Junkyard Gem: 1974 Fiat 124 Sport Spider

Fiat sole a Pininfarina-designed 124 Sport Spider in North America for a 1966 by 1980 indication years, followed by a few years of importation by Malcolm Bricklin as a Pininfarina Spider. During a 1970s, these inexpensive and lightweight sports cars sole well, and adequate of them still wait oft-postponed restorations that copiousness of them still uncover adult in wrecking yards to this day. Here’s a rusty though finish ’74 in a Denver-area self-service yard.

This wouldn’t even count as real decay in Maine or Michigan, though it’s a genocide judgment for a Denver Spider.

According to a emissions-test sticker, it was pushing in Colorado as recently as 1994. The fundamental poise of an Italian automobile keeps these cars around even after they mangle (which happens with good frequency), though their affordability creates owners demure to spend genuine income on regulating problems. This means that many thousands of 124 Sport Spiders lay in driveways, yards, and garages around a continent, available repairs that (in many cases) will never come.

Eventually, a associate or landlord or homeowners’ organisation has had enough, and a aged Fiat plan takes that final, unhappy tow-truck outing to a graveyard.

The 1,756cc Twin Cam engine in this automobile was rated during 92.5 horsepower, that was decent energy for a 2,128-pound automobile in 1974. The current Miata-based 124 Spider has 160-164 horses and weighs only a few hundred pounds more, though expectations have altered given a dim days of the Malaise Era.

The 124 Sport Spider’s categorical opposition in North America was a princely MGB. Both cars were scandalous for trustworthiness problems, though so what? Commuting in an affordable small European automobile was approach some-more fun than chugging around city in a Corolla or Pinto. In 1974, a 124 Spider had a $4,395 cost tab (about 23 grand today), and a MGB cost a small $3,925. The MGB was heavier and had only 78.5 horsepower from a sturdy-but-primitive pushrod engine (yes, British Leyland claimed a half-horse instead of rounding down), though was most some-more solidly built; if not for a flaky electrical complement done by The Prince of Darkness, a MGB would have obliterated a 124 Spider in a dependability department.

I always squeeze these pleasing metal-and-glass warning lights when we find them in junked Fiats; we have commissioned them in all from Impala instrument panels to homemade car-parts boomboxes.

Of course, a 129-horse 1974 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce could eat adult both a 124 Sport Spider and a MGB, though it cost a cold-sweat-inducing $5,258. There was always a $3,935 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia convertible, though it suffered from a sputtering 46-horsepower engine and a hilariously old-fashioned framework design.

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