In November 1966 – shortly after the introduction of the Fiat 124 Sedan – Fiat launched the Spider version of this 124. Pininfarina was responsible for development and production, which had a chassis shortened by 14 cm from the Fiat 124 Sedan aforementioned. The design of the Fiat 124 Sport Spider was powerful and controversial. Connoisseurs call it one of Pininfarina’s best and most successful designs. It has always been a coveted car. Certainly the European versions – like the debutante with the 1438cc engine – are sought after and rare items. The Abarth 124 Rally based on the Spider – actually too brutal for road use – also enjoys great exclusivity and interest.
In 1970 the Fiat 124 Sport Spider – after the first aesthetic changes had already been made in 1969 – received the 1608 cc engine from the Fiat 125, but with a power of 110 HP. The power source – available in addition to the 1438 cc – breathed through 2 twin Weber IDF-40 carburettors and gave the Sport Spider a top speed of 185 kilometers per hour. From the outside, the larger-engined Sport Spider was recognizable by the two bubbles on the bonnet: these were intended to accommodate the high-body power unit. In August 1972, Fiat supplied the Sport Spider with the new – longer – engine from the 132. This had a displacement of 1592 cc. A year later it was joined by the larger 1756cc, which delivered 118hp. They were equipped with a double Weber carburettor.
Departure from Europe, change of name
In the United States, the Fiat 124 Sport Spider was so successful that from 1975 Fiat began producing the car exclusively for North America, with the 1756 cc power source. This variant of the Fiat 124 kept the Sport Spider name until 1978. In 1979 the car was renamed Spider 2000. The type designation referred, among other things, to its new engine with a displacement of 1995 cc .
In 1981, a blown version also appeared in America – as a result of the collaboration between Fiat and Legend Industries. Towards the end of 1981, Pininfarina – the de facto founder – took over the entire car production process. During these years, the car was also available again in Europe. In the fall of 1982, Fiat withdrew the 124 Spider from the program. The legendary design also remained in production. He continued his career in Europe under the name Pininfarina Spidereuropa. In America it was called Pininfarina Azzura. The US version was fitted as standard with leather interior trim, a stereo radio-cassette player and power side windows.
Special version: Spidereuropa Volumex
In 1983 a special edition – limited to 500 pieces – Spidereuropa Volumex was even introduced. The two-liter engine was fitted with a Rootes supercharger. This adjustment led to an output of 135 hp and a top speed of 190 kilometers per hour. After nearly 200,000 Spiders, production of the original Fiat 124 Sport Spider ended in 1985.
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8000 more spiders registered in the US, also popular in Europe
The majority of all Spiders built (both “Fiat” and “Pininfarina”) were sold in the United States: more than 170,000 examples made their way there between 1968 and 1985. According to Fiat, there are still around 8 000 copies registered in the United States. But the powerfully drawn and beloved character classic still enjoys significant interest in Europe as well. Several copies are brought back to our continent. This is not without reason, because in our opinion the cosmetic and technical properties create a beautiful harmony between sportiness, flair and solidity.
Read also :
– Fiat 124 Special, a world car
– Fiat 124 Sport Coupé, timeless beauty.
– Read also Fiat 125. The Italian sports sedan with volume.
– Fiat 130 and the specialist
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