From 1967 to 1972 Fiat sold the 125 and, according to Wikipedia, it combined saloon car space with sports car performance.
This formula could also be found in the 1966 BMW 1602/2002 and 1962 Alfa Romeo Giulia. What might distinguish the 125 from these might be that it offered these characteristics in a cheaper package than Alfa or BMW. It certainly had more doors than the 2002 and it had more space than the Alfa Romeo.
Distinguishing it further is that fact it’s a great deal rarer now than its sports saloon cousins from Milan and Munich. This is the first one I can remember seeing in very many years, if I have indeed ever seen one at all. It’s a remarkably tidy bit of work, no? While it conforms to the 1960’s format of the styled shoe-box, there are inflections and nuances that lift it above banality. The front wing leans forward in a manner not dissimilar to a 1965 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow or ’63 Riviera.
The C-pillar meets the rear wing with a pleasing chrome flourish and a confident little air-vent. The chrome strips along the sill and wheel arches and along the coach-line also give the car a bit of jewelry and, in comparison with plain fare from Opel and Ford of the time, it suggests a higher level of quality than you’d expect. The interior is also distinctly more lavish than the Opel and Fords with which it competed. I saw a 60’s Rekord yesterday and it didn’t strike the same note of quality, being far more trans-Atlantic and superficial on the inside.
Mechanically, the 125 is a mix of the 1500 and the contemporary 124, its predecessor and junior brother respectively. The styling conveys a simpler message than the Americanesque 1500 while being more ornate than the 124, so it updated the 1500 formula and helped it blend in with its showroom peers at Fiat dealers. Honest John gives the car credit for its performance and also can’t resist noting its resemblance to derivatives from Poland and Russia. For me, the similarities are at too high a level, in the way a horse is like a cow if leg-count is your only criterion.
Rust killed most of them and the Fiat badge meant there exists little enthusiasm to help owners overcome the problems of running a car this age. Now I think of it, I saw none in Italy recently. That said, I’ve seen no 2002s in Germany (where I am today).
If you want to find out more you’ll need to do some shopping on eBay for a period review.