Which Coupe Would You Choose, a German GT or Italian Thoroughbred?
The late sixties and early seventies were a golden era for grand touring coupes. If, at the time, you were young, successful, single, and in the market for something with an equal amount of style and sporting cred, the market was overflowing with elegant, fast, luxurious, and exclusive two doors to choose from. This week, we present one of our all-time favorite GT coupes, a lovely E9 BMW, and pitch it against a less well-known but equally worthy Fiat 130—with a Lampredi-designed V6 and Pininfarina styling, it wasn’t miles off from being a Ferrari…
Starting with the Beemer, we really dig the blue-on-blue color combination. Paint is claimed to be in the original color, but was resprayed some years ago, while the blue velour interior is said to be all original—astonishing considering its condition. The seller says there is no rust, and that the car is in excellent cosmetic condition. Transmission is by four-speed manual, somewhat of a rarity as many have been upgraded to five-speeds from newer BMWs. Perhaps the best part of E9s is the cabin—a beautiful dash and an incredible feeling of light and space aided by the thinnest of pillars make every drive a pleasure. Roll down all the windows and, thanks to their pillarless design, you’ll swear you’re in a convertible, that sonorous straight six’s song flooding your and your passengers lucky ears.
And then there was the Fiat. The 130 coupe was introduced in 1971, its sharp-suited style on the very cutting edge, as designers were just starting to move away from the organically-inspired shapes of the preceding decades—typically, most would agree, not a great thing, but the 130 coupe looked utterly fantastic. Equipped with a 3.2 OHC V6 with lineage traceable back to Maranello, it made a healthy 165 HP and loved to rev, with a sound to relish. Suspension was all-independent, with an LSD at the back—indicative of the excellent handling 130s are known for. Where this particular car really wins, though, is with its five speed manual—actually an option over the standard, fun-sapping 3 speed auto. The gorgeous medium blue over Bordeaux hides is also incredibly alluring. We would be remiss if we didn’t mention the driver-operated, remote passenger door opening mechanism, too! It may not be the obvious choice, but that’s why we love this car.
So, which one would you like to see in your garage?
1973 Fiat 130 Pininfarina Coupe
1972 BMW E9 CSi Coupe