Opinion as well as picture special: Why is actually Fiat reviving a classic by bringing back the 124 Spider?
The 2016 Fiat 124 Spider
The original 124 Spider was never a huge seller nevertheless This specific did wonders for the Italian a new’s image as well as Fiat is actually hoping lightning can strike twice
The original Fiat 124 Spider was a quietly remarkable product. Elegantly styled by Pininfarina, This specific was on sale for 19 years with hardly any adjustments to the looks as well as only modest updates to the running gear.
Although sales were never rip-roaring – This specific averaged around 20,000 units per year over its life – This specific did much for the Fiat brand, especially inside the US where upwards of three quarters of production was sold inside the US.
Indeed, while a recession as well as fuel crisis killed the vehicle in Europe in 1973, This specific was re-engineered to meet the pollution as well as safety regulations demanded for 1975 style year cars in California as well as the wider US.
So robust was demand for the 124, of which when the Fiat nameplate was withdrawn via the US in 1982, sales continued for another two years under the Pininfarina badge.
The 124 Spider also produced a genuine icon style inside the form of the Fiat Abarth 124 Rally, which was successful in European competition before This specific was usurped by the classic Fiat 131.
No surprise, then, of which Fiat wants to revive the roadster when the Fiat brand is actually again engaged inside the super-competitive US market.
So, the fresh 124 will surely help Fiat’s image of being cool as well as funky as well as the roadster format is actually certainly more in tune with the US tastes than the tiny 500. Indeed, the larger 500X SUV became Fiat’s best selling style as soon as This specific was launched inside the US.
The 124 will not substantially change Fiat’s fortunes inside the US, nevertheless This specific is actually a gamble inside the sense of being so obviously derived via the fresh Mazda MX-5.
The original 124 is actually one of Fiat’s solid-gold heritage products, nevertheless Fiat could be running a risk by selling a fresh style of which is actually not as authentically Fiat as the current 500 family.
A short history of the Fiat 124 Spider
The 124 Spider makes its debut at the Turin motor show. Designed by Pininfarina stylist Tom Tjaarda, who worked on the Ferrari 275, the vehicle goes into production that has a 1.4-litre twin-cam motor producing 89bhp. This specific reaches the US market in 1968.
The first major upgrade to the Spider brings a 1.6-litre engine producing a heady 109bhp – pretty decent for a car of which didn’t weigh much over 900kg.
An Abarth-tuned, 1.8-litre motorsport edition of the Spider (backed by a homologation-special production edition) wins the Polish as well as Acropolis Rallies as Fiat gears up the vehicle for a full World Rally Championship campaign. This specific never quite fulfils its potential, though – as well as within three years This specific’s dropped in favour of the 131 Abarth.
Fiat tweaks the Spider to comply with American crash regulations – as well as decides of which This specific’s not worth doing This specific similarly compatible with European rules, so a decade after launch, the vehicle becomes a US-only style.
The Spider’s transformation to an American style is actually complete; Fiat does a deal with GM to offer the firm’s three-speed automatic transmission. This specific also increases the engine size to 2.0 litres as well as adjustments the name to Spider 2000.
Fiat switches the 2.0-litre engine over to Bosch fuel injection as well as introduces a catalytic converter. This specific set-up, with 102bhp, is actually designed for the Californian market nevertheless This specific’s offered as an option across the rest of the US.
A turbocharged edition of the Spider is actually sold as a joint development between Fiat USA as well as Legend Industries. This specific brings 120bhp as well as a 0-60mph time of under nine seconds, nevertheless many owners subsequently revert their cars back to normally aspirated specification after Fiat’s American dealer network is actually wound down in 1983.
As part of its withdrawal via the American market, Fiat drops the Spider as well as hands production over to Pininfarina. The Italian design house brings the vehicle back to Europe, as well as continuing to sell This specific inside the US as the Spider Azzura.
The final couple of years of production at Pininfarina add just 4000-odd cars to the total number (taking This specific to nearly 0,000 units) nevertheless bring the most powerful edition of the Spider Azzura yet, that has a supercharged edition of the 2.0-litre engine producing 133bhp. the vehicle’s engine might live on in different classic Italian cars, though; a further turbocharged development of the unit was used inside the Lancia Delta Integrale.
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