My odyssey to the Nevada high desert got in the way of our not-so-regularly scheduled Guilty Pleasure post last week, but we're back with an exceptionally shameful— yet compelling— European staple: the Fiat Ritmo aka Strada. No American car freak in his or her right mind would admit to wanting a Strada... and yet, the same better-left-unexplored corner of my limbic system that allows me to enjoy the Beatle Barkers also gets me to check Crazedlist for Strada listings.

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Guilty Pleasure Fiat Strada

I hadn't thought about the Strada for decades, but then I found one down on the Alameda street a couple years back, and I realized that the Strada combined Malaise Era subcompact misery with goofy Italian styling in an irresistibly of-its-time manner. The Strada was done in North America by the 1982 model year, but remained a staple commuter in Europe into the late 1980s. The cheapest Stradas sold for well under 5 grand, which beat such cheapo machines as the Mazda GLC and Chevy Chevette (but not the Dodge Colt) in the sticker-price wars of the early 1980s.

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