Fiat 130 and the specialist

Fiat 130 front
ER Classics Desktop

Alex van der Laan, guru in Fiats flagship

Fiat 130x130

Ask questions about a Fiat 130 and you can say that the name Alex van der Laan is on the table. The term 'hobby got out of hand' gets a new dimension when he tells in full glory about more than forty years of tinkering, restoration, demolition, purchasing and selling. Internationally a walking source of information, this guru. He has owned far more than one hundred Berlina and Coupés. Around 130, probably.

Text & photography: Aart van der Haagen

“Technically, a Fiat 130 is very strong. Of all the copies I ever had, I only encountered an engine that smoked blue once. ” Here speaks the Fiat 130 prophet, the man who once got his first copy as a 13-year-old boy. “On Saturdays I washed cars for business people in the area and at one point I was allowed to just take one of these Berlina with me, for myself. I learned to tinker in a playful way, by trial and error. ” It was the beginning of a hobby that has continued for 42 years, took on disproportionate forms and never seems to end. At Van der Laan's country retreat in Spain, the exclusive Fiats take up most of the driveway, whether or not in a state of need.

Also interesting: Fiat 124 Special, a world car

The first Fiat 130 as a teenager

The tic of one specific model does not, of course, just blow up. “After a lot of hassle with a Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3 that didn't want to start every time, my father bought a new 1973 Berlina in 130. I thought it was a magical car, a kind of UFO. ”Five years later, as a teenager, Alex van der Laan owned his first copy, the warrior, to really let go after obtaining his driver's license. "130's came and went; you picked them up for an apple and an egg and sometimes even for free. ”

Also interesting: Fiat 128. Revolution and eternal love

Skype for hours

In the mid-130s, real networking began, fueled by a Fiat XNUMX meeting at the Autotron. “At one point I started to get the first cars from Italy. Before I got home, they were already sold. ”A business model was also in the restoration of rusted and neglected cases, in the beginning in a wonderfully amateurish way. "Just sanding instead of blasting, tapping back dents and filling with filler." That is different nowadays, on a professional level, although still in the hobby atmosphere.

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“Enthusiasts from all countries know where to find me, also for advice or just to chat. I regularly skype for hours with a friend in northern Spain. The record is at five o'clock and forty-five minutes. ”Something special came by sometimes. “I once had the Fiat 130 from former Fiat boss Umberto Agnelli, an armored person.” Even more crazy: a hearse built by the Pilates company and a real camper, a piece of Dutch domestic work. "I lived in it for a year when I was in between two houses." A life with and sometimes in Fiats 130, Alex van der Laan can no longer imagine anything else. 

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  1. All my life (read: almost 44 years) I have been crazy about 130.

    Beautiful cars! And especially the coupé.

    I almost bought one for about 20 years, an anthracite gray, but there were holes in the body and given the fact that I had no key space, I eventually left it.

    Always regretted it.
    Now I have been living in Sneek and in Scharnegoutum for a number of years, a small village next to Sneek has a garage that also has a number of them (Scharne Auto's)

    Maybe someday ?!
    Now drive a Panda (169) so iig. in a FIAT! 🤔🤭

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