By on January 5, 2021

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen an imported two-door Fiat on these pages which required some paperwork to get into the country. But it is the first time it’s all been done above board.

Let’s check out this 25-year-old Italian.

Fiat’s Coupé entered production in 1993 and was the first time the company offered a coupe since 1979.  The new model took a very different approach to the most excellent 130 coupes of the 1970s and opted for front-drive and sporty handling over rear-drive and opulence.

The thoroughly Italian two-door was designed by native Ohioan Chris Bangle, a few short years before he went to work at BMW. There was a little Coupé competition between Fiat’s own design team and Pininfarina, and both presented exterior designs to Fiat brass for the new car. Fiat chose the Bangle option, but still gave the interior design nod to Pininfarina. Pininfarina’s exterior design didn’t go to waste though: in 1996 it debuted as the Peugeot 406 Coupe. Fiat’s Coupé came into existence thanks in small part to General Motors. When Cadillac Allanté production was canceled, the factory at Pininfarina suddenly had available capacity. Fiat was ready to fill the space with a car of their own.

Though it was an all-new body, the Type Two platform underneath the Coupé dated to the late Eighties. It was used for many Fiat and Alfa Romeo vehicles, as well as the Lancia Delta. All Coupes used Fiat family engines which ranged in size from 1.8 to 2.0 liters. Cylinder arrangements were of inline-four or inline-five varieties. Top tier engines were the twin cam 2.0-liter I4 and the 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-five. All Coupés were equipped with manuals of either five or six speeds.

Over the years, Fiat made some trim and performance improvements to the Coupé, and eventually updated the interior to look darker and more serious than early run examples. The car hit its peak sales early, with 17,619 in 1994. Sales fell off afterward, and by 1999 it sold just over 6,000 copies a year. 2000 was the Coupé’s last year, and it was cancelled without replacement.

Today’s Rare Ride was listed recently in San Francisco for $13,000, but the listing recently expired. This one in particular has a bit of an identity crisis, with a Pininfarina badge in its grille that doesn’t belong and an Abarth badge on its rear it doesn’t deserve.

[Images: seller]

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17 Comments on “Rare Rides: A 1994 Fiat Coupé, as Legal Immigrant...”


  • avatar
    Syke

    Always loved the look of that car, unfortunately I’m nowhere near the mechanic to keep it in fine repair. If it’s as dependable as my Fiat 500c Abarth was, it shouldn’t be that much effort to keep in fine running condition.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve65

      They replaced it with a similarly styled Spyder sold as the Barchetta. I’d love to have one of each. And if I could afford either, I could afford to have someone else maintain them. Alas, it’s one more on a long bucket list of cars that will only happen if I win the lottery.

  • avatar
    Steve65

    “ listed recently in San Francisco for $13,000, but the listing recently expired”

    The douchebag who is selling it is spamming it all over the country. Shouldn’t be too hard to find another iteration of the listing if you don’t mind doing business with people who open the process by demonstrating that they have no ethics.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Chris Bangle was born in Ohio but raised in Wisconsin, educated in California (and Wisconsin again), and worked in Germany, Italy, California and Italy.

    Thomas Edison was born in Ohio but moved to Michigan at age ~7, was educated in New York, and worked in Canada, Kentucky, New York, and Florida.

    One of Ohio’s two statues at the National Statuary Hall Collection at the U.S. Capitol is a likeness of Thomas Edison [interestingly, appears to be significantly older than age 6]. My fellow Americans, can we deny Chris Bangle, the great Ohioan, this same honor? (We can replace James A. Garfield, who was in office for only 6.5 months.)

    Suggested tourism motto [the current one isn’t great]:
    Ohio: Some of Our Best People Leave As Soon As Possible™

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      Slow your roll there, ToolGuy.

      Proposed motto: “Ohio: The Mother of Presidents* (Seven Republicans and a Whig)™”

      *Well, not as many as Virginia™

      • 0 avatar
        ToolGuy

        “Ohio: Good Luck Folding Our Flag*™”

        *Which is technically a Burgee™

      • 0 avatar
        ToolGuy

        That would be “Six” not Seven – I think – lol*.

        Anyway, Ohio is a lovely state, I have family from there [who moved], and I cherished every moment I spent for over a decade driving the entire length of I-75 through Ohio – over and over. If Ohio ever completes its segment of I-75, we will all thank you. [Seems like it was perpetually under construction for ~26 miles at a stretch.]

        *I was told in school that 3 U.S. Presidents were from my state. Turns out they weren’t *born* here – this makes me a little proud now. :-)

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Ohio’s statues should probably be Neil Armstrong and Jesse Owens.

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      Edison invented by brute force rather than intelligence, took credit for others’ labor, insisted that DC was an acceptable power transmission medium, and electrocuted animals (and paid a man under the table to invent the electric chair) in an attempt to smear Westinghouse’s AC transmission tech.

      The worst thing Bangle did was design the E65 7-series.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Add Chrissie Hynde, of the Pretenders, to the list of Ohio ex-pats. She went back to Ohio and her city was gone.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      Re: National Statuary Hall Collection,

      I guess most of these are destroyed now.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/07/arts/design/us-capitol-art-damage.html

  • avatar
    e46 Touring

    I drove one of these with the inline-5 turbo in Germany in the late 90’s. It was fast, but with atrocious torque steer, reminiscent of Saabs from that same era. The car had a very unique look, I’ll give it that.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    I’m no great fan of Bangle styled cars but I find this attractive. The oblong wheel arches look like the ones on the Qvale Mangusta and a couple of Maserati models. The blunted rear end reminds me of a Bradley GT.
    I don’t think parts are an issue since they are available via mail order.

  • avatar
    ThomasSchiffer

    Don’t even bother. Even in Europe your local Fiat dealership is at a loss when it comes to obtaining spare parts for their cars from this era. And you want to drive this in… North America?

    A friend of mine has a Fiat Barchetta convertible and some of the most basic spare parts are unavailable because Fiat did not take the time to produce spare parts for the future. The club and eBay scene is the only way he can find parts to keep it running.

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