You Can Finally Drive The Off-Roader Made To Conquer Italy
Photography courtesy of The Finest
Whether or not we like off-roading here at Petrolicious is not up for debate. We do—it’s some of the most fun you can have on four wheels.
The best way to go off-road is up for debate, however, most often by minds more attuned than ours to the rigors of sustained use in extreme conditions. What’s the most durable 4×4? What’s the best to look at? Easiest to fix? I’ve done a desert race as a co-driver, and have conquered some tough obstacles from Michigan to Moab—and have seen every variety of Ford, Chevrolet, Dodge, Land Rover, Toyota, Jeep, Hummer—and others—along the way.
But not a Fiat Campagnola.
While the Land Rover crowd is used to seeing the words “grey market” in classified ads, the Fiat 4×4 community is entirely an import-only affair, as the Campagnola was never officially exported to the U.S. And though it shares a number of parts with Fiat passenger cars, don’t judge its size on what you see in photos: this is a big off-road wagon. Standing about 6-1/2 feet tall, 12-1/2 feet long, 5 feet wide, with a specified weight of around 3,800 lbs, it’s every bit the Italian Land Rover Defender you dreamed about to tow your, say, Abarth 595 or ’60s Fiat Dino Coupé…slowly.
Like other simple, easy-to-operate 4x4s, these primarily found service with military, agriculture, industrial, and commercial clients; this fetching red example you see here was delivered new to the Fuoco Volontari di Cimego—the Cimego volunteer fire department, where it was in service until 2009. Said to wear its original paint and interior thanks to routine maintenance and continuous upkeep, the new online auction house The Finest has sourced one of the most mint examples you’ll see anywhere.
To start, the truck has covered just 12,740 kilometers in its life, barely break-in mileage for most vehicles. It’s had three owners from new—the first was the fire department, with two dealer/collectors after that.
So what’s under the hood? This is the second generation of the Campagnola, with its mechanicals dictated by toughness and nothing else. Powered by a gasoline-fed 2.0-litre 4-cylinder (largely) from the Fiat 132, it was rated at 80 horsepower. With so little on tap, if you’ve got to make a getaway, head for the closest stream: it’ll apparently drive just fine if submerged in 2 feet of water.
This one is probably too nice for that, but it should be driven. Its novel suspension uses six identical MacPherson struts, not only for ease of service but also for ride quality: over a similar off-roader, Fiat’s approach is said to offer a better ride on normal roads.
–Delivered new to a volunteer fire department in Italy
~80 horsepower inline 4-cylinder engine with single carburetor and side-mounted single camshaft. Front and rear drum brakes. Front and rear independent MacPherson strut suspension. Wheelbase: 90.6 in.
–Complete with documents to confirm history
Chassis no.: ZFA1107A005009366