Down On the Mile High Street: Fiat 124 Sport Spider
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 [s]maniacal[/s] 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.
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One little factoid I found on the web is that these spiders were the ONLY iteration of the 124 that had the DOHC motor, the other versions of this model soldiered on with the OHV/pushrod motors. These were first introduced in 1966 and finally ceased production in 1985, a long run indeed. This one looks to be a very nice example indeed. I have spotted several of these around Seattle this spring/summer and recently saw a nice red one being driven about a month ago. I've also spotted several of the Alpha Romeo Spiders as well, mostly from the 1980's and spotted a nice light orange 850 spider that looked to be restored zoom up the street outside work over the summer.
Nice. I was about to purchase a 73 back in 2000, but my inner-mechanic told me he was on strike, so I didn't. But my inner-stoner wishes he did. Now both of them agree on a pre-fiat Lancia Fulvia, but the inner-wallet doesn't think it can deliver the goods!