Junkyard Find: 1980 Fiat 124 Sport Spider

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
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junkyard find 1980 fiat 124 sport spider

Will the steady procession of Fiat 124 Spiders into America’s self-service wrecking yards never cease? So far in this series, we’ve seen this ’71, this ’73, this ’75, this ’76, this ’78, this ’80, this ’80, and now yet another sporty little Fiat from the Malaisiest year of them all. Here’s a beat-up but not hopeless example I spotted in Northern California.

Unlike its MGB competitor (then on its last year of production), you could get the 1980 124 Sport Spider with factory fuel injection. 80 horsepower, which today’s American car buyers would consider unacceptable in a lawn tractor.

The interior yielded some good stuff to a lucky Fiat owner, looks like.

These cars rusted even in California, but this one looks solid.

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Writer d'Elegance Brougham Landau.

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  • Nooly Nooly on Feb 18, 2015

    These are great cars if you can find one without rust. Upgrade to electronic ignition on the older models, add a header and a Weber carb, and the car is a blast to drive. You have a little bit of a back seat, a very user-friendly top mechanism (literally takes a few seconds to put it up or down), coil springs and discs all the way around, and a 5 speed transmission versus the 4 speeds of the competitors of the day. If you're mechanical at all, then the car is very easy to maintain. Great cars, but beware of the rust!

  • MRF 95 T-Bird MRF 95 T-Bird on Feb 19, 2015

    The post 1980 models seemed to be of better quality and more reliable with fuel injection. After Fiat ditched the U.S market in 1982 Malcolm Bricklin sold these as the Pinafarina until around 1985. Those cars seemed to be better made, I doubt many around are rusty and had a more modern dashboard.

  • Marty S Corey, thanks for your comment. Mercedes has many different models, and will survive. Jaguar is planning on only offering electric models and will be in trouble. They should continue their ICE models as long as possible, but have discontinued the F-Type already and will probably be discontinuing everything else. We purchased the current XF this year, which is a nice car, but would have been splendid if they had just continued the supercharged V-6 in it.By the way, I have really enjoyed your Continental and Eldorado series. Was just showing it to my barber, who owned several 1954-56 Eldorado convertibles.
  • Marques My father had one of these. A black 1984 Pulsar NX with a 5-speed stick and a grey interior. Dad always kept it in pristine shape-that black paint was shiny even in the middle of the night. I swear I could still smell the Rain Dance carnauba wax! The only issue that car ever had was that it was never driven enough-it would sit for 10 days at a time! The Hitachi carburetor on it(and other Nissans of the time) were known to be troublesome. It went to the boneyard at 72K miles when a hole got punched in the block. By that time the Pulsar had long ceased production.
  • VoGhost This is the only new vehicle I have the slightest interest in.
  • VoGhost I love it. Can't wait to get one. Finally, trucks are becoming actually capable, and it's great for America.
  • Peter Just waiting for Dr. Who to show up with his Tardis, and send these things back to the hellish dark dimension from which they came.