The Fiat Type 175 Coupé had flame surfacing, character lines on character lines, cuts, scallops, recessed taillights, and a processed (prolapsed? Don’t think about it) fuel filler cap. Whether all the doo-dads intended to complement or distract from the vehicle’s odd proportions is anyone’s guess. However, at 22 years after the car’s initial release, I can confidently say that the whole package has aged like Erkel glasses. But this ugly duckling is a rare bird in these parts, so here it is: a 1997 Fiat Coupé 20v Turbo for sale here on eBay in Buffalo, NY for $10,999 buy-it-now with five days to go via eBay.
Styling came from the pen of Fiat’s Chris Bangle, of later BMW infamy. Pininfarina was put in charge of interior design, which is like signing Ndamakong Suh to your floor hockey team and making him your water boy. It’s a misappropriation of talent, not to mention a sure way to end up with a bunch of smashed-up water bottles.
Initially available with a four-cylinder engine in naturally aspirated or turbocharged form, the Coupé gained a five-cylinder turbo in 1996. As a 1997 model, this car has that 20v powerplant, but is a year off from the six-speed manual introduced in 1998. A five-speed is good enough to move this Coupé to 60 in just under six seconds, eclipsing the quarter mile in about 14.7. That is, if the Viscodrive limited-slip differential can harness all 217 horses and 230 lb-ft of torque. Stateside, front-drive contemporaries such as the Volkswagen Corrado VR6 and Acura Integra Type-R only managed 190 and 195 horsepower, respectively, even if they both undercut the Coupé’s 2,888-lb curb weight.
With just under 32,000 miles, the Coupé’s condition is significantly fresher than its looks. It was purchased by a collector who says it originated in Japan, which is strange given its steering wheel location. Besides surface corrosion on the brake rotors and allegedly sticky interior pieces, this import is ready to torque-steer you around the States with, uh, style.
See a more attractive Fiat for cheap? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.