Your Cars: A Groovy Fiat 128

Erick Navetta is currently building his 1974 Fiat 128 for his wife. As he writes in the first post of his 23-page build thread on our message board, “Because what I really needed was another project.”

Before coming into their lives, the Fiat had been sitting-for a while. “The previous owner bought the car June 1st, 1990,” he explains. “We took delivery 25 years later, to the day! It was parked in 1996 after the head gasket popped and was put into storage until last week.”

Despite the car’s suspended animation, Erick reports that the $800 purchase had aged well. First order of business: replacing some rusty sheet metal and filling in the side marker lights. The tail end was also backdated, meaning the extra lights and reflectors tacked on over the years had to go. The resulting holes needed to be filled, too.

I’m not going to lie,” he posted, “I substitute VW parts pretty much whenever possible.” The front strut tubes, for example, came from an A1-chassis Rabbit. Erick topped them with custom camber plates.

More upgrades: The steelies came from a new Fiat 500, while a Yugo donated its injected, 1.5-liter engine to the project. A MegaSquirt unit calls the shots.

Paint is still to come, however, as reported in an August 7 post last year: “Mike the kinda sketchy painter is officially in jail and has been evicted from the compound.”

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Comments
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ssswitch
ssswitch HalfDork
3/29/16 10:46 a.m.

Well deserved article, the 128 is one of the coolest cars on the forums.

Stefan (Not Bruce)
Stefan (Not Bruce) MegaDork
3/29/16 11:22 a.m.
"We cook delivery 25 years later, to the day! It was parked in 1996 after the head gasket popped and was put into storage until last week."

Should be:

"We took delivery 25 years later, to the day! It was parked in 1996 after the head gasket popped and was put into storage until last week."

Great article and well-deserved. Now how about some updates, Mr. Burrito? :)

EvanB
EvanB UltimaDork
3/29/16 12:35 p.m.

In reply to Stefan (Not Bruce):

Also:

Erick Navetta is currently building chis 1974 Fiat 128 for his wife

to

Erick Navetta is currently building his 1974 Fiat 128 for his wife
Ed Higginbotham
Ed Higginbotham Associate Editor
3/29/16 12:59 p.m.

Sorry about the added c's, guys. Not sure what happened between copying from the pdf and pasting here.

Burrito
Burrito Dork
3/29/16 2:21 p.m.
Stefan (Not Bruce) wrote: Great article and well-deserved. Now how about some updates, Mr. Burrito? :)

Hang on just a few more weeks, Stefan.

Everything of mine is moved out of the rental shop, Vault 6, and is unceremoniously piled up around the house right now. I've gotta get everything organized, sell off unnecessary items, and get both the garage and the basement workshop squared away before I get to play Super Happy Funtime Car Modifying again.

End of an era for me right here.

I've got a lot still coming on this, the 850 Coupe, and another yet-to-be-discussed project that I think you guys will like.

Burrito
Burrito Dork
3/29/16 2:23 p.m.

Oh, and thanks for the love, GRM Staff. It feels really good to have someone pick you out of the herd and say "this guy's work is worth sharing". My wife and I appreciate it very much!

850Combat
850Combat Reader
4/25/16 12:46 p.m.

What a great little car it will be when finished.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
4/25/16 12:47 p.m.
Burrito wrote: Oh, and thanks for the love, GRM Staff. It feels really good to have someone pick you out of the herd and say "this guy's work is worth sharing". My wife and I appreciate it very much!

Our pleasure. It's a cool story that needed to be shared.

mikedd969
mikedd969 New Reader
2/9/17 3:27 p.m.

Awesome. I have a soft spot for 1970's Fiats. Back in the late 80's I lived in Sicily. I owned a lot of cars during my 2 years there, many were memorable, but my absolute favorite was a crappy-beige 1974 124 Coupe with the 1756cc engine. The body was rough, the interior was worse but that sweet twin-cam 4-banger made up for all that. I swapped in dual Weber 44IDF carbs and some hotter camshafts (the specs escape me, it was a long time ago.....). The muffler, however it came from the factory was pretty much a straight thru unit by that time. The memory of the sounds that thing made still brings a smile to my face. What a great little beater car to horse up and down those twisty mountain roads. Not a car for anyone who is afraid of a little (ok a lot) of constant maintenance and tweaking, but what a joy it was to own and drive.

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