Lost Compact: 1982 Fiat Strada

This car has just about everything you want to avoid in a old used car: rust, non-original engine, non-running, little maintenance history, five different previous owners, and no title.

Despite the many strikes against it, this Fiat is a rare car in the U.S. and still deserves some attention.

The name Strada was only given in North America. Elsewhere, it was the Ritmo, a compact front-engine, front-wheel drive car produced from 1978-1988. It seemed like it was Italy's answer to the Volkswagen Rabbit, though much less good looking.

The Strada was only sold in the U.S. from 1979-1982. It featured the same puny 1.5-litre engine as in the Fiat X1/9 that produced a mere 69 horsepower. At least the mid-engine X1/9 handled well.

The seller lists all of the issues they know of with the vehicle. They start by saying it would be good for "some parts". They say they acquired it in 2003 and has essentially been sitting since then. They say the engine is not original because it's from an X1/9, but it makes no difference because the Strada had the same engine as the X1/9. It also makes no difference because the car doesn't even run.

What do you do with something like this? Is it worth the cost of repairs? And then there is the issue of documentation. You'd have to go on a bill of sale alone. Since every state has different title requirements, you could run into trouble registering this vehicle.

Since these cars had a poor reputation in the U.S. and never sold well, it's perhaps fitting to find one in such all around poor status.

Still, somewhere, a foreign econobox collector's heart is racing.

Find it here on ebay in Clarkston, Georgia, with no bids and no reserve starting at $500.


  1. "Somewhere, a foreign econobox collector's heart is racing." Quote of the week.

    1. Haha well you gotta have a sense of humor on here sometimes!

      Larry, do you have email? Send me a message. I need your advice on a second hand BMW I am considering purchasing.

    2. I can't guarantee anything I say will be useful, but I'll give it a go. I guess I send a message via the "contact" email above?