1978 Fiat 128 Reviews

1978 Fiat 128 3P 1.3 litre from North America

Model year1978
Year of manufacture1978
First year of ownership1988
Most recent year of ownership1990
Engine and transmission 1.3 litre Manual
Performance marks 5 / 10
Reliability marks 5 / 10
Comfort marks 3 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
4.3 / 10
Distance when acquired90000 miles
Most recent distance100000 miles

Summary:

A fun, no-frills car, a bit like a go-kart with luggage space.

Faults:

Clutch cable broke.

Minor electrical problems with wiring to tail lights.

Had problems with periodic engine stumbling and loss of power. I rebuilt the carb and that fixed it.

Rust around rear window, bottom of hatch.

I put on wider performance tires which required spacers on the front. Perhaps the stress from this or just the poor quality of Fiat steel led to a separation in the chassis where the front suspension bolted on (on one side). My tire began rubbing on the wheel well and it could have been catastrophic. My mechanic welded it and it performed fine afterwards.

Seats were badly worn out and required aftermarket seat covers.

General Comments:

I bought mine heavily used, with unknown mileage (the mileage figures I entered are just for the website requirements). The owner was in the middle of a repaint and opted to sell it, so it was primer black! My stealth car. $450 USD, not a bad deal for a car that lasted me several years.

A very spartan car, no A/C, creature comforts nil, but fun to drive. As is typical of small Italian engines, you must rev them high to get going.

Except for a body weld repair, I did all work myself, which really wasn't a lot for the years I owned it, and the cost was low. I could actually get parts from local suppliers, and even one dealer that used to carry Fiat.

It was great in snow. I recall that the handling was good and predictable, and could recover well if I managed to break away on the rear.

Cargo capacity was great. I could load an amp, guitars, and big speaker cabinet in the back, and it was easy to load/unload.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 3rd March, 2008

1978 Fiat 128 3p 1.3 from Australia and New Zealand

Year of manufacture1978
Engine and transmission 1.3 Manual
Performance marks 2 / 10
Reliability marks 0 / 10
Comfort marks 6 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 0 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
2.0 / 10
Distance when acquired90000 miles

Summary:

I would not give a car like this to my worst enemy

Faults:

Everything that could go wrong with this car probably did.

The wheel studs wore out and needed to be machined. The mag wheel were exotic and could not be sourced locally.

One headlight had to be imported from Italy. That cost me 200 dollars aud.

Shock absorbers also costed me a fortune to replace. I think they were McPherson struts.

The engine fell out due to stress fractures in the firewall.

The thermatic fan would cut out, frying the motor.

This all happened within six months of owning it.

General Comments:

The greatest mistake I ever made in my life was to buy one of these things. It looked like a nice hatch. It sounded awesome with a real sporty note. But after a short while things began to break and fall off.

But the car was so gutless. Once, with three passengers, it could not scale a hill and had to be driven down in reverse because it didn't have the power to get to the top.

Parts for this car cost me a fortune.

Even though I sold it for scrap fifteen years ago, I still awaken sometimes at night, in a lather of sweat, thinking that I still own it. The horror of what it cost me has never gone away. Every now and then I think it's still out in my driveway and I shudder.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 19th March, 2005

13th Nov 2005, 20:49

Brought back memories! My 1978 128 sedan had all the same maladies, and more. RIP.

9th Jan 2006, 20:07

A definite heap of junk - my Mum bought one new in 1976, 2 years later the wiper motor burnt out and the brake master cylinder failed. After another year (1979) the CV joints went. in 1981 (5 years and 90000 miles) the engine had to be rebuilt, the boot lid fell off (rusted hinges),the engine support crossmember fell out (rust again!) and 2 front wheel bearings shot, a horrible little car...

1978 Fiat 128 1.1 from Cyprus

Year of manufacture1978
First year of ownership2002
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 1.1 Manual
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 4 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.3 / 10
Distance when acquired85000 miles
Most recent distance88000 miles
Previous carVolkswagen Polo

Summary:

Good, cheap, fun

Faults:

It overheated once due to a split in the radiator, although it was 43 degrees Celsius that day.

Alternator failed due to old age, to be expected on a car this old.

General Comments:

I use the car daily for work, going off road, even on the beach sometimes. I tow small boats and jet skis and mostly I drive it very hard. the car is an excellent tool for work and fun to drive. its great!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th July, 2003

Average review marks: 4.5 / 10, based on 3 reviews