Forza Beige: 1978 FIAT 131 Mirafiori Wagon

When I started this post I was looking for a chrome bumper 124 Spider to contrast with the (disappointingly hideous) Fiata and I stumbled upon this:  Behold, the beige unicorn!  No way I could not post this.  I can’t remember the last time I saw a 131, let alone a wagon.  I’m at a loss for words.  Find this 1978 FIAT 131 Mirafiori Wagon for sale in Santa Anna, CA for $6,000 via craigslist.

The 131 was introduced by FIAT at the 1974 Turin Motor Show as the replacement for the 124 series cars.  The 131 came in two and four door sedans and a wagon.  It was given the nickname “Mirafiori” after the factory it was built at in a suburb of Turin.  The 131 was sold as the 131 in the U.S. from 1975 – 1978 and was restyled for 1979 and renamed the Brava.  The Brava was sold up until FIAT limped away from the US market in 1981 with its tail between its legs.  Production of the 131 ended for good in 1984.

The first series U.S. 131’s were powered by a 1.8 liter single overhead cam 4 pot engine wheezing out 86 hp and driving the rear wheels.  Our ad car is equipped with the GM-sourced 3 speed auto-tragic unfortunately.  Seems like there is an unwritten rule in the universe that old, oddball survivors can only come with automatics.  But hey, the interior looks to be in good shape and the ad says the car only has 70K miles on it.  Would be nice to have a couple more interior shots thought, so one could see if the owner’s fox terrier has eaten the back seat.

The ad claims that this is the only 131 wagon in all of California.  Not sure how you back up that claim, but it’s probably accurate.  I certainly can’t remember the last time I’ve seen one, even at Concorso Italiano.  The ad mentions a rebuilt carburetor, new starter, new battery, new wheels and tires, new stereo with some sort of blue teeth, new rack and pinion, new fuel pump, new wire (I’m assuming plug wires, or maybe just wires in general?).  Typical stuff to keep a 37 year old Tony alive.

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Gianni is DT’s Pacific Northwest correspondent.  He’s been an Italian car aficionado since his older brother bought a new FIAT 124 Spider in 1973.