The Truth About Cars » Fiat 124 Sport Spider http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 11 Sep 2014 23:24:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Fiat 124 Sport Spider http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Junkyard Find: 1976 Fiat 124 Sport Spider http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1976-fiat-124-sport-spider/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1976-fiat-124-sport-spider/#comments Tue, 25 Feb 2014 14:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=753777 So many Fiat 124 Sport Spiders get junked, and the process has been going on for my entire junkyard-prowling career. In the three years of this series, we’ve seen this ’71, this ’73, this ’75, this ’78, and this ’80, and we might as well add the 124′s little brother, this ’71 850 Sport Spider. […]

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06 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSo many Fiat 124 Sport Spiders get junked, and the process has been going on for my entire junkyard-prowling career. In the three years of this series, we’ve seen this ’71, this ’73, this ’75, this ’78, and this ’80, and we might as well add the 124′s little brother, this ’71 850 Sport Spider. I don’t even photograph every 124 Sport Spider I see, because they’re almost as common in wrecking yards as ’85 Camrys. Today’s ’76, however, holds the Junkyard Find record for Scariest California Beach Neighborhood Rust.
13 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinCars that live within a block or two of the Pacific Ocean in Northern California (I found this car in one of my favorite East Bay yards during a recent drive around California in a new Mirage) often rust in a weird top-down pattern. For example, the truly frightening ’84 Toyota Van we saw last October. California cars with bad weatherstripping often rust inside the trunk, as water leaks in and sits for months during the long, rainy winters. This Fiat managed to rot from both types of California rust.
01 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinHow does this even happen?
17 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis car comes from the era of separate emissions requirements for new cars sold in California.
10 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI have quite a collection of these SLOW DOWN lights, which were used to warn of an overheating catalytic converter (presumably the CATALYST indicator light warned of some other cat problem). Ferrari 328s had them, too.
14 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinDefinitely not worth restoring, but maybe someone will grab the Twin Cam engine for a nicer Fiat.
IMG_2237Given how cheap these cars are, we see surprisingly few 124 Sport Spiders in the 24 Hours of LeMons. I can think of a couple of Twin Cam-powered examples, and then there’s the Volkswagen TDI-powered Smokey Unit Fiat. This car is pretty quick, but its real advantage in endurance racing is its tremendous range on a tank of diesel.
19 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe last owner of this Fiat was against Proposition 86.

01 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 20 -1975 Fiat 124 Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Junkyard Find: 1973 Fiat 124 Sport Spider http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/junkyard-find-1973-fiat-124-sport-spider/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/junkyard-find-1973-fiat-124-sport-spider/#comments Mon, 28 Jan 2013 14:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=475473 Where do all these junkyard Fiat 124 Sport Spiders come from? You don’t see them on the street, you don’t see them half-covered by tarps and raccoon nests in driveways, and you don’t even see many of them at Italian car shows. And yet I’ve been seeing these cheaper-than-an-Alfa-Spider Italian sports cars at wrecking yards, […]

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Where do all these junkyard Fiat 124 Sport Spiders come from? You don’t see them on the street, you don’t see them half-covered by tarps and raccoon nests in driveways, and you don’t even see many of them at Italian car shows. And yet I’ve been seeing these cheaper-than-an-Alfa-Spider Italian sports cars at wrecking yards, at about the same rate, since I started visiting U-Pull-It in Oakland in the early 1980s. Here’s the latest example, a little green devil I spotted at U-Pull-&-Pay Denver last month.
Just in this series, we’ve seen this ’71, this ’75, this ’78, and this ’80, and we might as well add the 124′s little brother, this ’71 850 Sport Spider.
I’d like to show you photos of the Twin Cam engine that may or may not still live under the hood of this car (who knows, maybe someone with a sense of humor has swapped in a BMC B engine), but the hood release was stuck and I didn’t feel like freezing my fingers futzing with it for more than a few seconds.
The warning lights in these cars are junkyard gold— high-quality chrome and real glass lenses. I’ve used them in such projects as the Junkyard Boogaloo Boombox, the scratchbuilt instrument panel in my ’65 Impala project, and other projects. I didn’t grab these, because I’ve already got a lifetime supply in my parts stash.
What I’ve learned from all these 124 Sport Spiders that I’ve seen about to get crushed over the years is that one of these cars would make an excellent Ill-Advised Engine Swap Project. Hmmmm… it seems there’s a shop building swap bellhousings to bolt the 3-liter V6 out of an Alfa Romeo 164 to a non-transaxle, rear-wheel-drive Alfa transmission. If we listen to the Alfa Mafia, that engine makes 270 horses with mild (i.e., terrifyingly expensive) intake and exhaust modifications. Or, if you want to be boring (and not go broke), there’s always the Miata drivetrain donor.


This ad is for the ’80, but it’s pretty much the same car as today’s find, only with more smog control and uglier bumpers.

01 - 1973 Fiat 124 Sport Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1973 Fiat 124 Sport Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1973 Fiat 124 Sport Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1973 Fiat 124 Sport Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1973 Fiat 124 Sport Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1973 Fiat 124 Sport Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1973 Fiat 124 Sport Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1973 Fiat 124 Sport Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1973 Fiat 124 Sport Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1973 Fiat 124 Sport Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1973 Fiat 124 Sport Spider Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Junkyard Find: 1980 Fiat 124 Sport Spider http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/06/junkyard-find-1980-fiat-124-sport-spider/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/06/junkyard-find-1980-fiat-124-sport-spider/#comments Sun, 10 Jun 2012 13:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=447823 In all my years of snouting around in junkyards, one thing has remained constant: a sprinkling of Fiat 124 Sport Spiders. They were fairly common in junkyards in 1983, and they’re just about as common now. Where do these Fiats come from? Will the supply of forgotten project 124 Spiders ever run out? Here’s the […]

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In all my years of snouting around in junkyards, one thing has remained constant: a sprinkling of Fiat 124 Sport Spiders. They were fairly common in junkyards in 1983, and they’re just about as common now. Where do these Fiats come from? Will the supply of forgotten project 124 Spiders ever run out? Here’s the lastest example, a fuel-injected ’80 I found in a Denver self-service yard.
Fiat switched from a carburetor to Bosch fuel injection in 1980. The 1995cc Fiat Twin Cam made 86 horsepower in 1980, which beat the hell out of the final-year MGB’s 62.5 horsepower (I can’t resist comparing all Malaise Era cars to the MGB, because of that hilarious half-horsepower).
This one has a not-so-terrible interior, which means it was stored indoors prior to its final tow-truck ride (the Colorado sun can obliterate a convertible’s interior in a single summer).
I’m assuming these garish stripes were added on after the car’s initial purchase, but you never know with Malaise Era machines.

14 - 1980 Fiat Spider Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Marting 01 - 1980 Fiat Spider Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Marting 02 - 1980 Fiat Spider Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Marting 03 - 1980 Fiat Spider Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Marting 04 - 1980 Fiat Spider Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Marting 05 - 1980 Fiat Spider Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Marting 06 - 1980 Fiat Spider Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Marting 07 - 1980 Fiat Spider Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Marting 08 - 1980 Fiat Spider Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Marting 09 - 1980 Fiat Spider Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Marting 10 - 1980 Fiat Spider Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Marting 11 - 1980 Fiat Spider Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Marting 12 - 1980 Fiat Spider Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Marting 13 - 1980 Fiat Spider Down On the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Marting Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Junkyard Find: 1977 Fiat 124 Sport Spider http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/junkyard-find-1977-fiat-124-sport-spider/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/junkyard-find-1977-fiat-124-sport-spider/#comments Wed, 29 Feb 2012 14:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=432165 After yesterday’s yesterday’s ’71 Fiat Junkyard Find, we should check out the slower, uglier version of the 124 Sport Spider that resulted from Fiat’s attempts to meet American safety and emission standards. Fiat did a better job than British Leyland in this department (e.g., black-bumper MGB, Malaise Spitfire), but that’s clearing an extremely low bar. […]

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After yesterday’s yesterday’s ’71 Fiat Junkyard Find, we should check out the slower, uglier version of the 124 Sport Spider that resulted from Fiat’s attempts to meet American safety and emission standards. Fiat did a better job than British Leyland in this department (e.g., black-bumper MGB, Malaise Spitfire), but that’s clearing an extremely low bar.
As I mentioned yesterday, there appears to be an unlimited supply of forgotten 124 Spider projects in the garages and back yards of America, which results in a steady trickle of these cars showing up in junkyards. Every year since the early 1980s, the number of junked 124 Spiders remains pretty much constant. Of course, you don’t see them on the street these days, but you really didn’t see many 25 years ago, either.
If there are any Denver-area restorers who haven’t abandoned their 124 Spider projects, this intact spare-tire hardware will be a nice find.
Even though these cars were really fairly terrible, I must admit they are a lot of fun to drive. Fiat was very good at making slow cars feel fast.

01 - 1977 Fiat Spider Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Malaise Master' Greden 02 - 1977 Fiat Spider Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Malaise Master' Greden 03 - 1977 Fiat Spider Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Malaise Master' Greden 04 - 1977 Fiat Spider Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Malaise Master' Greden 05 - 1977 Fiat Spider Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Malaise Master' Greden 06 - 1977 Fiat Spider Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Malaise Master' Greden 07 - 1977 Fiat Spider Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Malaise Master' Greden 08 - 1977 Fiat Spider Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Malaise Master' Greden 09 - 1977 Fiat Spider Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Malaise Master' Greden 10 - 1977 Fiat Spider Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Malaise Master' Greden 11 - 1977 Fiat Spider Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Malaise Master' Greden 12 - 1977 Fiat Spider Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Malaise Master' Greden 13 - 1977 Fiat Spider Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Malaise Master' Greden 14 - 1977 Fiat Spider Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Malaise Master' Greden 15 - 1977 Fiat Spider Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Malaise Master' Greden 16 - 1977 Fiat Spider Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Malaise Master' Greden 17 - 1977 Fiat Spider Down on the Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Malaise Master' Greden Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Down On the Mile High Street: Fiat 124 Sport Spider http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/down-on-the-mile-high-street-fiat-124-sport-spider/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/down-on-the-mile-high-street-fiat-124-sport-spider/#comments Wed, 12 Oct 2011 15:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=414429 After seeing the sad little yellow Fiat convertible in a Denver junkyard, let’s admire a happy little yellow Fiat convertible that’s still managing to evade the cruel jaws of The Crusher. These things didn’t change much during the first few years of production, and I’m not a sufficiently maniacal devoted Fiat aficionado to spot the […]

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After seeing the sad little yellow Fiat convertible in a Denver junkyard, let’s admire a happy little yellow Fiat convertible that’s still managing to evade the cruel jaws of The Crusher.
These things didn’t change much during the first few years of production, and I’m not a sufficiently maniacal devoted Fiat aficionado to spot the subtle model-year identifiers on this car, but I’m going to guess it’s a ’70 or ’71 model. I found it parked in front of a Denver church on a Sunday, so it may be one of those much-sought-after “little old lady only drove it to church on Sunday” cars. If so, I’m impressed by the little old lady’s choice of a 40-year-old Fiat over, say, a Buick LeSabre.
This car appears to be a super-original, rust-free example; probably not worth a ton of money (if we are to go by the Hemmings Motor News Classifieds), but a lot rarer nowadays than its British competitor, the MGB. The ’71 124 Sport Spider listed at $3,382 and boasted 90 horsepower, while the ’71 MGB sold for $2,875 and had 92 horsepower. Having driven both types, I’d say both are pretty poky, but the Fiat seems faster.
DOTS-Fiat124SpiderYellow-9 DOTS-Fiat124SpiderYellow-1 DOTS-Fiat124SpiderYellow-2 DOTS-Fiat124SpiderYellow-3 DOTS-Fiat124SpiderYellow-4 DOTS-Fiat124SpiderYellow-5 DOTS-Fiat124SpiderYellow-6 DOTS-Fiat124SpiderYellow-7 DOTS-Fiat124SpiderYellow-8 Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Junkyard Find: 1978 Fiat 124 Sport Spider http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/05/junkyard-find-1978-fiat-124-sport-spider/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/05/junkyard-find-1978-fiat-124-sport-spider/#comments Mon, 02 May 2011 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=393350 Are there any 124 Spiders still driving on American streets, or is every single one sitting in a back yard or driveway, waiting for steel prices to rise high enough to trigger the final tow-truck ride to The Crusher? I keep finding these cars in high-turnover wrecking yards, and simple extrapolation of the number of […]

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Are there any 124 Spiders still driving on American streets, or is every single one sitting in a back yard or driveway, waiting for steel prices to rise high enough to trigger the final tow-truck ride to The Crusher?

I keep finding these cars in high-turnover wrecking yards, and simple extrapolation of the number of junkyards in the country indicates that the remains of hundreds of 124 Spiders must ship out on Guangzhou-bound container ships every month.

True, the Fiat Spider was a miserably underpowered and maddeningly unreliable car (though not much worse than its British Leyland competition), but is the much more beloved Alfa Spider really that much better? Wait, better not to answer that question.

Even racing stripes and metalflake blue paint couldn’t save this little Italian from its cruel fate. How many 124 Spiders remain?
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