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Fiat 131 and Mirafiori (1974 - 1984)

Last updated 6 April 2013

Italian Cortina or Marina rival that's dynamically leagues ahead of the opposition
Survivors even in Italy are almost non-existent
were produced
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The Fiat 131 was a well-designed and engineered replacement for the 124. It was sold in the UK as the Mirafiori - which was the name of its factory. Conventionally engineered with rear-wheel drive and a range of single- and twin-cam engines, the 131 was perfectly conceived for the Cortina/Cavalier market. Entry level was the 1.4-litre, with the two biggest sellers being the 1.6-litre version. In 1978, the range was facelifted and the Supermirafiori was phased in. It had a very desirable specification for its day - a 1.6-litre twin-cam engine and five-speed gearbox stacked up well compared with the typical Morris Marina.

It was a huge seller in Italy, with close to two million units sold, but was mainly overlooked elsewhere. Facelifted in 1982, when the Supermirafiori was newly offered with the 2.0-litre twin-cam shared with the legendary 131 TC, albeit in a softer state of tune. Desirable today, but largely on account of its endangered species status.