1976 Fiat Mirafiori 131S

When discussing vehicle styling, a whole lot of terms tend to get thrown around; organic, retro, streamlined, you name it. Here is the epitome of another term, “three box design.” The Fiat 131. Unveiled at the Turin Motor Show in 1974, this would be one of Fiat’s most successful models well into the 1980s, with over 1.5 million produced in Italy, not including an additional 400,000 manufactured under the “Seat” brand. This 131 employed a fairly conventional front engine/rear drive layout with a solid live rear axle. In 1978, a minor facelift was carried out and new twin cam four cylinder engines were introduced. Few 131s exist stateside these days and ones that do are often overcome by rust. Here is an early 131S sedan with an upgraded 2.0 liter engine, ignition system and a more recent repaint.

1976 Fiat Mirafiori 131S

It would be rare to find one of these in this type of solid, rust-free condition anywhere. The body and engine bay has been repainted with the original Arencio Scuro color (Dark Orange). I removed the stock 1800 engine (along with the air conditioner and all emission control components) and replaced it with a rebuilt Fiat 2-liter engine and upgraded to a Weber 34 ADFA carburetor. I replaced the stock air cleaner with a compact & easy breathing K&N unit. I recently installed a Compu-Tronix performance ignition system from Allisons Automotive. Check out the following link for information about this: http://www.allisonsautomotive.com/products.html#electrical … no more distributor rotors, heat damaged seals and vacuum advances to wear out on the hot exhaust side of the engine bay. I have not made any performance enhancements to the engine. The interior was nicely reupholstered and is in excellent condition with absolutely no signs of wear. The dash is perfect with no cracks. I believe the AM/FM cassette radio is what came with the car when it was new and it still works. I replaced the speakers in the doors a couple of years ago. The automatic transmission features the typical Fiat sport shift gate and works smoothly with no issues. Brake service has been performed on all fours. Stock wheels have been upgraded with refinished 14 inch Speedlines (including a matching full spare) as found on the late model Spiders / Pininfarinas. New Pirelli P6 tires are on those wheels.

1) Speedometer needle is a little jumpy at low speeds and reads approximately 10 – 15 miles high.
2) The odometer currently reads just over 59,000 as of the date of this listing. It is probably not accurate – title reads exempt. Who knows/cares?
3) I removed the clock from the instrument cluster because it was inaccurate and making a constant irritating noise.
4) The engine temp gauge recently stopped working. I have a replacement you can install.
5) The rear view mirror day/night adjustment tab is broken. I tie-strapped it in place and an easy adjustment of the mirror with your hand makes it work perfectly.
6) Exterior passenger side has three small paint dings.

This not a fixer-upper. It is truly a collector car that drives great and can be used as a daily driver right now. It is not a concours show vehicle (although close) and requires the owner to give it the type of simple maintenance consistent with any car from its era. The car is over 35 years old and is a fine example of a well maintained part of classic Fiat USA history. I reserve the right to end the auction early if I start to feel guilty about selling it.

This is certainly not the most desirable classic Italian car, but it’s an important one for me, as I was brought home from the hospital in my mom’s 1978 Mirafiori 131S two door. Her example was a 3 speed automatic like this four door. Ironically, as the transmission was built by GM, you would have thought it would be the one item on the car that wouldn’t have a tendency to act up, but unfortunately the transmission case was cracked from new and was a troublesome gearbox as a result. Still, in pale yellow, it was a handsome looking car and I remember the front seats being very comfortable. Ultimately that car gave way to a 1983 Honda Accord hatchback with a 5 speed manual which proved to be an infinitely better piece of engineering. I wouldn’t be surprised if bidding gets up to around $5,000 for this rare beast, but anything more would be a bit outrageous, in my opinion.

-Paul

Posted under: Fiat, Modern Classic
Dated: Feb 11 2012

5 Comments

  1. Larry says:

    Is it strange that I’ve always liked this simple, clean “three box design”? I do. The color combo is classic 70’s too. If not for the automatic, this would be difficult to resist.

  2. I have the same car. Same color and it is rust free. It is nice to see that their is another one out there. I have been a
    fiat enthusiast sonce the early 70’s. I worked at European Motors in Tacoma Washington for 14 years.

  3. billy says:

    my father-n-law has a 76 131s 2 door…he’s been looking for a replacement for the body…anyone out there that knows of one…please email me pics and location….billbo1421@yahoo.com

  4. Tj says:

    Hans-
    Your 131 is awesome!

  5. justin efrie says:

    My sister painted her Mirafiori 131S a soft-colored Mercedes olive when she was stationed in Pearl Harbor. She brought the car back home and her husband used it as a TRADE IN (idiot!). The car was bought by a dealer in Western New York (Buffalo, NY), I believe, and we have been searching for the car ever since. If anyone knows the whereabouts of this car. Let me know…would love to buy it back for her.