1979 Fiat 131 CL Estate 1.6 OHV from UK and Ireland


What you might expect from a Fiat of that time


Replaced the complete O/S rear door because the glass kept shattering.

Rear wiper motor kept working loose.

Exhaust needed replacing annually.

Needed frequent tuning to keep it running smoothly.

Starter motor failed at 101000 miles.

Rusted very quickly; I scrapped it when I jacked it up and the windscreen popped out.

General Comments:

Not particularly fast, but fun to drive quickly; the engine loved to be revved, and the handling was quite nimble.

If I curbed my enthusiasm, fuel consumption was around 30 mpg. I paid for having fun in it though.

It had comfortable front seats, very cramped in the rear.

For an estate car, it didn't have much load space.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 28th July, 2011

1981 Fiat 131 Superbrava 2.0 twincam from Australia and New Zealand


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


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

1981 Fiat 131 Mirafiori Fuel ingected from North America


Stands the test of time


The usual wear and tear; after all, the car is 24 years old!

General Comments:

I own a white Fiat 131 Brava 4 door and I'm quite happy with it, I've had no problems and it still runs beautifully to this day. I guess I got the good apple of the bunch.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 26th September, 2005

27th Sep 2005, 11:01

If you were to hold a meeting of all the people in N America who bought a 1981 Fiat Brava new--and still own it--you could probably hold it in a phone booth.

That is, if phone booths still existed...

4th Jan 2006, 00:43

Owned numerous Fiats. That should tell you that I've been pretty happy with them.

Here are a few tips for maintaining those older Fiats;

Engines are bullit-proof provided you service them, most have 5 bearing main cranks - very rare for cars of this genre! That means they revved hard and liked it. Change oil regularly (gearbox & diff oil too!!)

Electrics: Replace fuses at the first instance with the same amperage! Keep electrics dry as possible. Fiat wiring was some of the best quality around...don't be persuaded to replace wiring unless wire is totally destroyed or frayed.

Same goes for spark plug leads. Keep the original OEM Copper ones or replace with Hi-quality Magnacore leads. Avoid silicone ones.

A Tip: When buying an earlier (pre-1990's Fiat) get it rust-proofed. Fish oil all the inner door linings, boot etc.

Do this every 5 years, and you won't have a problem with rust. (Providing it didn't have any to start with...)

Also should mention that lighter coloured ones, eg. White, beige, cream etc rusted less or slower than darker or metallic coloured (navy blue, silver, reds etc). I don't know why.

1st May 2014, 07:19

This could be said of any 1981 car.

27th Sep 2015, 01:43

You couldn't have it in a phone booth because there aren't any anymore.

We could have it in a 7/11 parking lot; you bring yours and I will bring my 81 blue 4 door.