'Back to the Future' is Best With Eastern European Cars (Video)

The Internet flooded with terrible references to “Back to the Future” on Wednesday ( guilty), but the only one that really matters has no corporate tie-in, no thin threads to questionable technologies — hell, it doesn’t even have Michael J. Fox.

The best one of the day may very well be a re-enactment of some parts of the movies with Eastern European crapboxes.

The Polish remake, dubbed “Wreck to the Future” is all you need to scratch the itch you didn’t know you had. Let’s dissect.

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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.

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Junkyard Find: 1980 Fiat 124 Sport Spider

Once again, we are reminded that examples of the Fiat 124 Sport Spider have been a junkyard constant for my entire 33-year junkyard-haunting career. So far in this series, we’ve seen this ’71, this ’73, this ’75, this ’76, this ’78, this ’80, and now I’ve found another 1980 Sport Spider in a snowy Denver self-service yard.

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Junkyard Find: 1976 Fiat 124 Sport Spider

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. 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.

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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.

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Junkyard Find: 1980 Fiat 124 Sport Spider

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.

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Junkyard Find: 1977 Fiat 124 Sport Spider

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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Junkyard Find: 1971 Fiat 124 Sport Spider

In my 30 years of crawling through junkyards, one thing has remained constant: there’s almost always a Fiat 124 Sport Spider to be found. Crusher-bound 124 Spiders are about exactly as common now as they were in the early 1980s, and I suspect they’ll be just as common in 2032. I usually don’t even bother to photograph them (though I have documented this ’78 and this ’75), but lately I’ve developed some affection for the sports car that made the MGB seem reliable. Here’s one— a little older than most— that I spotted in a Northern California yard earlier in the month.

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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.

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Junkyard Find: 1978 Fiat 124 Sport Spider

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?

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When 86 Horsepower Was More Than Enough For a Sports Car!

OK, we’ll admit that the ’75 Fiat 124 Spider was ridiculously underpowered with just 86 horsepower out of its Twin Cam engine, but compare that to the 62.5 horsepower of the ’75 MGB, a car so miserable that its manufacturer couldn’t afford to round the power figure down a half-horse.

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  • Jwee You can avoid American cities, and both you and the Americans would be happier.
  • Bryan I used Costco a while back, and didn't care for it - you still wind up going to the dealership.The last time I bought a new car I used an actual car broker and I'll use one again the next time. Whatever they charged me was the best money I spent that year.
  • SCE to AUX Just add a split rear window, and the hybrid sins will be forgiven.
  • SCE to AUX Just add a split rear window, and the hybrid sins will be forgiven.
  • SCE to AUX Maybe those union dues will help soften the landing. Employment there used to be 4000 people, and the plant has been at risk for 15 years. Stellantis did recently say that it would be trimming dead wood so it could rebuild the company. The Cherokee is finished, but I bet the plant reopens with a smaller workforce once Stellantis figures out what to do with it.