Even though Fiat cars are almost all gone from the American market, this brand has enjoyed a long and storied history in the global auto market.
Fiat is one of the longest-running and most successful Italian brands. For more than 120 years, this name has been a symbol of quality and driving excellence, giving us some impressive models to drive. This historic brand hasn’t had smooth sailing from day one, but that’s pretty much the story with every automaker. With that in mind, let’s see ten of the most impressive cars to ever wear the Fiat badge.
The First Fiat Panda Was a Huge Sales Hit
If an automaker is looking for a volume sales performer, they make a relatively affordable small car that can sell well. The original Fiat Panda is such a car. This amazing sales hit sold nearly 4.5 million versions during the 23 years the first Panda was in production. One of the most popular models during this time was the AWD version, which brought a slightly elevated ride height and gave drivers a good car for snow, rough roads, and tough weather.
The Fiat SB4 Was an Amazing Racing Machine
The SB4 was most commonly called Mephistopheles, which is a demon for the Faust legend. This car was made to be a one-off car that was built to take on the land speed record at the time. Amazingly, this car hit that record and held onto it for a short time. This made the Fiat SB4 one of the most significant cars of the time. The SB4 has been in the Fiat private collection since the 1960s. This car brought together the early Gran Prix racing cars with a 22-liter biplane engine, making this car sound incredibly loud.
The Fiat 127 Abarth Was Pretty Special
By all accounts, the regular version of the Fiat 127 wasn’t anything to write home about. This little car was small, cheap, and poorly made. It would have fit great with the Fiats of today, but there was something a bit special about this car. With the improvements made to the Abarth version, the Fiat 127 became a much better car and a fun little hot hatch.
The Fiat 131 Abarth Was the Entry into Rally Racing
Originally, Fiat backed Lancia in the World Rally Championship series. Lancia was another Italian automaker, and they were taking Rally racing by storm. Eventually, Fiat decided they wanted to enter the WRC with their own car, and that car was the 131 Abarth. This changed the course of things for Lancia because Fiat won back-to-back titles in 1977 and 1978 and then again in 1980, which was the last time Fiat won this racing series.
The Fiat 500 is One of the Most Popular Fiats in History
After World War II, there was a serious demand for small, economical cars to drive around postwar Europe. The Fiat 500 became one of the cars that we saw on European roads more than any other. This little beauty was a resounding sales success and was one of the most affordable cars in the world at the time. This would become the car that helped Fiat come back to the North American market after more than 30 years away.
The Fiat Uno Turbo Was Another Huge Hit
The Fiat 500 might be the car we associate most with this brand, but the Fiat Uno was sold and driven all over the world. One of the most popular and potent versions of this little car was the 1.4-liter Turbo which was a lot of fun to drive. It wasn’t a match for some larger hot hatches, but it could be fun to drive and use on the roads, making it one of the top Fiats to ever hit any road.
The Fiat X1/9 Brought Some Serious Sporty Style to the Brand
One of the biggest design hits from Fiat was the X1/9, which brought some serious sportiness to the Fiat brand. This car was a small, mid-engine sports car that showed off an attractive wedge design from every angle. The X1/9 offered excellent style and performance, but it had one fatal flaw. The lack of rustproofing done to this car made it susceptible to damage from rain, ice, salt, snow, or any other debris. The only time that was good to drive this car was a dry, sunny day.
The Fiat 130 Coupe Was One of the Few Successful Larger Cars
Fiat isn’t known for cars that look like they should seat five people or be smooth-riding impressive sedans. The 130 was something of an oddity from this brand, but it was certainly a hit. This Fiat had a larger engine and a more luxurious interior, offering a car that could take the whole family out for a ride. The 160 horsepower for this coupe was impressive. The Fiat 130 was designed by Pininfarina and was sold in small numbers but became a status symbol in Europe during the 1970s.
The Fiat 124 Spider Rally was an Incredible Rally Car
If you’re wondering what some of the early models of the Fiat 124 Spider did to gain popularity and respect, this car is one to look at. The Fiat 124 Spider Rally was very competitive in the early 1970s, winning several rallies and a European Championship. That said, this car never hit the same level as the Lancia Stratos in the WRC. The ultra-light body of this car and more than 200 horsepower from under the hood made it an extremely fast car on technical rallies.
The Fiat Dino had a Ferrari Engine
The Fiat Dino is one of the most incredible Fiat cars to ever hit the road. This car was made shortly after Fiat acquired Ferrari in 1969. The Dino was a gorgeous car and one that brought impressive performance from the Ferrari engine. Today, this car is extremely expensive at auction, but considering the price of Ferrari models from the 1960s, the Fiat Dino is a bargain.
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