The iconic Fiat 124 Spider turned 50 on November 3rd, which prompted us to reflect on its evolution dating back to its introduction at the 1966 Turin Auto Show in Italy.
This little roadster was initially created for drivers seeking fun, brilliant performance at an affordable price. It picked up most of the mechanics of the Fiat 124 sedan, but stood out for the overall high quality of its finish, its accessories, and its colours. Styling was modern, yet restrained, and well proportioned. It’s no wonder: Fiat called on Pininfarina, its long-time partner and a respected name in automotive car design, to create the 124 Spider.
The interior was also carefully crafted with anatomic seats, wood trim, and a very complete dashboard for the time, while under the hood a 1.4L inline 4-cylinder engine rated at 90 horsepower allowed the car to reach a top speed of 170 km/h.
About 25,000 units of the first series were made until 1969. Seeing how the Americans loved the proportions and quintessential Italian style of the Spider, as its top could be quickly and easily folded directly from the driver's seat, Fiat soon launched the second version and adapted it to U.S. requirements.
Production of the Fiat 124 Spider continued until 1982 for exports to the U.S. where the model was still very successful, accounting for three quarters of the 200,000+ units sold worldwide.
Setting out to fascinate a new generation of driver, the 124 Spider came back in 2015 at the Los Angeles Auto Show, packed with thrills, technology, and safety. It is inspired by some of the details of its 1966 predecessor and reinterprets them in a modern way.
An example of the new Fiat 124 Spider America limited number special series was displayed at the 2016 Paris Auto Show earlier this fall. It reproduces the magnetic bronze livery, while the mirror caps are silver colour and the leather interior is tobacco. Customers can order 17" light-alloy rims in a classic design and a rear parcel rack developed by Mopar to enhance the vintage personality of the car.