Down On the Mile High Street: Fiat 124 Sport Spider

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
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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  • Ciddyguy Ciddyguy on Oct 13, 2011

    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.

    • CJinSD CJinSD on Oct 13, 2011

      The Fiat 124 Coupé and the 1974 FIAT 124 TC Sport Sedan shared variats of the Lampredi DOHC engine. I once used a 1974 124TC sport sedan as a parts car to source a turn signal housing for my Sport Spider, so I know they really did exist.

  • Akirachan Akirachan on Oct 16, 2011

    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!

  • Brandon What is a "city crossover"?
  • Tassos What was the last time we had any good news from Ford? (or GM for that matter?)The last one was probably when Alan Mulally was CEO. Were you even born back then?Fields was a total disaster, then they go hire this clown from Toyota's PR department, the current Ford CEO, Fart-ley or something.He claims to be an auto enthusiast too (unlike Mary Barra who is even worse, but of course always forgiven, as she is the proud owner of a set of female genitals.
  • Tassos I know some would want to own a collectible Mustang. (sure as hell not me. This crappy 'secretary's car' (that was exactly its intended buying demo) was as sophisticated (transl. : CRUDE) as the FLintstone's mobile. Solid Real Axle? Are you effing kidding me?There is a huge number of these around, so they are neither expensive nor valuable.WHen it came out, it was $2,000 or so new. A colleague bought a recent one with the stupid Ecoboost which also promised good fuel economy. He drives a hard bargain and spends time shopping and I remember he paid $37k ( the fool only bought domestic crap, but luckily he is good with his hands and can fix lots of stuff on them).He told me that the alleged fuel economy is obtained only if you drive it like a VERY old lady. WHich defeats the purpose, of course, you might as well buy a used Toyota Yaris (not even a Corolla).
  • MRF 95 T-Bird Back when the Corolla consisted of a wide range of body styles. This wagon, both four door and two door sedans, a shooting brake like three door hatch as well as a sports coupe hatchback. All of which were on the popular cars on the road where I resided.
  • Wjtinfwb Jeez... I've got 3 Ford's and have been a defender due to my overall good experiences but this is getting hard to defend. Thinking the product durability testing that used to take months to rack up 100k miles or more is being replaced with computer simulations that just aren't causing these real-world issues to pop up. More time at the proving ground please...