1974 Fiat 128 from North America
Clutch cable broke twice, seems like it was a pretty common issue. I really wish I had known that better engine block grounding would have spared the cable.
Fuel pump was mounted below the fuel tank with a wimpy little shield that was supposed to protect it from gravel and grit flying under the car. Mine had intermittent failures that drove me crazy.
US model had an emission control "air pump" with a cogged take-off belt from the camshaft. That belt broke and got wrapped around the timing belt, but it miraculously avoided trashing the valves. After putting in a new belt I ripped out the air pump and air injection manifold.
The car didn't like starting below 30F until I installed a Pirhana electronic ignition and rebuilt the carb. No ignition problems after that!
During cold snowy days the carb would ice up if I drove at high speeds for more than about 15 minutes. The solution was to pull over, shut off the engine, close the choke, and let the engine heat melt the ice for about five minutes.
One hot summer day a buddy and I were in a traffic jam when the top radiator hose got a small crack and shot out some coolant in an impressive cloud of steam. There was a cute girl in the car next to us and she rolled down her window. Is she going to offer us a ride? No, she says "Serves you right for getting a Fiat!" We just laughed!
Despite the problems, this was by far the most fun car I ever owned. It really handled well in wet and snowy conditions, it had great road feel with the manual rack and pinion steering. Owning this Fiat, I learned a heck of a lot about cars.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 28th September, 2005
18th Jan 2011, 17:51
I bought a used 1974 128 Coupe in 1979. I traded my 1973 Pontiac Catalina in on it.
I must say that the car was fun, but like others have reported, it didn't like to start below 32 degrees F. It had an electric block heater and that solved that problem. I also became very adept at changing out the clutch cable. About 20 minuets.
Alas I sold it a year and a half later for $75.00. I still keep my eye out for another.