Saturday, March 29, 2014

1k: Doppio Espresso: 1981 Fiat Strada

Ask any Berkeley graduate (or flunky) their favorite college coffee spot and they will invariably mention Cafe Strada on the southside of campus.  The coffee is decent, seating is limited, decor is ghetto but somehow you keep coming back for more.  Incoming sorority pledges who haven't hit the freshman fifteen yet will rave about Strada's bianca mochas, until they get fat, and then they will complain about being fat.  Anyway, Strada offers minimal comfort, decent pep and dilapidated surroundings...much like this 1981 Fiat Strada offered for $1,000 in Wenatchee, WA via craigslist. Tip from Gianni B.

If a Ferrari Dino is a 30 year old aged single malt scotch and Volvo P1800 is a craft brew beer, then the Fiat Strada qualifies as a simple cup of Italian espresso.  It isn't as reliable as your CRX (cup of drip coffee) or as powerful as a Neon SRT-4 (Monster Energy). The Srada is driven with an extended pinky and you smile through the bitterness, all the while knowing you are getting the fuel economy of a Prius (diet Coke) in a car designed by Bertone.

Dripping foamy brown fluid all over your driveway isn't a busted pressure vessel from a macchina per caffè espresso, but a 1.5 liter inline-4 borrowed from the Fiat X1/9 and rated at 69 horsepower.   The US badged Strada is actually called the Ritmo in the rest of the world and borrows mechanical bits from the 128 sedan. 

This Strada may have a dilapidated interior that looks like the inside of a Senior Chief's favorite coffee mug, but it does have three pedals and five forward gears. It is unfortunate that rust is bubbling all over the surface like a fine crema on your espresso. 

See another car that would look great filled with college professors or students?


  1. Would love to know the story behind the steering wheel spoke wear. A dog chewing on it maybe?

  2. Something tells me that stubby screwdriver on the dash is the ignition key.

  3. Oh gifted scribe...I praise and thank thee for my first and heartiest laugh of the day.

  4. Don't see these for good reason not sure that shorty in the dash is for the key or part of the FIAT everyday repair kit.

  5. Will most of the current 500's end up like this??


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