We can add this vehicle to the DTW collection of ashtray rarities.
There are not so many of these cars hanging around and good one costs around €17,000 these days. The styling, by Paolo Martin at Pininfarina, is something of a legend. He also handled the interior, sprucing up the design based on the 130 saloon. And in turn Fiat carried these improvements back to the saloon (which already had a very fine interior).
The front ashtray is exactly as per the saloon: a flip over type and it’s well situated for laid-back smoking on that long night drive from Dijon to Lucerne, the radio humming quietly and the boot stocked with mustard. You really can dream when sitting in a car like this and it is for that reason it commands the price it does. Anyone can stare at the exterior but few get to enjoy a vehicle with an interior as sumptuous as this one: The orange velour, chrome, high-quality trim everywhere.
How much does such sybarism cost? Less than you think, less than it should. Frankly, €17,000 is a ridiculously low price for a car that has far more style than a Ferrari and which allows you to carry your friends as well. And lucky are those friends who sit in the rear of the car. I gingerly opened the door (it’s long), pulled a lever to tilt the front seat-back forward and I sat into the orange velvet seats. Getting in there did not require an inelegant motion. And once there you feel ensconced yet not constrained.
Paolo Martin’s centre armrest is broad, like a sofa’s and the ashtrays are easy to open with the flick of a thumb. These ones had a well-oiled action you’d expect in something from Crewe. Quite honestly, I’d be happy to let someone else do the driving so lovely is the atmosphere and physical arrangement of this car, front and back.
é As soon as one sits there one understands why Martin Buckley has been trumpeting the vehicle since the late 80’s. Bearing this in mind, modern coupe interiors are simply rubbish and they don’t ask one to be driven anywhere at all. I would rather take a train if given the choice between an A7 or Mercedes CLK or rail. But train versus 130 coupe? The coupe wins because there’s those succulent ashtrays and the prospect of stylish cross-continental travel with a cigar and a crate of Maille in the boot.