ALMOST 50 years after the legendary Fiat 124 Spider was launched the Italian company has announced that they are to introduce an all new roadster with the same iconic name which will go on sale in the UK later this year writes Bryan Longworth.
The original 124 Spider built by Pininfarina made its debut at the 1966 Turin Auto Show and continued in production to 1985 during which time the sports car which was the epitome of Italian flair and design became a legend.
When production ended almost 200,000 units had been built with more than 170,000 being sold in the United States and there are still nearly 8,000 registered in the States.
Fiat expect the new car which was launched at the Los Angeles Motor Show where it attracted considerable attention to boost their image and attract new buyers to the brand providing them with a welcome new model in their range.
The new 124 Spider which is a joint venture with Mazda and will be built in Japan has been designed at Centro Style in Turin and true to its celebrated predecessor it brings classic Italian styling and pure driving pleasure to a new generation.
Fiat say the new rear wheel driven 124 Spider takes its inspiration from the popular 1966 original not only in terms of its proportions and stance but also in terms of its detailing with a horizontal line from the front wing flowing to the tail lamp aping the distinctive bodywork of the original car.
And the style and position of the LED headlamps and the hexagonal upper grille draw heavily from the details of the classic roadster that was such a popular car and a Fiat icon.
Power will come from Fiat’s venerable 1.4-litre MultiAir Turbo engine producing 140hp driving the rear wheels via a six speed manual gearbox and performance statistics will be announced nearer the sale date.
The soft top has spring assisted opening and closing which eliminates the need for a power assist system and this has been specially designed so that the driver has rapid and unrestricted roof operation from the driver’s seat.
An integrated rear spoiler enhances the aerodynamics of the new 124 Spider with twin exhaust outlets underlining the performance capability of the engine.
No doubt because of the link with Mazda the new Fiat 124 Spider will be compared with the latest MX-5 but it looks quite different being classically Italian and reaction to the Fiat has been extremely favourable which is not surprising because its quite individual styling will make it another popular roadster following in the tyre tracks of the original model.
The European version of the 124 Spider made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show this week when there were some tweaks to the car displayed at LA which was for the US market.
Verdict: A real Fiat image booster.
Model: New Fiat 124 Spider.
Engine: 1.4-litre MultiAir Turbo.
Drive: Rear wheel drive.
Roof: Soft top manually operated.
UK sale date: Later this year.
Price: To be confirmed.