Special Twin: 1974 FIAT twin cam sedan

Cheap econo-box buyers in the U.S. today have choices from the home continent and Asia to pick from.  Noticeably absent are choices from Europe.  Only “German” cheater value brand VW offers anything cheap and even then it can’t really be said to be cheap compared to its Korean competition.  Back in the 70’s buyers could satisfy their Euro econo-box urges with entries from France and Italy. Find this 1974 FIAT twin cam sedan for sale in a secret location in  WA for $2,800 via craigslist.

The Special T or Twin Cam Special was released towards the end of the 124 Sedan’s run in the States.  Initially powered by the 1400cc Lampredi twin cam, in ’73 it was upgraded with the 1600cc twin cam from the FIAT 132.  The legendary FIAT twin cam engine was designed by famed Italian engineer Aurelio Lampredi and boasted such innovations as an alloy head, dual overhead cams and belt driven timing along with a patented valve train where the shims were on top of the tappets vs, under in buckets which allowed adjusting clearance without camshaft removal.  This car runs according to the ad, but you are going to need to source an air cleaner amongst other things.  I’d suggest going factory vs. Pep Boys.

And here’s the shot of the joy-less stick that kills it for most prospective buyers.  The 124 sedan came with a 5 speed do it yourself transmission or 3 speed GM sourced Turbo Hydramatic.  With the slush box, new you were looking at a 0 to 60 mph of about 15 seconds.  43 years later, you will probably need favorable winds and an assist from gravity to repro those stats.

Yabba Dabba Do, you are looking at some welding on the floors (and probably the trunk).  Also, check out the taped in windshield on the lede photo.  More rust.  The ad also notes that in addition to the usual rust spots, there are some unusual spots caused by rodent nests (oh boy, Hantavirus).  If you aren’t familiar with 70’s FIAT rust, the story goes that in exchange for helping AutoVaz set up the Lada factory and licencing the 124 to the Russians as the VAZ-2101, payment was partially made in Russian steel, which contained a high carbon content, leading to the rust problems of the 70’s.

See a better candidate to practice on with your new Harbor Frieght welder? email us here: tips@dailyturismo.com

Gianni is Daily Turismo’s Pacific Northwest correspondent.  He’s in agreement with PhiLOL on the subject of rust.