Fiat 131, a successful Italian family


For all the 70s, few mid-range models are able to agree on such a diverse clientele. With its different combinations between fittings and engines the Fiat 131 it immediately becomes the benchmark of the category, obtaining great success also at international level and also taking off the whim of conquering three world rallies.

Outside the sphere of small cars, the 131 is also one of the few that manages to pass through the years of Sunday on foot and of protest.

Stormy origins

The gestation of the 131 takes place while turin and Fiat are overwhelmed by the lights trade union demonstrations, a nightmare that torments sleep to company management. To bypass the pickets of the workers in front of the offices it is decided to secretly conceal the work of the white-collar workers in makeshift apartments, rented in the Piedmontese capital.

Fiat 131, photos and history

In the minds of the managers of the Lingotto the Fiat 131 must be able to assault without difficulty the demanding foreign markets, including that North American, for which strict approval regulations are already in place.

A great qualitative leap

Unlike the 124 and 125 the new Fiat 131 Mirafiori, named in honor of the establishment of the same name, is designed according to completely new criteria, especially with regard to safety and comfort. The body boasts a non-deformable living cell while the muzzle and tail are designed for absorb the impact.

Fiat 131, photos and history

The bumpers are recessed, so they go slightly back at the time of impact. The panels, like the front fenders, are bolted instead of welded. All this to allow one easy replacement, greatly limiting the stomach ache to the owner when he sees the body shop bill.

Fiat 131, photos and history

Three generations and a wide choice

From 1974 the Fiat 131 is already available in the sedan configurations four doors, sedan two doors is familiar. The engines of the beginning, the 1.3 of 65 hp and the 75 bhp 1.6, mounted longitudinally and combined with rear wheel drive, guarantee a comfortable pace but without being splinters. The gearboxes are the manuals, with four and five gears, and a three-speed automatic, of GM origin.

Fiat 131, photos and history

The 131 Mirafiori can be chosen in two different versions, the “poorer one” and the Special, which stand out conspicuously for the finishes internal and external. With the mid-career update, the new plastic bumpers and the even more refined Supermirafiori set up, complete with sciccosissimi, for the time, rear headrests. A new 96 bialbero 1.6 comes, while the two doors arrogate the 115 bhp 2.0 in the Racing set-up, capable of touching 180 Km / h.

Fiat 131, photos and history

With the four cylinders diesel 2.0 and 2.5, produced by Sofim, hidden under an angry hump on the bonnet, the Fiat 131 begins to clear customssupply diesel in the common everyday cars. With the third and last act, the 131 gives itself to a slight make-up that makes it very attractive also for the 1980s. The two doors leave the scene and leave the void of the Racing to the 2.0 TC sedan, equipped with the same brilliant engine.

Fiat 131, photos and history

Conquering America

From the beginning the Fiat 131 is also destined for the roads of the North America and to annoy the Japanese competitors. With special oversized bumpers and position lights the 131 is sold overseas as Fiat Brava, nothing to do with the homonymous model of the 1990s.

Fiat 131 / Brava

In the arc of the first two series the 131 / Brava is moved by a 1.8 of 86 hp, then inflated to 2 liters with electronic injection, with a maximum speed of 180 km / h. It is one of the last Fiat's sold in the States, before the withdrawal that brings the house to absent from that market for thirty years.

The 131 becomes space

With the 131 Panorama Italian motorists begin to break the taboo that family members are only suitable for painters or carpenters. No wagon, from Fiat and beyond, before she has managed to conquer such a high circulation on our roads.

Fiat 131, photos and history

With the sedan already replaced by the Regatta, it still continues to be on the list for another two years, with the name of Maratea and the new oblique bar front, before being replaced from the Weekend Regatta.

Queen of the dirt road

La Casa dello Scorpione, from this distinguished lady of everyday life, derives the new weapon of the Turin group for the world rally: the 131 Abarth, almost a car apart from the two standard doors. The car body, properly convex with mudguards and various appendages, it is the same but the sheets are in artificial resin, the suspension totally different and the engine is the 2.0 derived 124 Abarth, from 140 CV on the road and 215 hp for that of the official team, which pushes it to 190 km / h.

Fiat 131, photos and history

Ride by Markku Alen and Walter Rohrl won the world rally championship (builders) in 1977, 1978 and 1980. With the arrival of the 131 third series comes out of production, but in Abarth they have a crazy idea: they take some specimens of the sedan and place us inside the volumetric compressor, already in use on the Lancias, making them reach equal cavalry and performance. It is the very rare Fiat 131 Racing Abarth Volumetric.

Fiat 131, photos and history

Also committed to work

From the 131 Panorama, through the welding of some panels and the loss of the rear seats, the Marengo. It is an attempt for Fiat to create a vehicle that combines the comfort of a normal car and the practicality of a van. A name that will be used again for the truck versions of subsequent family members of the brand name Turin.

Fiat Marengo (131)

World citizen

The Fiat 131 is a car that manages to carve out a large audience even outside the boot. It is assembled in screwdriver factories scattered around the globe and, in particular, leads a parallel life in Spain, where it is produced by seat, and in Turkey, where it leads a long existence with the brand Tofas. In the latter country the 131 is heavily redesigned, it changes its name to Kartal and disappears shortly after the threshold of the third Millennium.

Tofas Kartal

The 131 and the price list

In its years the Fiat 131 has price lists that, with the first series, go from 2,300,000 to 2,900,000 lire, and with the third, between 8.113.00 and 11.778.00 of the old coin. About two million less than the much more elite Lancia and Alfa proposals in the same category and slightly cheaper than a rival foreign like the Passat, when the latter is still not the queen of segment D.

Fiat 131, photos and history

Speech aside for the reinterpretations of the scorpion: the 131 Abarth is sold for over 9 million liras, almost like a Maserati Merak, while the 131 Supermirafiori Volumetric Abarth, some years later, goes over 13 million, like an Alfa Romeo Alfetta 2000.

Fiat 131, photos and history

What is worth today

Many motorists of yesterday regret it, while many young people today identify it as a bearer of serenity in the dark years of lead. Remembered for its appearance in Bianco Rosso and Verdone, in the episode of the unbearable and meticulous Furio, the Fiat 131 is today a historian who, if in good condition, can cost at most 6,000 euros.

For a Racing or a Volumetric it takes about 26,000 euros while for the rally champion, the 131 Abarth disputed at auctions and glorified at re-enacting races, the value shoots over 110,000 EUR.

Fiat 131, photos and history

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