If any manufacturer knows how successful the revival of a classic can be it would be Fiat, the new 500 stole the hearts of millions of drivers when it launched and they are about to do it again.
The Fiat 124
The Fiat 124 Spider first launched in 1966 at the Turin auto show and was on sale right through to 1980, and until 1985 under a slightly different name. The 2+2 soft top tourer was a hit for both loyal Fiat fans and many who were new to the brand. The light weight feel and famous Italian design meant it was always going to be a success. It even went on to do well in the rally world with a famous Abarth version with a matte black bonnet you may have seen a certain sacked Top Gear Presenter trying to recreate recently.
The New Broom
It seems the new version of the 124 has been on the cards for a while. However, recently Fiat officials have been suggesting they will bring the launch forward and it may even see the light of the camera flash at the Frankfurt motor show in September, or perhaps the LA show in November. The second option could be a critical one as the US market was certainly a big one for the original 124 Spider when it launched and throughout its life.
The Look Of Love
As with all Italian cars, the look is very important indeed, although function is not ignored, if it doesn’t look good it will never get off the drawing board. The new 124 is no exception, and it is based on a very special car underneath. Fiat are essentially re-styling the new Mazda MX-5 for this launch, this kind of thing is very common right across the industry but it gets very interesting when the template car is such an icon in its own right. In terms of Roadsters (small convertibles) the MX-5 is pretty much the king, using it can only give the 124 an even bigger chance of success than it already had. Fiat have suggested it is going to be a very masculine looking car, and it seems from concept images this feeling will be created with longer overhangs front and back as well as a muscular stance.
What engines the initial launch car will have is a matter of some debate but it could well be the excellent turbo charged Twin Air engine seen in the Fiat 500. This is likely to be somewhat tuned to bring a little more power to the table for this rear wheel driver roadster but the really exciting thing is that Fiat say they will make an Abarth version. Abarth are well known for making Fiats go a lot faster than they would normally, the Abarth 500 is a famous city car for F1 drivers among others and an Abarth 124 Spider will be a real treat. It has been rumoured Fiat might pop the amazing engine from the Alfa Romeo 4C in the 124 if Abarth are going to get hold of it, but at nearly 240 bhp this might be a bit much for some drivers.
Everyone loves a roadster, and millions of people have shown they love a classic Fiat in a new format, is it any wonder Fiat are looking to bring the launch of the 124 Spider forward? and being based on the MX-5 can only make this car even better!