Fiat 131 Reviews from Australia and New Zealand

1981 Fiat 131 Superbrava 2.0 twincam

Model year1982
Year of manufacture1981
First year of ownership2000
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 2.0 twincam Automatic
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 6 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.8 / 10
Previous carVolvo 245

Summary:

Totally under-rated performance saloon - Spiritual successor to the Triumph Dolomite Sprint?

Faults:

Carby and fuel pump trouble - flooded engine with fuel.

Electronic ignition trouble.

Gearbox rope seal continually leaked engine oil.

Transmission gasket leaked transmission fluid.

Ring gear on starter motor worn.

Radiator leak (eventually I blew the head gasket).

Front suspension struts had to be slotted to correct serious toeing out.

Some crim smashed the rear 1/4 window to nick a $40 car radio - trying to locate the glass was tricky.

Electric windows controls (front) often required contacts to be cleaned.

Headlining fell from ceiling - push-pinned it back up.

Seemed to work best as a daily runner - park it up for a week or so, and it took a day to run smoothly again.

General Comments:

Seriously fast car, both off the line and top speed - lightweight probably helped.

Handled like a race car - weight distribution seemed perfect for fast cornering.

The sound!!! I used to drive with the rear windows down just to hear the exhaust.

Comfortable seats all throughout.

Everyone mistook the car for a 1980's BMW 3-series (no bad thing).

At one stage had to cart around a family of six - it never complained unless there was no oil in the transmission.

Great for just traveling with one passenger - yet seemed to affect the weight distribution??

Economical on fuel.

Interior was typically 80's - dark, square gauges, black everywhere.

Never had one spot of rust - despite its checkered heritage.

Brakes needed beefing up.

There's just something perversely thrilling about going to work in a car that you're never sure will be able to make it home again.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th February, 2011

1982 Fiat 131 Super Brava Mark II 2.0 petrol

Year of manufacture1982
First year of ownership1992
Most recent year of ownership2000
Engine and transmission 2.0 petrol Manual
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 6 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.8 / 10
Distance when acquired127000 kilometres
Most recent distance175000 kilometres
Previous carFord Escort Mark II

Faults:

Rust!

Electronic ignition started to pack up in hot weather.

General Comments:

A good, reliable car. Twin cam engine was a strong, reliable unit.

Simple car to service yourself.

Loads of fun to drive.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th March, 2001

31st Mar 2005, 00:34

I bought my 131 mkII Super Brava (1982) in 1992 at 62,000ks for $7000 (Aus). It has no rust, original paint (white) and factory A/C (I fitted it from a wreck).

At 190,000ks, the 2 litre engine has not had any major work done (still on original head gasket). I keep the oil, filters and coolant in fresh condition as much as possible.

Only problem was the original ECU (ignition) in the heat, replaced with GMH copy, sorted.

It still drives very well, and is as keen as ever doing 170kph or more!

I have no intention of parting with it, as it has become a great 2nd car, now that we have a '92 Alfa 164. Could be the start of another long and meaningful relationship... April '05.

31st Jul 2007, 16:01

Yes a great car for its day and a very viable everyday classic. I drove one from Melbourne to Sydney and back with 5 up. A sweet low mileage car, not even a TC, it handled 140kph all the way. I recall very tidy predictable handling. There aren't any left in NZ now due to rust, but grab one if you live in a dry country, They are solidly built and easy to service, and little bit special. Interiors have that cool glovebox, but godawful plastics. An interesting car, but not as good as a 125.

7th Dec 2010, 00:20

A great car. It was my grandmother's typical little old lady story. The car is all original and I mean all. Nothing has been replaced or tinkered with. It's only done 100000 km so no surprise that it's in the condition it's in now. She's had it since 1982 when she bought it brand new in Gosford where VWs and Renaults are now sold. I will inherit this car and love and cherish it for the rest of my life.

7th Jan 2014, 03:28

I have an Alfa 164 2.0 8v t-spark. It has a very reliable timing chain. It has a good original Alfa sound and handles great with a comfortable seating position.

Also have a 1981 Fiat 131 1.6 TC, previously owned by my dad and now maintained by me. Yup, an ever lasting relationship with Italian stallion.

Cheers.

Average review marks: 7.8 / 10, based on 2 reviews