We photographed the Fiat 238 pictured below on a quick trip to the Alps a couple of weeks ago. It’s sitting almost right in the middle of a small village that we’ve driven through countless times over the past few years but we didn’t notice it until we spent the night in a nearby hotel.
The 238’s registration number was issued in 1980, meaning that it’s not original. The village that it’s in is just a stone’s throw away from the Italian border so it’s not too far-fetched to speculate that it spent the first few years of its life in its home country. A sticker on the passenger side of the van indicates that it was used to deliver butane / propane bottles at one point in its life.
238s are few and far between, from memory this is only the second abandoned example that we’ve ever found. It’s in better shape than the first one but it’s still far gone, dozens of harsh winters have taken their toll on the body and literally every single panel is rusted through in at least one spot. The windshield is missing so we can’t tell when it was last on the road.
The 238 was introduced in 1967. Like we mentioned yesterday, early models were fitted with a transversally-mounted 1.2-liter four-cylinder engine that spun the front wheels via a four-speed manual transmission, a setup borrowed directly from the Autobianchi Primula. A 1.4-liter sourced from the Autobianchi A111 was offered later in the production run, and the entire 238 lineup was given a mild facelift that brought a plastic radiator grille in 1977. Production ended in 1983.