FIAT 126 From £698
Cheeky and economical, the Fiat 126 uses the air-cooled twin-cylinder engine of the famous 500 but with cylinders enlarged to bring it up to 594 c.c. Power is increased to 23 b.h.p. (DIN), and the chunky little car really will keep up with modern-day traffic. Although it measures only 10ft. 1½ins. from bumper to bumper, the 126 is much roomier than the 500, but enthusiasts for the latter will mourn the passing of the roll-back sun-roof. The 126 is air-cooled, and has rear wheel drive. The ventilation system is sophisticated, and the gearbox has synchromesh which the 500 hadn't!
FIAT 127 3-DOOR From £927
A newcomer last year, this useful near-estate version of the popular small four-cylinder front-drive Fiat model, is currently available in standard and de Luxe form. The latter model has reclining front seats and opening rear windows, but in basis both the 127 three-door saloons have a roomy body with a lift-up rear window panel and fold-flat rear seat which provide noteworthy baggage or goods carrying capacity. The transverse 903 c.c. engine occupies only 20 per cent of the vehicle space - the rest is for people and luggage. The two-door saloon model stays in production.
FIAT 128 COUPÉ 1100SL: £1,392 1300SL: £1,432
Fiat's neat front-drive sports coupé uses the familiar 128 overhead camshaft engine, set transversely at the front, to provide a zestful performance. The 128 Coupé is a 2+2, available in Britain in 'SL' (de Luxe) form only, with the choice of 1100 c.c. (64 b.h.p.) or 1300 c.c. (75 b.h.p.) engines. Servo-assisted brakes are standard, doors are wide to permit easy access to front and rear of car, and the luggage boot is large. The front-wheel drive and low-build of the 128 Coupé contribute to the high cornering power, and the seats are shaped to keep occupants in place during such manoeuvres.
FIAT 124 SPECIAL T £1,406
With a 1.6-litre twin overhead camshaft engine in the familiar 124 unitary body, the Special T has an unusually lively performance for a four-door saloon of family aspect. The motor, with its belt-driven overhead camshafts, is a derivative of the very fast 124 Sport Coupe engines, and its maximum speed is very near 100 m.p.h. - should you be in Italy! Unlike many Fiat models, the Special T has its engine mounted longitudinally at the front, where it drives the rear wheels. The interior is lavishly equipped with cloth contact surfaces on seats.
FIAT 132 SPECIAL 1600S: £1,624; 1800S: £1,697
Available as three different models with the choice of 1600 or 1800 c.c. engines, the 132 is the medium 'upper-class' saloon from the famous Italian manufacturer. The 1600 comes with 98 b.h.p. overhead camshaft engine, and the 1600S has an identical motor but the superior trim and equipment of the 105 b.h.p. 1800 model. The four-door bodywork is roomy, and the upholstery is luxurious on all models. Standard transmission is a five-speed manual gearbox, but a three-speed fully automatic is an optional extra. The 132s are notable for quiet, high-speed cruising.