1970s / Driven daily / Fiat / Italian

Driven daily: Fiat 127

fiat-127-4Up until last week, we were almost convinced the Fiat 127 was extinct in France. We’ve seen several 127s in Italy, we’ve stumbled upon a couple of SEAT-badged examples in Spain and we almost purchased a 127-based Fiat Fiorino last December, but we hadn’t seen a Fiat 127 in France in literally years.

Extinct is a bit of an exaggeration, but the 127 has become very rare. In fact, there are so few of them left in France that the government groups the 124, the 126, the 127 and the 128 under the same model and reports that 694 examples of all four nameplates are still on the road today.

We were fortunate enough to photograph a second-gen 127 parked next to a church in a small village last week. Seeing the car was not a big surprise because we had heard that it was running around the area from several people, but we had never encountered it before.

A sticker on the trunk lid indicates the 127 was sold new at a Fiat dealership in the city of Perpignan, not far from the Spanish borders and the Pyrenees mountains, but a quick look on Google Maps reveals the dealership has been replaced with what appears to be a roadside restaurant. Today, the 127 is wearing a ten-year old registration number issued in a neighboring department, so how it wound up on the outskirts of Marseille is a bit of an enigma.

fiat-127-8

The 127 has led a long and tiring life, and we’re willing to bet that it was wrecked several years ago. Not only is the front of the car a different shade of green than the back end, the passenger-side fender is wearing a SEAT emblem and the registration number appears to have been drawn in chalk on the bumper, indicating the car was operating without a license plate.

Paint aside, the car has been relatively well rebuilt, all things considered, and we’re glad because seeing a 127 in the metal is a very rare occasion.

10 thoughts on “Driven daily: Fiat 127

  1. Yeah I thought the 4 or 5 door was a SEAT 127 / Fura? Is this 127 wrongly badged or were SEAT built 5 door 127’s available in all of Europe?

  2. I ahve to say that even though here in the UK its one that got away. My mate introduced me to FIATS in the 80’s when he had a string of 70’s 850’s . 127’s and 128’s – sorry thats a bit number heavy Lol – but they were streets ahead of the Avengers. Toledo’s and MK1 Escorts we were all driving – half the size, more interior space, better economy and far better handling – went on to own Panda’s , Uno’s and Punto’s myself – at least there are fewer numbers !!

  3. I have a 5 door 127 in my garden in France. It hasn’t run for a few years and I’m mulling over what to do with it, but it’s definitely badged as a Fiat 127, has four doors, a hatch and a snake’s nest under the bonnet. All documentation states it as a Fiat as well (the car not the snake).

      • Hi Ronan,

        Not sure how to upload pics via the blog, so hopefully you’ll get this email and a selection of pics attached.

        The 127 – it’s a 900 CL – isn’t that bad considering it’s been static for the best part of 15 years. It was my Mum’s but failed its Control Technique so she parked it up and left it. The worst bits are the two back doors; one where it’s been scraped and the other some rust holes appearing by the window and along the bottom. The driver’s side rear tail-light has had a small bump and been bodged with a third party indicator lens, which isn’t pretty. The other side has some holes appearing above the tail lights. It’s all complete though – looks straight, all the doors hang properly, wing mirrors look original and all doors open and shut (with the odd squeak). Unfortunately, the door trim is missing from three of the doors.

        Inside is, on first impression, a bit unsightly, but is all intact with just one tiny rip on the passenger seat and, apart from the driver’s door and roof, the trim and carpets are OK. Just needs a darn good clean up. Actually, the trim on the driver’s door is OK – but the board it’s attached to has warped. The parcel shelf is missing.

        Under the bonnet, there’s quite an accumulation of snail shells and various wildlife/snake debris but there’s a remarkable lack of rust! Again, could do with a good clean out. I’ve obviously not tried starting the engine at all for fear of doing damage. It definitely did run though. Got keys including the petrol cap.

        The handbrake is off but the brakes are solid. I presume it just needs a bit of cylinder unseizing.

        That’s it really – hope the pics are of interest! The car is near Penne D’Agenais – about 70 miles north of Toulouse.

        Regards and all the best, Rich Green. PS. I also have a Citroen Visa Club stored in a friends barn that was also my Mum’s; failed its Control Technique then enjoyed the same retirement as the 127. It’s in very nice condition and has been kept dry for the last 10-12 years. I couldn’t take any pics though as he wasn’t there and the barn was locked up….!

        >

  4. I’m going down in about three weeks so will take some pics then. I’ve not really paid it much attention so don’t know how rusty it is underneath. I’ll let you know when I post the pics and see what you think.

    Loving the website though!

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