The FIAT 125

Apart from the original Italian versions presented here, the FIAt 125 was sold in numerous variations worldwide – and built in all corners of the world!

Without any claim to completeness: Beside Italy, 125er production facilities were located in Poland, Yugoslavia, Argentina, Chile, Egypt, Morocco and Peru, apart from 125er parts, which were also used in the Russian Lada’s and Spanish SEAT’s (at that time still part of the Fiat group).

Latin America

Initially, the FIAT 1600 was produced from 1969 in Argentina, with a body similar to the Polski FIAT 125p, but with a displacement-increased engine of the FIAT 1500 and a power of 88 hp. The FIAT 125, which was then assembled in Argentina from 1972, was almost identical to the Italian original, as far as I know. There was also the “normal” and the “Special” version and the same DOHC engines like in Italy were used.

Most of the latin-american vehicles are from Argentine production, but vehicles with the appearance of the 1971 125 special facelift were also assembled in Chile. The 71 facelift for the Special was also adopted in Argentina, only the FIAT emblem in the middle of the radiator grille already showed the new variant with the brand name set in four angled boxes.

FIAT 125 club meeting in Argentina 2001
The different years of the FIAT 125 from Argentine production: Club meeting in Argentina 2001 (sent in by Hernan O.)

For larger transport tasks, the five-door “Familiar” station wagon and the “Multicarga” pick-up were also manufactured in Argentina, and a beautiful coupé called the “FIAT 125 Sport” was offered.

FIAT 125 Sport (1978) by Christian B. (Argentina)
FIAT 125 Sport (1978) by Christian B. (Argentina)

After the Italian original was discontinued, there were several changes in appearance in Latin America, including: Radiator grille and bumpers in black, omission of the chromed side trim. The last version was called “FIAT 125 Mirafiori” and had large rectangular headlights like the 78 new edition of the FIAT 131 Mirafiori and modified rear lights. This model was built until 1982.

On the web you can clearly feel what cult status the FIAT 125 has to this day in Latin America. There is a very active club scene in both Argentina and Chile.

The Polski FIAT 125p from Poland

The production of the 125p was based on a 1965 agreement between FIAT and the FSO Automobile Plant in Warsaw. The history of Polski FIAT stretched back over forty years, because the company was founded in 1921 as a sales company for FIAT vehicles. As early as 1934 the types 508 and 518 were assembled in Poland and sold under the brand name “Polski FIAT”.

Polski FIAT 125p (1970)
Polski FIAT 125p (1970)
Polski FIAT 125p (1970) dashboard
Polski FIAT 125p (1970) dashboard

The Polski FIAT 125p had the body of the Italian original, but with round double headlights and the door handles of the 1965 FIAT 124. The decorative strip on the side at the level of the door handles was omitted. Motors, mechanics and the dashboard with horn ring, steering wheel gearshift and belt speedometer were taken over from the FIAT 1300/1500 (production period: 1961 to 1968). Later versions have the tail lights of the 1971 125 Special, the flat door handles, side bumper strips and larger front indicators/parking lights.

The initial version of the Polski FIAT 125p was available in these two performance levels until 1975:

Model 125p / 1300 125p / 1500
Capacity cm3 1295 1481
Power HP at rpm 54 at 5400 69 at 5300
Torque Nm at rpm 95 at 3200 111 at 3200
Compression 9 : 1 9 : 1
Forward gears 4 4
Acceleration 0 – 100 km/h 22 17
Top speed km/h 140 145

The later versions are a bit more powerful, but are all based on the OHV engines of the FIAT 1300/1500. Only the “Monte Carlo” and “Akropolis” models built for sports use had engines with two overhead camshafts with a displacement of 1.6 and 1.8 liters and 98 and 105 HP respectively.

Production of the FIAT 125p began as early as November 1967 – the Italian original was released in the same year – and did not end until 24 years later in 1991, 19 years after production of the Turin FIAT 125 was discontinued.

A total of 1,222,887 pieces of the 125p were built, including numerous variations – from station wagons to pickups and even six-door convertibles!

In cooperation with the Polish FSO, the Zastava 125 PZ was manufactured in Yugoslavia, this vehicle was based on the chassis of the Zastava 1300 and was otherwise largely identical to the Polish 125p.

The FIAT 125 T in New Zealand …

… was definitely the “hottest iron” ever sold under the name FIAT 125: The 100 to 200 right-hand driven cars were imported and assembled “completely knocked-down” by the distributor “Torino Motors” exclusively for the New Zealand market: All were painted bright yellow and provided with a black rear panel, lowered, with harder springs and equipped with accessories such as magnesium rims, sports steering wheel and bucket seats. And the engine: With a higher compression and different carburetors, it delivered a full 125 hp with an unchanged 1.6-liter displacement! Like the normal version of the FIAT 125, the “T-Model” had a four-speed gearbox.

FIAT 125 T (New Zealand)
FIAT 125 T (New Zealand)

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All around: Before & after