Fiat 130 3200 Automatic: The last luxury class Fiat

Wolfgang Wilhelm
Fiat 130 3200 automatic
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How we are spoiled by our modern cars today. Who, for example, from the current compact Fiat Bravo to the former luxury class model F iat 130 from 1972 initially has the feeling of sitting in the significantly smaller and cheaper Fiat 125.

Understatement in Italian

Where is that sublime feeling of space? The lavish luxury? The chrome-cased instruments? The opulently shaped seats with high neck rests? The new Bravo can do everything much better - and it's really not a luxury car! But slowly, the old man Fiat 130 shows us what's inside.

The first, unforgettable impression behind the steering wheel of the Fiat 130 is reminiscent of a song from the musical 'Hair': Let the sunshine in. No modern cars can keep up with their mutations into gloomy armored cars. The 130 driver enjoys not only the sun and the sky, but above all the landscape passing by to the left and right and the road fleeing from him in broadband cinemascope format. The roof structure of the Fiat 130 with its slender columns takes up almost half the height of the car. To do this, the driver sits relatively high on his soft upholstered chair and holds a thin plastic steering wheel in his hands. At the time, of course, that was typical of the European body style, which we also find in a BMW 2800 or Mercedes 280 S. But the big Fiat 130 can do a lot more.

The airy, not particularly original, but timelessly elegant and perfectly proportioned Fiat 130 body conceals the best that the car nation of Italy could do at the time had to offer. It seems that Fiat wanted to show the world what the luxury brand, primarily known for its small and family cars, is capable of. The construction of the Fiat 130 started practically with a blank sheet of paper and vowed not to use any existing part taken from another model.

The engine is a stripped-down Dino-V6

The engine specialist Aurelio Lampredi, who also produces the V6 sports engine for the Fiat Dino and the Dino fromFerrari designed and delivered a slimmed-down version with only one camshaft per cylinder bank and with significantly more displacement. When it was presented in 1969, the 2.9-liter V6 in the Fiat 130 had a steady 140 hp, and from 1970 with a 3.2-liter displacement, 165 hp. Thanks to its decent torque of 255 Newton meters at 3,400 rpm, the 130 was also ideally suited for a three-speed automatic transmission contributed by Borg Warner.

The chassis of the Fiat 130 was given independent front and rear suspension; Interestingly, at the front and exclusively with torsion bar suspension and at the rear with semi-trailing arms and coil springs - which otherwise only Dino Coupé and Spider had to offer. Four disc brakes kept the 190 km /h four-door car safely under control. Lush 205 tires on 14-inch magnesium rims underlined the representative appearance of the stately Italian.

Luxury equipment at the highest level

Fiat wrapped the state-of-the-art technology package of the Fiat 130 in colorful wrapping paper, consisting of sensible to playful equipment details, some of which were not available from Mercedes, Jaguar or even Cadillac at the time. In addition to the standards such as reclining seats, electric windows and air conditioning (with air outlet for the rear passengers), we discovered in the Fiat 130 a full instrumentation including oil pressure and oil temperature display, a steering column adjustable in height and length, a hand throttle as a replacement for cruise control, two Sun blinds on the rear window, child safety locks on the rear doors and some nice things that the center console offers: With the switch, which is marked with the symbol of a fanfare trumpet, the Fiat 130 driver activates the additionally built-in compressor horn when driving overland. To the right of it the switch with a kind of corkscrew symbol. It can be used to extend the rear antenna for the radio if one calls for music.

But the gadget of all gadgets of the Fiat 130 now sounds before the test drive starts. An old Bakelite telephone seems to be ringing acoustically metallic somewhere in the footwell. No, it is not a call from Giovanni Agnelli from the other side, who wants to know whether everything is okay, just the handbrake, which must be released before the journey. In the Fiat 130 we are desperately looking for a lever on the center console, but this is located on the lower left next to the driver's seat rail. We press the lock button with our thumbs, lift the brake lever a little and lower it to the floor. The ringing stops. Pull the solidly shaped automatic selector lever back to D - and off you go, the Fiat 130 starts moving.

Good performance and agile chassis

Almost like an American V8 the Italo V6 of the Fiat 130 hangs on the gas despite the automatic and brings the dark blue glass palace powerful and powerful in motion. The testers from auto motor und sport were once enthusiastic about the automatic Fiat 130 and compared itThe weaker 2.9-liter engine found clear improvements: 'The somewhat sluggish old man's vehicle has become a living car that does not lack sporty elements despite all the comfort features.'

Acceleration from zero to 100 km /h improved by two to 11.9 seconds. This put the big Fiat 130 on the level of its former automatic rivals such as BMW 2800 and Opel Admiral E, while the Jaguar XJ 6 2.8 lagged behind with 16.5 and the Mercedes-Benz 280 SE with 12.4 seconds. The sporty, robust engine sound of the Fiat 130 on higher tours, however, goes better with the standard ZF five-speed transmission, which also reduces the acceleration time to around ten seconds.

The agility and maneuverability of the Fiat 130, which is not too softly sprung, is amazing which is now similar to the much more compact 125. In addition, the individually suspended wheels have an astonishingly good absorption capacity on undulating ground. However, what is also reminiscent of the 125 and even the even more mundane 124 are the three gray-brown plastic yogurt spoons as the steering column levers of the Fiat 130 for lights, indicators and windshield wipers. The modern, completely black instrument panel in combination with the lush, light blue upholstery and the noble real wood dashboard does not look stylish either. If l'Avvocato Agnelli did call, we would have reason for a small complaint.

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