The Fiat 124 Spider is the most commercially successful Italian sports car ever. It was popular when it was launched, it was popular throughout its production life, and even today the car has a surprising amount of committed enthusiasts who are proud of their little piece of Italian motoring genius. With a belt drive, twin cam locomotive under the panama, it was a determined and sugary player, whilst well positioned coil sprung back suspension and four controls disc brakes gave it wonderful dynamic performance and refinement that was way beyond its British competitors. These factors have helped ensure that no one who ever drives one will forget its unique, chirpy character. The handsome body was styled by none other than Pininfarina and had enduring appeal, even when ugly federal style bumpers were hung on it in the mid 1970s to comply with safety regulations in North America, always the model’s biggest market. Five gear were initially optional, then later a standard fitment, and there was even an automatic version in later years. Engine capacity grew over the years, too, first to 1608cc in 1969, then to 1756cc in 1972, with a new 1592cc 1600 base model being added.
A 2 liter engine became standard across the range from 1979, as Fiat tried to counter increasing power sapping emission regulations. Fuel injection was introduced in 1980. The ultimate version was the super charged VX, which came equipped with thundering a 135 bhp powerplant. Production ceased in 1985, with the later variants being marked as Pininfarina rather than straight Fiat Spiders.