Junkyard Find: 1973 Fiat 124 Sport Spider

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1973 fiat 124 sport spider

Where do all these junkyard Fiat 124 Sport Spider s 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.

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  • Snaab9-3 Snaab9-3 on Feb 02, 2013

    Its a shame because at first glance the bodywork looks very tidy, and I really like that green color. If I had the time, money, and an actual garage to work in this would have been a great project. I can see it now...late nights in the garage wrenching on the little Twin Cam, until I get so frustrated I sit on the garage floor chain smoking...dare to dream....

  • Briang1964 Briang1964 on Feb 12, 2013

    So just how do I get the hood, and bumpers off this car and in my California garage.

  • Dukeisduke I tried watching the live reveal last night, but after 15 minutes of jawing by MT+ personalities (and yes, I like Chris Jacobs and Alex Taylor), I turned it off.
  • Paul MBAs gonna MBA.
  • Zipper69 Clearly beyond German thought processes to simply keep A for IC engine and use "E" for all other so you can have a A6 and a E6.
  • Ianw33 It makes me laugh how many complaints i see here in the comments section. Leave it to "car enthusiasts" to be unhappy with the fact that a mainstream auto manufacturer produced a 1K HP car with a warranty that isn't $250K+. can't we just be happy that something crazy/fun exists like this before its gone, even if its not your cup of tea?
  • YellowDuck This is a completely vulgar vehicle. I understand that that is the point, but still...pretty douchey.