4k: Spaghetti Western: 1974 Fiat 124 Sport Coupe

The Fiat 124 Sport Coupe pilfered most of the sedan’s components and the Spider’s five-speed manual transmission in the sedan-inspired three-box design. It had a more menacing aura than the doe-eyed Spider, yet offered more versatility and similar performance. This CC-generation 124 has shed its I-beam bumpers but retained the hardy 1.8-liter engine. Lest there be any doubt to its national origins of the rustic (that’s an emotional trigger word for Fiat owners because for a minute there it sounds like you’re saying rust) Italian countryside, it comes with the color palette of an Italian cafe. Find this 1974 Fiat 124 Sport Coupe for sale in Houston, TX for $3,950 via craigslist.

The 1997 Fiat Coupé and this, its rear-drive grandpappy, are the exact height and length. Compared to that newfangled and Bangle’d coupe, this 124 is 125 horsepower weaker (at 92) and 600 lbs lighter (at 2,200). But what if it wasn’t? What if the 1997 Coupé was a carbon copy of the 124? Had Fiat ponied up for a 100-horsepower rear-drive featherweight, it would have beat the S1 Elise to the market by three years and surely inspired competitors. Dreamers will dream.

The 1,753cc four-cylinder has a cross-flow aluminum head and unequal bore center dimensions (a gap-toothed layout with extra space between cylinders two and three) to aid in cooling. As with most engines of the mid-70s, adding horsepower is as simple as bumping the compression ratio and fitting different carbs and exhaust. Equipped as such with a five-speed manual, you could do much worse for a daily driver. You could have a 1997 Fiat Coupé, for instance.

Hailing from New Mexico but listed in Texas, rust should be at a minimum, which gives electrical failure a fair shot at killing the car. It’s priced to rival the Brits, but brings an Italian flair and at least the impression of rain protection thanks to the coupe body. It’s sure to bring that Italian flair (self-immolation, uneven power delivery, more shorts than an Old Navy commercial) to the Western style of driving.

See another affordable Italian? Email us at tips@dailyturismo.com.

PhiLOL actually likes the tuna here, but abhors structural rust. Save the manuals.