The quintessential 1970s styling of the Fiat 124 Spider actually came to market in 1966. Based on the 124 sedan chassis, Pininfarina, shorted it and then clothed it in the familiar lithe 2+2 body, which carried the car right the way through to 1982 production. Originally powered by a 1438cc twincam ‘4’, the capacity grew to 1600cc, then 1.8 and finally 2-liter through the model run. Disc brakes at each corner, a standard 5-speed ‘box, and lively performance from a great Italian chassis/suspension package and brisk 115mph performance, especially from the early smog-equipment-free cars, made the model a raging success for the company.
This unusually colored French Blue 1971 Fiat 124 Spider was purchased new by Kathy E. on September 28, 1971 from McArthur Olds-Cadillac in Greely, Colorado. It was a gift to herself as a 2nd car, having just secured a position as a professor at the University of Northern Colorado. The previous ASE master tech owner purchased the car from her on February 7, 2000 with 88,810 on the odometer, as a very clean example. The car was tastefully updated by him with twin Weber carburetors mounted on a rare, unavailable in the US, NLA Fiat factory “waffle” intake manifold, with a centrifugal advance Marelli Plex electronic performance distributor, specifically designed to work with this intake setup. Also, a set of magnesium Cromodora Daytona wheels were sourced, and an ANSA exhaust with a wonderful raspy tone. Koni yellow shocks have been fitted and offer good ride quality with a sporty feel
The car was repainted in the original color in the 1990s to a high standard and the two-stage finish remains in excellent condition with good lustre and shine with only a few blemishes on door edges, etc. A new soft top was custom made by Electron using Mercedes Benz Sonnenland cloth and features hand rolled French bindings. All glass and chrome is original and in good condition, while headlights are Euro-spec Hella H4 items, and the driver’s side mirror has been replaced with a Vitaloni Sebring.
The seats have been reupholstered in Italian leather using OEM patterns, while the steering wheel is an Abarth item with checkered horn button that the previous owner brought home from Italy in his carry-on luggage. Period style sisal Cocomats are matched to the original “cornrow” carpets and wood veneers show none of the peeling or fading that is common in these cars apart from a small section the right of the stick shift. Door panels, radio, kick panels, center console and other interior fittings are original. The dash has the unfortunately usual cracks from the center air vents.
Fresh from service, the car drives exceptionally well, having covered only 1500 miles under the third ownership in a couple of years. The engine is responsive with good power and the car shifts well through all gears. The suspension feels taut and brakes work well. All electrical systems work as they should.
The car is an excellent driver in an unusual color scheme, with tasteful and rare upgrades. With the desirable skinny chrome bumpers and lack of smog equipment, this represents a great opportunity to own a very drivable classic Italian roadster.