Fiat 124 Spider. Under-rated roadster offers Italian flair and sprightly performance for under £20,000. How come you ...
Fiat 124 Spider. Under-rated roadster offers Italian flair and sprightly performance for under £20,000.

How come you can buy an enticing sports spider that taps directly into the DNA of Ferrari styling and V12 engines for little more than an MGB? That’s just one of the mysteries of the Fiat 124 Spider.

Not that there’s anything wrong with the MGB and its 1940s-derived pushrod engine. But wouldn’t you prefer a spirited, rev-happy and readily tuneable twin overhead-cam four designed by Aurelio Lampredi, who created the prodigious large-capacity Ferrari V12 race and road car engines of the 1950s, clothed in a body by the man who fashioned the Ferrari 275 GTS at Pininfarina? The similarities between that sublime million-pound Ferrari and the 124 Spider, which Tom Tjaarda penned slightly later, are plain to see.

In 1966 the new 124 Spider was a generation ahead of the well-established MGB, with all-round disc brakes, five-speed gearbox, superior appointments and comfort, and a one-handed folding convertible top that many rate as the best of its time, and infinitely superior to the MGB’s.

Even though the original 90bhp 1438cc Spider conceded nearly 400cc, it beat the Brit to 60mph in 11.9 seconds and all out, too, to 106mph. I don’t want to bash the much-adored B, but today’s ballpark market values force comparison, even though in its day the MGB was far cheaper than the Fiat - and that’s if you could have bought one in the UK. The 124 Spider was never officially listed for UK sale and was only ever produced in left-hand drive, although there are quite a few aftermarket right-hand conversions around.

However, the Spider was a hit in the USA, which accounted for around 85% of the 178,000 models produced from 1966 to 1985. There it came in cheaper than the Alfa 1600cc Duetto Spider, but had the edge in pace and, most would say, in handling too, which is sharp, nimble, chuckable and secure.

Indeed, the 124 Spider in Abarth guise was a major player in international rallies in the early '70s, while Alfa Spiders excelled on palm-fringed Pacific coast boulevards.

Like the MGB, the Fiat Spider was produced for nearly 20 years; unlike the MGB, the Fiat was continuously developed with engines growing eventually to 2.0 litres, but bigger is not necessarily better as US cars from 1970-on were detuned, then fitted with emissions equipment that further sapped performance; however, this can easily be undone. Impact bumpers came in 1974 with higher ride height, which didn’t help handling.

In Euro spec, the 110bhp 1600 of 1970 could notch up 112mph and the 119bhp 1800 topped out at around 116mph, with a 10-second 0-60mph time. The later 2.0-litre cars, initially for the US only, couldn’t match their predecessors, but Bosch fuel injection on later cars restored some of the lost performance.

In 1982 Pininfarina, which had always made the bodies, took over full manufacture, and as a fitting swansong from 1983 to the end in '85 produced the 135bhp, 120mph Volumex supercharged version.

The 124 Spider’s only fault perhaps is the stigma of its Fiat name. If it were an Alfa, what with all its hot-blooded connotations and romance, you’d have to pay a lot more for one. Mystery solved.

PRICE AT LAUNCH: The 124 Spider was special order only in the UK and not officially price listed. For cost comparison when new, in the US in 1968 a Lotus Elan cost $4545, an Alfa Duetto was $3950 and the Fiat $3181. For further context a Triumph TR250 (TR5) cost $3175, with the MGB at $2670. On that basis, if listed in the UK, Fiat would most likely have pitched it below the Alfa Spider (£1895) and probably ahead of the Lotus Elan (£1598) - over £600 more than an MGB.

1980s AND 1990s: In the latter part of the '80s price guides pitched top-notch Alfa Duetto Spiders at £15,000, MGBs at £7500 and 124s at a lowly £4500; that’s just not right. In the post-boom early-’90s, Alfas dipped to £12,500, MGBs were static while the Fiat was valued at £5500, marginally up in real and relative terms, but still not right. In the UK auction arena £5250 paid in 1997 for a freshly restored 1971 Spider was top price of the decade.

TODAY: In 2013 at a US auction an exceptional show-winning 1969 Spider 1400 made a truly exceptional but unrepresentative £29,200; in the UK no Fiat 124 Spider has ever topped £10,000 at auction. An uprated 1967 Spider with 1800 engine that made £7920 in 2014 was a decent car. That’s still MGB money; however, very higher-quality Fiats with the trade are currently on offer at up to £22,000. A Spider 1600 at £17,000 is described as perfect, while a ‘stunning’ 1977 1800 car in UK-friendly RHD is up for £15,950.
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  •   Ben Barry reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    The #1968 #Fiat-124-Spider / #Fiat-124 / #Fiat / BUYING GUIDE / WORDS Nick Larkin / PHOTOGRAPHY Stuart Collins

    Lovely styling, a delicious twin-cam and a surprisingly sturdy build, the 124 Spider ticks all of the classic sports car boxes.

    The 124 Spider is surely the answer to many a classic motoring prayer. A delightful combination of Italian looks, a lusty twin-cam engine, (mostly) reliable components and, because the cars were mysteriously never officially imported into Britain, imbued with a certain exclusivity. Somewhat surprisingly, the car is reasonably well built, although a dire lack of rustproofing means any potential purchase needs meticulous inspection for rot.

    The Fiat 124 Spider was designed and built by Pininfarina, which eventually branded the car under its own name from 1983-1985. Of the 198,000 124 Spiders produced from 1966-1985, around 170,000 were sold in the USA, many in so called ‘dry states’. Several thousand have now migrated to Britain, where there is good specialist and club support.


    Just look at the pictures! A good 124 Spider is a joy to drive and own, and close exposure to one will soon have you lapsing into Italian sports car clichés.

    Based on an adapted 124 saloon floorpan (yes, the same one that became a Lada) the cars are generally solid and lack a nasty Mediterranean temper. Though never built in right-hand drive form, conversion by a specialist is possible for about £3000. If the car you’re viewing is already a RHD model, find out who did the work.

    Fiat 124 Spiders sound wonderful, their performance is more than adequate, and they’re equipped with a five-speed gearbox and disc brakes? You can even put the hood up without leaving the driver’s seat. Surely those factors alone should put these cars on your shopping list.


    These cars had various incarnations during long their production run, but here are the main ones. Many enthusiasts favour the 1438cc, 90bhp AS model (1966-1970) for its purity of line. The BSI of 1970-1972 had 1608cc and 110bhp and is often recommended as the best overall choice. The CS (1972-1973) boasted the Fiat 132’s 1592cc unit and the 1800 CSi (1973-1978) offered 1756cc and, later, impact bumpers. Later cars were 1995cc and were at times available in fuel injected form, turbocharged and VX DS with 135bhp and a #Volumex supercharger. Just 500 Volumex models were built, and like the turbo cars, some experts reckon they are best avoided.

    Pininfarina took over total production of the car in 1981. Cars developed various bonnet and wheelarch bulges, as well as larger bumpers. There was also an Abarth version, which falls outside of our remit here.


    Fiat’s Lampredi-designed twin-cam engine is legendary. It lasts well and is easy to work on, but in the Spider, you should watch out for rear end rattle and damaged sumps. Fiat 132 engines – where you can find them – can be substituted without too much modification. Carburettors can suffer from wear, particularly the spindles on Solex units, so check it runs properly. Later cars are fuel injected by Bosch, and tend to be more reliable, with good parts and specialist backup.


    As with many Italian cars, the electrical system decays, causing issues. A rewire is straightforward, but time consuming.


    Front wishbone bushes and balljoints are prone to wear. Track rod ends can be worn or seized, as can drag links. If you are buying a car converted to righthand drive car, you need to find out who carried out the work. The worm and roller steering set-up is reasonably easy to work on, which is good, as it can suffer from wear and even seizure. Check for excessive play.


    Early cars were built from good quality steel, with the rot only setting in from the late 1970s. Look at the door bottoms, particularly at the corners. Outer sill covers are not structural, the important stuff being behind them, while inner sills last well but are costly to put right. The crossmember supporting the engine and front suspension can crack and/or be the victim of accident damage. Also watch for floor rot due to damp carpets, rusty wheelarches (they are double skinned) in the area where the front wing meets the sills, the inner wings the boot lid and inside the boot.


    Dashboard tops can split, but new ones are available. You can also get new hoods. Driver’s seat backs can break due to people leaning back to grab the hood!


    ENGINE 1438cc/4-cyl/DOHC
    POWER [email protected]
    TORQUE 83lb [email protected]
    MAXIMUM SPEED 106mph
    0-60MPH 11.9sec
    TRANSMISSION RWD, five-spd manual


    Concours £35,000+
    Excellent £15,000-20,000
    Usable £8000-10,000
    Project £3000-5000


    1972 FIAT SPIDER VALUE £8000, 45-yearold male living in Cambs, club member, car garaged and used as second vehicle, 3000 miles pa: £82.31 or £99.54 incl Agreed Value

    Hood £594
    Engine rebuild £6000
    Gearbox £1200
    Door £360-£420
    Bonnet £220
    Outer sill £210
    Prices from DTR (

    Fiat Motor Club GB
    Sporting Fiats Club
    DTR European Sports Cars Croydon.
    0208 645 5050,
    Middle Barton Garage Oxfordshire.
    01869 345766,

    This car has been expertly converted to right-hand drive. Engines were 4-cyl 1438cc, 1608cc, 1756cc and 1995cc.
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  •   Ben Barry reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    Take a sharp turn with a train back behind the front axle of the steering wheel, it takes some getting used to. #Fiat-238-Van / #Fiat-238 / #Fiat-Van / #Fiat / #Fiat-124 / #1967 /

    UTILITIES Fiat 238 Van

    With 1000 kg payload, this small van has made a lot of services to artisans who acclaimed this completely panelled finish. Despite the absence of AR glass. Or rather because of that, because it allowed to hide the container to potential scroungers...

    The first Fiat vehicle front-wheel drive, it's her, invaded the largely Italian roads during the reasons for its success? A volume load therefore delicate. Even in regions as troubled Fiat 238. A family of utilities. Not very powerful, but declinable desire, she 70 and 80, before giving way to the Ducato, clone D5 and C25 French. The reasons ease of maintenance and reliability which enabled him to face the most situations Liguria, where we performed this test. Testimony.

    Sweep input against a truth-no, all vans are not derived from a car. I almost tend to argue that many of them have provided their expertise to help develop cars. Take Traction Avant. At Renault, she appeared on the Estafette, two years before settling on the R4. Same at Alfa Romeo who tested this technical solution not on the Alfasud, but 18 years earlier on the Romeo van. And Fiat?

    He would have expected the 128 to adopt after having tried the Autobianchi Primula? Once again, you have it all wrong. It is officially born in March 1967, with the 238 ... A utility that shares certain points with 241, but only on style, performance, technical (that's a propulsion) and dimensions are different, the latter capable of carrying up to 1.4 t payload thanks to its diesel engine, borrowed from the Campagnola.

    The 238 is first of all a mini-revolution for Fiat, with a 4-cylinder transversely implanted AV to ensure the transmission to the front wheels. A 1221cc engine designed in the 50s for the Simca 8 and taken particularly by Fiat 1100 D and Primula. Here it is deflated to 44bhp to limit the maximum speed to 105 km / h and the crankshaft is always mounted on three levels. The front-wheel drive has freed the load floor and thus increase the useful volume of 5.3 m3 which passes on the van it replaces T in 1100 to 6.5 m3, the threshold is no longer finding that 41 cm from the ground. Another major advance: all four wheels are independent with a front axle inspired by Primula has its upper transverse leaf spring and its lower link arms and a rear train abandons the rigid axle of the benefit associated with trailing arms two transverse torsion bars and anti-roll bar. Last but not least important on a utility, all the elements are now lubricated for life, which greatly restricts maintenance. And thus their cost. Aesthetically, it is noted that if the descent from the old range is guaranteed by the front facade, the van part has totally been redesigned to offer, including a double side door without central post to open a mouth 1.4 m wide, but only 1,295 m.

    A first evolution occurs in 1968. Just like Primula, the 238 gives up the old engine 103 to adopt a derivative thereof which was developed for the Fiat 124 in two displacements, both with five levels: 1.197 cm3, 44 hp and 1438 cm3, 46 hp, the latter enjoying a torque increased from 8.8 to 9.8 mkg obtained at a lower speed (2300 r / min instead of 2,500). At the same time, the range widens to consist of a plateaucabine to tôlé vans, glass or high roof van, double cab, "promiscuo" (nine seats, 400 kg of cargo), 11 seats minibuses, buses school 16 or 21 seats and ambulance. For 1975, 1197 cm3 and 1438 cm3 disappears available in two formulas. Economic and settling for regular gasoline: 47 hp, 9.6 kgm torque Max 2600rpm, 105 kmh. Or nervous and filled up with super fuel: 52bhp and 10.8 kgm 110 km / h. By the way, he trades the distribution chain for a belt, quieter course, but asked to be replaced more often. It is the last major modification of a model who retired in 1977, replaced by an aesthetic evolution, 238E, introducing plastic as well as for the interior grille. It will be divided into less rustic versions and more leisure oriented with even the very end of career, a camper Andal. Far, far away from the laborious vocation of the first copies.

    The one I unearthed you had a nerdy pure, and it is in a region where his size did not benefit. Liguria! It is beautiful to die. But also a narrow trail ibex in the Alps. One kilometer wide between mountains and sea side of Sestri Levante, charming village about fifty kilometers from Genoa. On this thin strip of land crammed beaches, umbrellas, houses, shops and, throughout, a host of incredible density. You can not make a meter in the streets or in the mountains without being surrounded by a multitude of scooters buzzing like a swarm in search of nectar. All in a maze of narrow streets, sharp turns and slopes that even Chris Froome could swallow forcing his strange pedal stroke. To make matters worse, this van measuring 4.59 m long and it has no rear windows! If I back over to its owner, Fabrizio Colella, it will take a miracle ... Meanwhile, I burn some candles in petty hoping not to go up in smoke because figurezvous the engine is located under the rear passenger august ( the box is in mine), the huge air filter positioned in recovering from my back cool air through gills practiced right. In winter, it is nicely warm the atmosphere, but the summer I assure you it is not ideal. In addition, it gives you the impression to talk to the roaring forties when the climb is seeking the depths of mechanics (which unfortunately happens every 200 m on this hilly course!), Vibration and doors few bonus. .. I knew more comfortable test, but war is war, and I knew what to expect.

    The advantage of this mechanical layout is elsewhere: in instead released into the cabin on this type of cab for mounting a bench inviting two people without resistance, in addition to the driver's seat. Far from the two seats separated by a Estafette or Citroën HY. But the absence of engine compartment has other effects. The bag containing the washer liquid is thus located on the passage of wheel driver, double hydraulic fluid reservoir above ... his feet. Let's hope it does not leak, I put some new shoes! More original again, the radiator expansion tank. It is concealed by a flap on the dashboard, passenger side. And the radiator is at the centre, which is also a significant obstacle forcing the third adult to raise the knees to stand on tiptoe or amputate squarely half of shins... Do not try nit.

    This van is intended utility and staffing well be minimalist, it would be churlish to complain because it was still entitled to the door panels, a floor mat, two sun visors, two vents (for fresh air, it's not luxury, because for hot you already have everything you need between the engine and the radiator!) and a tachometer with the bare necessities: a fuel gauge and LEDs in addition to the meter graduated to an optimistic 130 kmh. It does remind you of anything? It should, it is exactly that of the contemporary Fiat 500 L... who robbed him (when I tell you that these are the cars that copy utilities, not vice versa!).

    As I expected, the driving position is anything but comfortable, with a seat without any maintenance, stiff as justice and too late to preserve my back. I hold the steering wheel as if I was in a truck and I see gout. On the front, it can still go, but on the back, I have to rely on only two exterior mirrors because, I remind you, there is no glazing AR (neither side for that matter) and therefore no retro interior. For cons, the handling of the gear lever, located directly on the bell, is rather pleasant, even if the details are not always strangely rendezvous. But that was the time when Fiat stammered his boxes...

    I must also contend with wheels located well back from the steering wheel. It does not cover the cord of a turn in the same way, and manoeuvres take another flavour. My arms still remember, they had to fight a good time for a successful niche beast, with a very firm direction at low speed and visibility near zero. Everything finally across 30 cm from the sidewalk, under the jeers of the bystanders who were laughing to no end to see me suffer.

    So much more than one of them, hefty beyond the reasonable (his muscles bulged from everywhere, handing his shirt as a string!) Beckoned me to leave him instead. "I drove a 30-year, it pulls in a handkerchief. Move over I will show you. "

    Just if it does not whistled by placing it in its 238 well-defined rectangle, at once and without sweat! "It's like riding a bike, it is not forgotten. Still, mine was not as good on the end of his life. He was Bigné everywhere, but it was the others who were returning us there. They were often too optimistic in the turns, and did you see the streets here? "

    Well, OK, I'll come back for slots. But I am not, however, very proud to have brought the van to Fabrizio intact after an epic journey through the mountains to worry about the brakes downhill. The owner had scared me and told me they were not very durable, no load arranging anything, he said. I must say I was quite reassured.

    No fading and slowdowns perfectly controlled with the help of the audience, something rare in a utility of that time, like the dual circuit. Even the stiff suspension did not surprise me.

    She was sold with the package and only gets better once the back loaded. It is, after all, the first of this van vocation transport equipment or human beings in number. And there he made strong the guy with a working length of 2,795 m, 1.68 m wide (1.18 between the wheel arches) and 1.51 m in height. 6.5 m3 volume! What calmly consider a move.

    But not to settle in Liguria. It's beautiful, all right, but it goes up and running too. I prefer the discreet billowing from the Emilia-Romagna where, I have no doubt, a 238 would be much more at ease.

    Read also

    • Fiat 615N: Light Heavyweight...

    Right, these vents allow to draw fresh air to the carburettor.

    Two side doors and windows not least on the sides or behind. This is a hard-utility. Note the positioning of the front axle, behind the wheel.

    The dual hydraulic fluid tank (for brakes and clutch) is located above the pedals.

    And hop ! Here's how you can access the 4-cylinder!

    The air filter is installed in the cockpit, which requires a long tube that leads to the gills passenger side.

    As can be seen here, a sleeve makes it possible to draw hot air to the carburettor. In winter, that was helpful.

    Transversely implanted, the engine finally offers surprising accessibility.


    ENGINE Type Fiat 124 BL.016. 4 cylinders in line, arranged transversely to the front and inclined 18 °. Iron block, alloy cylinder head. Five crankshaft bearings. Distribution a side camshaft chain drive, lifters and rocker arms, OHV.

    ■ Displacement: 1197cc
    ■ Bore x stroke: 73 x 71.5 mm
    ■ Max Power: 44 hp DIN in 4600 rpm
    ■ Maximum torque: 8.5 mkg DIN 2,500 rpm
    ■ Compression ratio: 8.8: 1
    ■ Power supply: a horizontal carburettor Weber (or Holley Europea) 32-OF
    ■ Ignition: Battery 12 V 48 Ah, coil and distributor. Candles Marelli CW 240 LP, N9Y Champion, Bosch W 200 T 30
    ■ Cooling: water with pump

    ■ front-wheel drive Clutch: dry, hydraulic control
    ■ Gearbox: manual 4-speed synchronized gears + MAR, lever floor box
    ■ Reporting: 1st: 3,910 - 2nd: 2,120 - 3rd: 1,410 - 4th: 0.960 - MAR: 3,570
    ■ Axle Ratio: 5.700 (torque 10 x 57).
    Van six doors, three. Monocoque body self-supporting sheet steel, forged
    ■ AV chassis Front suspension: independent wheels, lower wishbone, upper transverse leaf spring, dampers
    ■ Telescopic Rear suspension: wheel independent, longitudinal control arms, transverse torsion bars, shock absorbers telescopic, anti-roll bar
    ■ Brakes: drums Front / rear, hydraulic, double circuit, AR dispatcher, vacuum power assisted booster
    ■ Parking brake: mechanical, acting on the rear wheels
    ■ Front wheel direction: screw and roller
    ■ Diameter turning circle 11.6 m between walls
    ■ Rims: Steel 5K x 14 "
    ■ Tyres: 6.50-14
    ■ Dimensions (L x W x H): 4,590 x 1,800 x 1,980 m
    ■ Wheelbase: 2,400 m
    ■ Ways Front / Rear: 1,484 / 1,489 m
    ■ Ground clearance: 0,150 m
    ■ Payload: 1000 kg
    ■ Effective volume: 6.5 m3
    ■ Curb Weight: 1220 kg
    ■ GVW: 2290 kg.
    ■ MAXIMUM SPEED: 105 km / h
    ■ FUEL CONSUMPTION: 8.9 litres /100km.
    ■ PRODUCTION: 1967-1982: 300,000 produced (estimated), with 230,000 of the 1st series (1967 to 1977)
    ■ 1967 PRICE: 1,150,000 lire (Italy).

    The utilities do not really have the odds Italy, 238 less than the others. A van in beautiful condition (which is really not easy to find) is trading around 500 euros. Hard to imagine that things are progressing a lot in the coming years.

    Fabrizio Colella and his Van Fiat 238 1971

    "In memory of my father" Life Fabrizio Colella, 55 and occupational physician, rocked there about ten years, for no apparent reason. One day, his path crossed that of a Fiat 1100E 1952. "She was sold a good price, I said yes without thinking ..." He had no idea he had just put your finger in a terrible gear that would push him to buy a 1976 Alfa Romeo Super Nuova, a Fiat 500 L 1972 and a beautiful Lancia Flaminia 1965 The "worst" was yet to come, because a spark is then lit in his mind: he made up his mind to find the truck that his father used to deliver television sets and other household appliances he sold and repaired. And this is how the van arrived 238, a 615N truck 1956, 1100 T a van in 1962, a bus 625n 19 seats in 1970 and 1976. He 850T truck also took the presidency in 2001, the Circolo Italiano Truck Storici club with about 250 members and more than 1,000 commercial vehicles and trucks. It is in 2011 that he recovered in a break of Piacenza, 238 this van registered for the first time in Como March 29, 1971, it posted more than 100,000 km on the clock.

    LPG and it worked, though it was full, it was blocked by two decades of capital. Rust had started eating and the roof had been crushed because, for a while, he had to contend with vehicles stored on it! "It took me three years to refurbish it, making no follies. Taking my time and doing, for my self, all I could. "Admit that it was worth it...

    Surprise! Passenger side door reveals an expansion tank with the filler cap to the coolant! The bladder laveglace is attached to the passage of the driver's side wheel.

    The counter block is the same that will equip the 500 L.

    Right side, access is via two opposing doors, releasing an impressive load input.

    Two benches, one of which can accommodate two passengers, the central one being still quite uncomfortable. Note the vents Two pavilion side, two on the dashboard.

    When the flap PNR, it has a tray on which you can drop objects or table that can be used to make a quotation...

    The steering column is almost vertical, the stalks are grouped on the left.

    No complaints about the forward visibility. It's just perfect. We will not say much for the rear. Notice that Fiat has also not seen fit to install a retro interior. It would have been useless for lack of AR glass!

    The spare wheel takes place in a small stamped practiced in the transition from left wheel. Right side, housing was also carried out, this time for the battery.

    By opening up to 90 °, the rear doors provide excellent accessibility to the load space, which has, furthermore, a completely flat floor.

    With more than 4.50 m in length and a wheelbase of 2.40 m, the box body 238 has a load volume of about 6.5 m3! Impressive, despite his height contained (less than 2 m).

    Utility yes, but with quality finishes. The proof the presence of door fittings.
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  •   Andy Everett reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    Rediscovery #Fiat-124 sport coupe 1600 and 1800 / #Fiat-124-Sport-Coupe-1600 / #Fiat-124-Sport-Coupe-1800 / #Fiat-124-Sport-Coupe

    Same year, same colour but different displacements for both #Fiat 124 Sport Coupe: a left 1600, right 1800. Both received a new face appeared AV late August #1972 with separate grille-mounted optical double platinum. Seem fog of 1600 are a period option.

    If today many manufacturers fail to decline over twenty models on the same basis, in simply making the "badging" and minimal cosmetic changes, it was not the case when back 50 years back. Best, downright could start from zero and disseminate almost in an identical range of cars that borrowed anything to each other. This is the case of the 124 Sport Coupe that has not only his own body, but has retained the sedan as its suspension and wheelbase. Everything else is new, starting with the engine! Other times, other customs ...

    It could not be different from the sedan that cut and spiders that were declined. At Fiat, we did not go with the back of a spoon, which not surprisingly, a trend that already happened with the #Fiat-850-Spider and assembled by #Bertone . The only difference is that this time, it is not an external coachbuilder in Turin manufacturer offering a new version, but the Internal Style Centre, headed by Gianpaolo Boano. Entered the market in March #1966 the Fiat 124 has, at first glance, nothing glamorous. It is a pure technical product, remarkably well thought out and, in a modest appearance, marks a clear break with the past. For the first time, this is not, in fact, the office studies who designed the concept, but that of the production that has imposed his views. Result? An extremely simple car, easy to manufacture, maintain and repair, lightweight (855 kg load) and reliable. A future global success since it will be assembled by several brands ( #Seat , #Tofas and #Lada #VAZ Russian) until ... 2011.

    Is the rivalry between the two teams of engineers that grows to fully review the copy for derivatives? Without a doubt. How else to explain that apart from the suspension, the Sport Spider sublime built by #Pininfarina borrows nothing from the sedan? Not even its wheelbase! But above all, what other explanation could advance the studies who developed the Sports Coupé and have chosen, once again, that the running gear elements while maintaining this time wheelbase sedan? Take the engine. The wise 4-cylinder 1197 cm3 five bearings and is replaced by a much more noble mechanics. A double overhead camshaft studied by Aurelio Lampredi. 1438 cm3 for power increased to 90 hp DIN and a nice bonus torque of 11 kgm available from 4,000rpm. Small wonder that, by the way, is only the first in a long line that will last until the 90s, Lancia K Turbo 1994 being the last to use it. It is associated with a box 5 of the convertible (fifth overdrive), a box 4 of the coupe.

    The brakes, always drives on four wheels, are now recipients. The dashboard and interior have nothing in common with the sedan and we also note an important difference compared with this time at spider: the cut, the windshield is glued, chrome entourage participating more tightness becomes a pure aesthetic element.

    This is a first for Fiat. As for drawing Boano, he moves away from both the sedan might have trouble finding and cabriolet with whom he shares, however, a small family resemblance.

    Sold much cheaper than its competitors (ITL 1,490,000 against 1,695,000 in the Giulia GT Junior in particular), the Sport Coupe is so successful that it will quickly evolve into a second series presented in November 1969 at the Turin Motor Show. By visual uniformity of concern with Dino, the whole AV facade is revisited, integrating four projectors iodine and rectangular flashing in the bumper. The AR and AR optical trunk lid are also redesigned, as the dashboard that receives a clock, a matte colour instead of the fake wood to house the instruments, cloth seats instead of leatherette (the - C remains present on the sides of the backrest and seat), etc. Little quirk that it is difficult to understand: the AV deflector has been reduced in size and, hence, there is no interchangeability of AV ice between the first two series.

    It was at this same time that his shoulder Sport Coupé Fiat 1400 version 1600 which drift mechanics that of 125: 110 hp, two dual carburettors body to manoeuvre and a higher compression ratio for a top speed which rose from 170 to 180 km/h. The suspension is relaxed at the expense of handling but for the benefit of comfort, especially as the AR anti roll bar disappears the landscape, accentuating his temperament understeer. The third and final series starts on 27 August 1972. Aesthetically, the changes are debatable but in the times, it seems. The rectangular grille slightly rounded edges is framed by dual lens mounted on separate panels. The bumpers are in three parts, bananas equipped with a rubber protection. The face AR receives trapezoidal headlamps, more imposing bumper with a horizontal range and the rear trunk door is extended to the floor, which facilitates access to the boot. Inside, the bottom of the dashboard is of metal cladding and the shape of the seats provides better lumbar support.

    Technically, the trend is even clearer. If, for the record, we note the return of the anti-roll bar at the rear (Fiat acknowledged its mistake), mechanical supply is completely redesigned. The 1400 first passes the trap. In five years of existence, he had convinced 30% of buyers cut. The 1,608 cm3 is replaced by the 1,592 cm3 derived from 132. With an important result, because it is much less athletic, especially associated with a unique dual carburettor body, solely to reducing consumption. The power is thus lowered to 104 hp DIN and although the top speed is unchanged, reversals and sensations are more bourgeois.

    At his side landed a new version equipped with a 1756 cm3 developing 114hp, also fed by only one lung and produced until March 1976. The last cut Fiat before long (see box). Find one now almost a miracle, most of whom perished on the ground. Then two! In the same year (1973), in the same colour (red Sierra), with the option box 5 and belonging to two brothers, it was simply unimaginable.

    When I was twenty, explains Roberto Mensio, I rode every day with a coupe 124 green. One of the last copies of the second series, the best of the three in my opinion. But at the time, I wanted one of the ultimate models. I thought a modern twist could not hurt. Having seen a dozen, I found this in 1600 I used until 1989 after some minor work. "This is that chance puts him in the presence of another coupe, a 1800 one, stopped on the roadside, open cover. "I offer my help, thinking it was a problem with the fuel pump, a classic on the third series. And there, the guy told me that it should rather be the turbo! I think of a joke, I lean and I actually discovered a Garrett turbine!

    Fascinated, Roberto made an offer to the owner. Who four months later, agreed to cede its Sports Coupe which was only 41,000 km on the odometer. "I wanted to sell the 1600, but I finally gave my brother Massimo. I took advantage of turbo of 1800 until 1992 but in town it was heating a lot, so I put everything back home. "So, as I am taking the view stealing two cars, performance is pretty equal between the two models, the pair slightly higher Milleotto being barely perceptible. Tasty its double overhead cam head, without being as addictive as Alfa Romeo, is promising, but use both engines admit some discretion on this generation. The fault lies in part only dual carburettor body, but also a wiser distribution diagram. So, the nervousness of the second series has somewhat evaporated in favour of a outros increased suppleness and use more consistent with what is expected of a pure passenger car. With five box and the bridge of the previous version, we could have hoped for. It's just not worse.

    We consoled by saying that, suddenly, the car is much better adapted to current circulation rules, limitations and other constraints that inter say to drive fast. And if one wants to keep still a vague feeling of sportiness, there is always the solution to push the first three reports, taking full advantage of this torque between 4,200 and 6,000rpm. The handling of the case and locks incite farms.

    For cons, the return to the Panhard rod to the RA undoubtedly is good for the coupe gaining neutrality, despite its rigid axle and coil springs that are a bit too soft, triggering times of roll damping effects that are struggling to fight. I assure you, this is really sensitive that when a string of abrupt changes of support and not at all in high-speed corners, which was the case on the second series. Regarding cars Mensio brothers, I encounter another phenomenon: If 1600 has retained the original air rises, the 1800 is equipped with 185 (two sizes above) and a limited slip differential. So, if it is less fun to "steer" it becomes downright polite in his reactions. Wrapping a Senator serenity. For me, the major difference in character is only there. Not in the engine but in this tire choice.

    You will understand, the coupe has the name of Sport. It behaves honestly, but do not try to chase the stopwatch. He knows how to stay in his place, offering a snowman illusion and without surprises complicity. It is pretty well established in wraparound seats participating in good general comfort and welcoming four people because the rear seat is actually usable by adults, which is rare enough in this category to be reported. The cabin is fairly typical Fiat however enjoying a beautifully arranged battery of instruments on a board ribbed aluminium look great. You get total: tachometer graduated up to a generous 220 km/h, with tachometer red zone starting at 6,400rpm, fuel gauge, oil pressure, water temperature and watch. The centre console includes two adjustable vents in addition to two others on each side of the dashboard. Is that we are dealing here with a heating system that is both powerful and effective way that betrays a little more bourgeois vocation of this cut. Just as the presence of the radio or the optional wide trunk. Or habitability. If I dared, I would say that this car is actually a cleverly disguised sedan coupe. I dare.

    The distribution is hidden by this very elegant painted housing. The manufacturer recommended replacement belt every 40,000 km... A word... By recovering a Panhard bar at rear, the coupe found the stability he had lost with the radio option, you could to install a power antenna which reads the engine. It is under the trunk carpet that hides the spare wheel.

    Gianpaolo Boano drew a coda tronca back, taking it relates both stylistic and aerodynamic very popular in the late 60s.

    The 4-cylinder designed by Aurelio Lampredi is a double overhead camshaft head with toothed belt drive.

    Read also
    • Fiat 124: Frog or princess
    • Fiat 124 Sport Spider and Coupe: Buying Guide
    • Fiat 124: The Universal Car
    • Fiat 124: Conquering the world
    • Fiat 124 Sport Spider 1600: mid-Mi-bourgeois sport
    • Fiat 124 Sport Spider: The Good Deal?

    The major difference with the two previous series, these are the lights and trapezoidal significantly larger bumpers, with banana with rubber protection.

    The coupe has always been entitled to a generator, which was not the case of the Spider.

    Technical passport Fiat 124 Sport Coupe 1600 3rd series Incidentally, the data from the 1800s.

    Type AC.000 Fiat 132 (132 AC1.000). 4 cylinders in line, ready longitudinally AV. Cast iron block, alloy cylinder head. Five crankshaft bearings. Valves V controlled by two overhead camshafts driven by toothed belt

    Displacement: 1.592 (1.756) cm3
    Bore x stroke: 80 (84) x 79.2 mm
    Compression ratio: 9.8: 1 (8.9: 1)
    Max power: 104 (114) DIN hp at 6,000rpm or 108 (118) DIN hp with the optional five-speed box
    Max torque: 14 (15.6) DIN m/kg at 4200rpm
    Power: double barrel carburettor #Weber or #Solex C34 DMS 34 ESIA 5
    Ignition: 12 V 45 Ah battery, coil and distributor
    Cooling: liquid radiator and pump.

    Wheels rear drive, limited slip differential optional
    Clutch: dry
    Transmission: 4-speed synchronized + March (5 optional box) shifter on floor

    Gear ratios 4: 1st: 3,797 - 2nd: 2,175 - 3rd: 1,410 - 4: 1 - MAR: 3,652
    5 gear ratios: 1st: 3,667 - 2nd: 2,100 - 3rd: 1,361 - 4: 1 - 5th: 0.881 - MAR: 3,526
    Axle Ratio: 3.900 (hypoid bevel) with BV4, with 4,300 BV5.
    2-door coupe, 4 places. Self-supporting monocoque body made of sheet steel

    Front suspension: independent with wishbones, coil springs, anti-roll bar, hydraulic shock absorbers
    Rear suspension: rigid axle, four longitudinal push rods, Panhard bar, hydraulic shock absorbers
    Brakes: Front disc / rear, brake booster assistance through
    Handbrake: mechanical, acting on rear wheels
    Direction: screw and roller
    Turning circle: 11.7 m between walls
    Rims: steel (alloy Cromodora option) 5Jx13 inch

    Wheel and tyres: 165 HR 13, HR 13 185 optional
    Dimensions (L x W x H): 4,170 x 1,670 x 1,340 m
    Wheelbase: 2,420 m
    Routes front / rear: 1,340 / 1,310 m
    Ground clearance: 0.125 m
    Trunk volume: 0.221 m3
    Empty weight: 995 kg.

    Top speed: 180 (185) km/h
    Consumption: 8.7 (8.4) litres/100km.
    March 1966 - March 1976: 299,686 copies.

    The last set is the least publicly. For 4,000 euros you can find a copy in fairly good condition. But be careful to corrosion, the number one enemy of this model which is struggling to take off because of this recurring phenomenon (Source: Ruoteclassiche).

    This 1800 Cromodora equipped with wheels and a tire goes up twice in the beginning, better holding the pad. But what is gained safe, fun is lost.

    Data for four seats, the 124 Sport Coupe has a seat that can actually accommodate two people in relative comfort. Place reserved for legs is limited, especially if the driver or his neighbour recede headquartered maximum.

    Welcome aboard a car inclination to sports if we rely decorum, but rather gentrified as evidenced perfectly padded seats and very generous in size. We were optimistic at Fiat by providing a graded meter to 220 km / h!

    The wide door provides easy access to rear seats. Its finish is simple but decorated with touches of chrome that enhance black leatherette. Above the center console, most of the control dials associated with a watch. A classic: The quarter windows that can open wide to better ventilate the cabin.

    Roberto and Massimo Mensio and Fiat 124 Sport Coupe 1600 and 1800 1973 "family of fans"

    On the occasion of the press kit for the launch in 1993 of the Fiat Coupe, the manufacturer turned to Chris Bangle and produced a family photo before the Stupinigi hunting lodge not far from Turin. It showed some of the cut created by the house, how to ensure witness the award between 1100 S, 8V, the Dino, 2300 or S 124 Sport Coupe. The latter, as you see it today is that of Massimo Mensio.

    "Fiat does not have in his collection and I was asked if I would lend it. What I did willingly, you can imagine. "It was also he who had presented his 1100 D. Roberto, he too is not unknown to you. He is regularly invited in our columns, the commercial agent of 51 years with a remarkable collection of models in the mid-60s and 70s, only badged Fiat: 125, 124 and 124 Sport Spider 1600.
    This is called a fan family!

    The new ventilation grille with its hubcap. If the spider is entitled to door handles with visible button, the coupe has always had this beautiful palette system.

    Face to face between two aesthetically identical models. The rims difference is the result of an option, nothing else. These trapezoidal lights appeared only on the third series.

    Do not be fooled by appearances, the 124 Sport Coupe is not a sport. She just gives the illusion. Nevertheless, we can have fun at the wheel.

    The rear trunk door was revised to finally allow access to the luggage compartment. Previously, the vertical part was fixed and we had to pass over.

    It was a first for Fiat: the windscreen is glued.
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  • Driveable Dream. A #Fiat-124 Sport Coupe gets back on the road. Sport Survivor. Sparkling performance from a rarely seen Italian charmer, Fiat’s 1969 124 Sport Coupe. By Mark J. Mccourt photography by Jeff Koch.

    How is it that some cars have all but disappeared from our roads? We’re not necessarily talking about ultralow- production rarities, but mass-produced cars that sold in respectable numbers. What factors — mechanical failings, limited parts availability, a propensity to rust — could lead them to virtual extinction? We asked ourselves this question after stumbling upon John Barchus’s first-series 1969 Fiat 124 Sport Coupe, a once-popular car that has all but vanished in America. We realized it was the first of its kind we’d seen in ages — perhaps, literally, in decades. That alone that makes it something to celebrate, but it brings so much more to the party.

    Phoenix, Arizona, resident John has a rich history with this Turinese marque, as his first car was a 1966 1100D, a tiny sedan with a four-speed manual shifter on the column. “I was a teenager, working part-time while I was in high school. It was available, it ran, and it cost me $50. That was a deal!” he remembers with a laugh. John has owned about 60 imported and domestic cars and trucks since then, but always maintained his soft spot for Fiats. Indeed, there were two X1/9s in his driveway when he encountered our feature Driveable Dream Sport Coupe in the fall of 2013.

    “Apparently, I have a reputation as the local Fiat guy,” John tells us. “My attorney, who’s a car guy himself, told me he was handling an estate sale that included two #Fiat 124s and a ton of Fiat parts. He said he’d be picking up one of the 124s at the Firebird International Raceway, where the guy’s son had stored it. I’ve owned a bunch of 124 Spiders, so I went with him. When I saw this car from a distance, I thought, ‘Man, that looks like a Coupe!’ I couldn’t believe it. I fell in love with it, and immediately, I wanted it. I didn’t know how the estate sale would handle it, so I made the family an offer before we even got the car running, and it was accepted.”

    This Sport Coupe dated from the second year Fiat imported this 124 variant to the United States, and represented the last year the model would sport designer Mario Boano’s attractive original single-headlamp/wide grille styling that visually linked it with the Spider. Like its soft-top sibling, this comfortable four-seater was an immediate favorite with the automotive enthusiast press, which lauded its mechanical sophistication. Few cars in its circa-$2,950 price range (the Spider cost roughly $200 more) could match this solid-roof Fiat’s combination of roomy accommodations and accessible performance. Indeed, even the equivalently priced BMW 2002 didn’t have the 124 Sport Coupe’s standard dual overhead cam engine design, five-speed manual gearbox or servoassisted four-wheel disc brakes with rear pressure proportioning to prevent lock-up.

    As it was purchased, this 124 was partially disassembled — its carburetor, a Spanish-built Weber clone, was in pieces and the accelerator pump leaked. The twin-cam four-cylinder under that forward-tilting hood was a circa-1972 1,608-cc replacement for the original 96-hp, 1,438-cc unit, and it was fitted with an aftermarket header, Formula 2000 racing-style flex pipe, large-diameter exhaust tubing and Magnaflow rear muffler.

    “In the spirit of speed, I ordered a really nice Weber progressive two-barrel from Vick Autosports,” he says. “The guy who owned it before me obviously massaged the engine; it doesn’t have a lope at idle, but you can definitely tell something is going on, and he definitely put higher-compression pistons in it.” The combination of higher compression and better breathing means John estimates its output at 110 hp.

    Because this car’s history was unknown and it had been dormant, he replaced all the rubber components and went through the brakes and front suspension, fitting braided stainless brake hoses, new tie rod ends, idler arms, A-arms, and springs, and incorporating upgrades like slotted and cross-drilled rotors and Ferodo pads, and larger-diameter anti-roll bars.

    It was obvious that the Sport Coupe’s previous owner had been a dedicated Fiat enthusiast, as the other 124 in his estate was a low-production 1982 124 Turbo — incidentally purchased from the estate by John’s neighbor — and there was that parts stash. “The family wanted everything out of his garage, so we sold what we could for them, and I bought the rest. He had an unbelievable amount of spare parts — many were still in their original shipping bags from Fiat, including wiring, and an original chin spoiler for this car that was never installed. There are enough window molding pieces for this and another car, and a removable hard top for a Spider that was in nearly perfect condition. He must have had it for a very long time, because I’m sure some of this stuff is made from unobtanium.”

    Those polished stainless window moldings, particularly the pieces surrounding the rear window, are linked to one of this wellpreserved car’s minor condition issues. “I’ve been all around under the car, and it’s never been crashed, and there’s no evidence of rust underneath. If it hasn’t been here [in the desert] its entire life, it’s been here most of its life,” he says. “I think it has its original paint, but someone sprayed clear on the top surfaces at some point, and that’s peeling, so I’ll have to pull everything off to have it repainted properly in the original color. Also, there’s some rust around the rear window that I’ll have to address — I’ve started pulling back the rubber around the headliner in preparation for removing the glass. My neighbor, who bought the 1982 Turbo, is an aircraft-certified welder, so if anyone can weld new pieces in there, he can do it.”

    In the process of sorting the 124, John completed one previously begun modification and followed up with another. “In this car, the battery can be mounted in the trunk or up in front, and here, it’s in the trunk. Whoever repositioned it didn’t use the right gauge of wire. I was having trouble with it reliably starting — it seemed not to be getting enough power. NAPA sells bulk battery cable for RVs that is #2 wire, legitimate battery cable with good copper. I ran that from the battery all the way up front, but that didn’t really solve the problem, so I got a high-torque starter from Vick, because I knew the compression was a bit higher. That starter weighs nine pounds, compared to the stock one that must weigh about 24 pounds. It was a pricey unit, but my gosh, that car starts every time, right now!

    I no longer have to worry if I’ll have to push it. It’s been fantastic. “And now, every time I take it out, it seems to run better,” John says with a grin. “I don’t know at what point the 1,608 appeared, but I’m not complaining. It idles like a normal Fiat, but it loves when you get into the RPM, and it pulls really well, and accelerates hard through the gears. I honestly think this would probably beat that 124 Turbo, straight ahead, since it’s a couple hundred pounds lighter. I’ve driven Formula Fords before, and it’s like driving that: you use the RPM, and the car is willing to do whatever you want it to.

    “Going down the road, it tracks really well, there’s no slop in the steering since I’ve replaced the tie rods. It loves double-clutch downshifting and going into turns, staying on the throttle and driving through,” he says. While the 124’s live axle, parallel trailing arms and Panhard rod may not be as sophisticated as the competitive 2002’s independent rear setup, the 185/60-13 radial-shod coupe holds its own. “It pitches a bit, going into turns, but this doesn’t upset the chassis, and it doesn’t try to plow or oversteer — you can just lay into the throttle, and it’s really neutral. The brakes are phenomenal, especially since I put the rotors, pads and braided hoses on it; they bite right at the top, and are really easy to modulate, so if you need to stop, you can do it in a hurry.”

    Considering how fun the Sport Coupe is to drive, it’s no surprise that John isn’t in a hurry to take it off the road to effect the body repairs, and the car’s clever, forward-thinking engineering means it’s a pleasure to keep in good shape. “You don’t have to open a bottle of whisky to get the courage to work on them,” he laughs. “Fiats have notoriously been a bit underpowered, but they’re so light, nimble and fun to drive. My attorney asked if he could take this once around the block. He came back 35 minutes later, with a big grin on his face. That says a lot!”

    Aside from some splits in the OEM vinyl upholstery and cracking in the dash’s wooden fascia, this Fiat’s interior is in remarkable condition. The Cavallino Rampante on the aftermarket steering wheel boss works the horns. The stock 1,438-cc DOHC four-cylinder was swapped for an upgraded 1,608 unit with a two-barrel Weber.

    ”When I saw this car from a distance, I thought, ‘Man, that looks like a Coupe!’ I couldn’t believe it. I fell in love with it, and immediately, I wanted it”

    CAR #1969 #Fiat-124-Sport-Coupe
    Engine DOHC I-4, cast-iron block and aluminum head
    Displacement 1,608 cc
    Horsepower 110 (est.) @ 6,400 RPM
    Torque, lb.ft. 100 (est.) @ 3,600 RPM
    Fuel system Weber 2-barrel carburetor
    Gearbox Five-speed manual
    Suspension Front, wishbones, coil springs, tube shocks, anti-roll bar; rear, live axle, trailing arms, Panhard rod, coil springs, struts, anti-roll bar.
    Steering Worm and roller
    Brakes Four-wheel discs
    Wheelbase 95.3 inches
    Length 162 inches
    Width 65.8 inches
    Height 52.8 inches
    Curb weight 2,110 pounds
    0-60 MPH 10.0 seconds (est.)
    Top speed 106 MPH (est.)
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