Fiat 124 Spider (1966 – 1985) Review

Fiat 124 Spider (1966 – 1985) At A Glance


+A good alternative to the MGB and Alfa Romeo Spider - and it's better to drive

-The best ones are left-hand drive

The Fiat 124 Sport Spider was a Pininfarina designed and built open-topped addition to the Fiat range, taking over from the slow-selling 1500S Cabriolet. Little did the company know just how long-lived and popular it would prove over the years. Being a Pininfarina design - and knowing that design house's prediliction to recycle its designs - it was no surprise to see it using any number of Ferrari styling cues.

It was great to drive, and helped on to a great performance by Fiat’s excellent twin-cam engines. All are left-hand drive and around 85% of them were sold in America, although upwards of 1500 have since been imported to the UK. As with the 124 Coupé the first and last cars are most popular with collectors, pre-1975 cars having lower suspension and prettier slimline bumpers, 1979-on Spiders got Bosch fuel-injected two-litre engines, with the final two-years' production run also including a fast supercharged Volumex version. From 1982-85 complete production passed to Pininfarina, and it ceased being sold as a Fiat, changing identity to the Pininfarina Spidereuropa.

Ask Honest John

Is a 1975 Fiat 124 Spider likely to increase in value?

"Is it worth buying a classic 1975 Fiat 124 Spider? It's in good nick with recent new floor pans and no other rust. As with all classic cars, it will need money spent on it. Will it keep or increase in value, or just be one of those classics that has no market traction?"
While these are pretty cars with a strong following, it's unlikely their market value will increase substantially over the next few years. The current Fiat Spider has renewed interest in them, but the time to buy was before that car was launched. Almost no old car is rust free or excluded from issues - as you rightly say, all old cars need money spending on them. Is it worth buying? That depends entirely on you. Do you want to buy it? Do you like it? What do you need it to do? If you're looking for a family car to run daily, then this isn't it. If you're looking for something for high days and holidays that offers something a little bit different, then something along these lines could be a good shout. If you're looking for a serious investment, you're at the wrong end of the market. Would you maintain it yourself or have a specialist look after it? How expensive are the parts? Have you looked at any other examples or driven one? Try not to buy the first car you see; and make sure you grab a test drive - you may find that it's not a good fit for you.
Answered by Keith Moody

Why did a dealer want me to wait three months to register an ex-demo car in my name?

"A month ago I agreed to buy an ex demonstrator Fiat Spider 124. After I paid my deposit, the salesman called to tell me that he couldn't put the car into my name for three months. I didn't really understand why but I was concerned about the implications on my insurance of driving a car that wasn't registered to me. I pulled out and they refunded my deposit. In panic (because I needed a new car quickly), I bought a pre-registered Hyundai i20 very cheaply - which is alright, but not what I wanted. I now have money left to buy a classic convertible with and I will be less worried leaving the Hyundai at the station while I'm at work, but I still mourn for the Fiat. Did I act too quickly in pulling out of the sale?"
The basis of the deal on the Fiat Spider was that it was registered as the dealer demonstrator and had to remain registered as the dealer demonstrator for another three months to qualify for whatever preferential price the dealer had bought it for. You would have had to legitimise the proposed deal with your insurer (no different from leasing a car) and would have had the worry that any ANPR tickets would have gone to the dealer as registered keeper and might not have been passed on to you as the 'driver' until additional penalties were incurred.
Answered by Honest John
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