It's 1972 and you need a cheap new family car right now. Fiat 128!

After the cross-country move in which the family Chevy outpost suffered the rollover, this 128 got my family back upon wheelsIn late December of 1972, not long after Richard Nixon pounded the crap out of George McGovern as well as the final Apollo lunar mission took place, my relatives decided to pack up as well as move from Minneapolis to the San Francisco Bay Area. This was some-more or less the spur-of-the-moment decision triggered by the California visit featuring the 100-degree Fahrenheit disproportion in outside temperatures between the dual places. They give up their jobs, sold the house, sold their cars, bought the mint 1973 Chevrolet Beauville van, as well as we all headed west. I was six years old.The outpost strike black ice as well as flipped over near Battle Mountain, Nevada. Nobody was hurt, as well as the Nevada Highway Patrol gave us the ride to the Reno airport, but there was the complaint when we reached the brand new home in California: no wheels, as well as thus no approach to hunt for jobs in the screwed-without-a-car Golden State. The Beauville would be fixed by the insurance association as well as delivered months later, but in the meantime my relatives needed the approach to get around. The solution: head over to J. Dunn Imports in Walnut Creek as well as buy the span of mint Fiat 128 sedans! This was the single of the cheapest 1973-model cars you could buy in America. Photo by Judy Greden I'd like to say which these efficient little sedans were good cars, but they fell detached flattering fast (in spite of their beautiful engine sounds); the yellow the single lasted until about 1975 as well as the green the single limped upon to 1977. However, they did get the job done, fit dual adults as well as three kids only fine, as well as their good fuel economy proved to be the godsend when the Arabs shut off the oil spigot the year later. The main thing the 128s had going for them, though, was which they were incredibly cheap, something which an industrial-equipment salesman as well as the nurse could afford to buy while between jobs as well as raising three kids. The 1973 Fiat 128 four-door sedan had an MSRP of only $2,299, versus $2,499 for the 1973 Super Beetle (which had only dual doors as well as the distant some-more primitive design, even considering the snazzy McPherson strut front suspension). Of course, the 1973 Civic hatchback (a distant higher machine, despite the lack of the four-door chronicle during which time) was only $2,250, but during which time Honda was well well known by most Americans as the motorcycle manufacturer as well as Honda cars were yet to be taken seriously. Not most photos of the Martin family Fiats exist. Photo by Judy Greden In fact, there were very couple of choices for four-door cars cheaper than the Fiat 128 in the United States during this time. You could get the stripper '73 Chevrolet Nova sedan for $2,407 or the '73 Plymouth Valiant sedan for $2,447, so the price disproportion versus the 128 was quite significant. If you were the masochist, you could pick up the brand new Plymouth-badged Hillman Avenger (known as the Cricket) for $2,017; the most better Mitsubishi-based '73 Dodge Colt sedan went for $2,437, but those Chrysler-badged import cars were old-fashioned front-engine/rear-drive machines with nowhere near the interior space of the 128. The front-wheel-drive, Mini-cousin Austin America would have been available for the mere $1,985 ('72 was the last model year British Leyland attempted to sell the ADO16 in the United States), but the Fiat was most some-more the well well known quantity. So, most of my first years as the brand new Californian was spent in breakdown-prone-yet-spirited Italian machinery. See, even Enzo Ferrari drove one!

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