The coupes from the '60s and '70s have a special place in the hearts of classic car enthusiasts. Besides the fervent muscle car production that took place in the USA, on the other side of the world, some Italian companies, such as Ferrari and Lamborghini, would introduce some memorable coupes and sports cars to the world with significant modern technologies, in terms of design and mechanics.
But since almost everybody's dream is to drive a sporty and good-looking coupe, during that time in Italy there have been manufacturers that produced some really nice models that came with a more affordable price tag. Unfortunately, some of those cars have been underrated: most of the time because bigger and more performing coupes would prevail. Here are some stunning Italian coupes that deserve to be re-evaluated.
8 The Fiat 850 Sport Coupe
The Fiat 850 Coupé is a sports car model produced between 1965 and 1971. The car was first packing a tiny 843cc engine with 47hp. Thanks to its lightweight, it still managed a top speed of 84 mph. This is a 850 Sport version: the engine is slightly bigger (900cc) which helps a little.
The model was very popular in Italy and considered an entry-level coupe. Tiny and with a pleasant look, this coupe was eclipsed by better-performing coupes, such as the Spider version of the Fiat 850.
7 The Fiat 124 Sport Coupé
Presented in 1967, the Sport version of the Fiat 124 featured positive specifics: passengers would enjoy the 2 + 2 configuration with comfortable rear seats, and the driver enjoyed a double camshaft engine with a double Weber carburetor. The car also offered great handling and four-wheel disc brakes.
Some owners of the car noticed a leak due to lack of sealing. Although the low weight of only 900kg and a 1.4L engine with max power 90 hp, sports car drivers would prefer the Abarth 124, prepared for rally races and with more performance features.
6 The Alfa Romeo Giulia Junior 1300
Born as a cheaper version of the Giulia Sprint GT 1600, the Alfa Romeo Giulia Junior 1300 became very popular in Italy during the '70s for obvious reasons, such as cost of purchase and maintenance.
The GT Junior was a true sports car, with all the qualities of the models with greater power and displacement such as the Sprint GT from which it derived. But yes, once again, collectors and the classic cars' market would favor the bigger 1.6L version or the 2.0L GTA edition.
5 The 1969 Lancia Flavia Coupe
At the 1969 Geneva Motor Show, the Lancia coupé was presented in its second version, with more squared lines and a new interior. The engine is also new, increased to 2 liters and 115hp. Six months later, the 2000i version followed, with Kugelfischer mechanical injection and 124hp.
This stunning coupe was never considered as a natural-born sports car, but rather a fast long-distance GT, appreciated for its driving pleasure provided by the combination of the 4-cylinder boxer engine and low center of gravity.
4 The Fiat Dino
This Fiat coupe is equipped with a Ferrari engine. In fact, the Dino was born from an agreement between Fiat and the more prestigious company from Maranello. So, alongside the more expensive Ferrari Dino 206 GTs, the production of more affordable versions of the Fiat brand was decided.
Actually, the technical sharing between the Ferrari and FIAT "Dino" was limited to the V6 engine. The aluminum crankcase of the V6 suffered from temperature changes, which tended to deform the cylinder liners. The power output of 160HP made this car nervous and not the easiest to control.
3 1970-1973 Lancia Fulvia
The Lancia Fulvia coupe was introduced in 1965, and it immediately became successful for its harmonious lines and for the numerous victories in rally races. This is the second edition of the car, introduced in 1970. Since Lancia had been acquired by Fiat, which did not like the high production costs of the Lancia models, this second-generation Lancia Fulvia Coupe presents some differences.
Although Fiat introduced the 5-speed transmission on the Fulvia Coupe, as well as improvements for the brakes and suspension, the interior of the car would present poorer materials and more plastic components. Not the collectors' first choice, they would prefer the HF 1.6L version or the first generation. This is still a stunning example of a tiny, classic, and sport-oriented Italian coupe.
2 The Fiat 130 Coupe
Introduced in 1971, the Fiat 130 Coupe was brought to life by the pen of Pininfarina, an iconic Italian designer. The 130 Coupe presented a squared and marked line: the bodywork was certainly much more modern than the BMW or Mercedes-Benz competitors of the time.
Under the long hood, there was a quite uncommon 165 hp 3.2-liter V6 designed by Ferrari engineer Aurelio Lampredi. Italian cars used for daily driving duties would usually pack a 1.3L-1.6L engine, not a massive beast like this. The car also presented fine interiors with wooden inlays and velvet fabric seats and the automatic transmission was optional. The car didn't receive the love it deserved because of the expensive and demanding engine. The fuel economy was highly affected and there was a widespread belief that Fiat couldn't compete with Mercedes or BMW when it came to making high-end vehicles.
1 The Alfa Romeo Montreal
Designed by Bertone, the Alfa Romeo Montreal was presented in 1970 at the Geneva Motor Show, and it owes its name to the prototype introduced in Montreal in 1967 during the International EXPO 67. Claiming to be "maximum aspiration achievable by man in terms of automobile" this gorgeous coupe is packing a 2.6L V8 engine with 130Hp.
Criticized by the Italian magazines for its exaggerated chrome parts and "too showy and aggressive lines," we still don't understand why Italians would complain so much about it, this stunning coupe has been underrated from the beginning. Also, the consistent delays in commercializing the model meant sports car buyers would go for a different option.