1979 Fiat 128 3p 1.3 from UK and Ireland
Corrosion. serious corrosion requiring reinforcing of most of the front end.
Body shell weakness, requiring strut braces and door pillar supports.
This was a fiat as they used to be. Awful body and electrics, awesome engines, and I mean trully awesome. The 1290 motor in the 128 has a 55 mm stroke and an 84 mm bore. That means it has big valves and very low piston speed at high revs. The result? Over 10000 rpm from a 100000 mile car. Yep, 75 mph in second gear! Mind you it was modified.
I ported the head, skimmed it back by 2.5 mm (yes, static compression was 11.5 : 1)
That was alleviated by fitting a 300 duration cam. 40-80 80-40.
The valve stems were cut back using a lathe and an angle grinder. It ran twin DCNF downdrafts and a home made exhaust.
Alloy wheels off a fiat 132 with 185 70 13 tyres.
Standard suspension and the reinforced aforementioned reinforced body.
Mind you, it needed reinforcing, I used to take it off road and do jumps in it. We had a copuple of humpback bridges near us and we used to take our cars over them at about 90 mph. Now the bridge is about 20 ft high. We used to get the fiats (we all had them) about 10 ft off the ground.
But what can I say, a truly awesome engine. Bog standard 90000 mile bottom and and over 10000 rpm!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 8th June, 2005