel. I regret not having any real chance at this.

    • t-bone Bob

      Too bad. TVs are wonderful cars. There’s a fellow over the hill from you in Santa Cruz who would have been able to help you. Chris Obert

  11. Louis Q Chen

    I once owned 2 124-’72 & ’73. One is a 4-dr. sedan the other a wagon. Both had automatic & A/C. The good thing about it is they’re quite reliable (no joke), they both had the 1.6L engine. The only nightmare was it was a deja vu of my ’65 Alfa 1300GT Junior! They were a hazardous waste dumps on wheel! Anywhere we went, I had to bring along a refrigerator box so that I cold place it under the front where the engine was-drip, drip, drip! Our car was called the Italian Agip oil refinery on wheels in our neighborhood. I have tried silicone sealant between the engine block and the oil pan but no luck. They both rusted out in ’80 & ’81. The other issues I had was the Magneti Marelli electric which reminded me of the old Lucas refers. All in all they were decent cars with lots of room. Too bad the new Fiat/Chrysler can’t produce a decent car the 124 anymore! I wondered if the new Fiat 500 has the same drip problems? Any one out there have any inputs? I’m expecting to get a 2015 500 only 40K miles with auto & A/C next month courtesy of an old time customer who was fed up with it and decided to pass his P.O.S. to me as a longterm project…HA HA HA…

    • t-bone Bob

      I have a 2012 500 and the floor is bone dry. 96,000 miles later. Can’t say the same for my wife’s 2006 Audi A4.

  12. Alex Lewin

    We had a 124 Wagon (1968 I think) when I was growing up. Blue.

    I don’t remember much about it.

    I think it shared a garage for a while with a 1968 VW Squareback (Type 3) that we inherited from my grandfather.

    I imagine that the Fiat was more fun to drive.

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