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Fiat 124 Spider. Open enjoyment in triplicate

Fiat 124 Spider. Enjoy in triplicate
ER Classics Desktop 2022

In the coming Auto Motor Klassiek edition you can read a beautiful story written by Aart van der Haagen. In it he describes the Fiat 124 Sport Spider from 1971, which was also featured in the magazine 27 years ago. And in a while you will read the story of father and son Verhaag from Leeuwarden. They have a total of three copies of this beautiful long-runner from the countless series of Fiat models, and we took them with us one beautiful morning to a beautiful location in Aldtsjerk.

Because that's what it was. And to start with the location: that is Landgoed De Klinze, which is situated in an exceptionally rustic environment. Traditionally, this was a catering establishment and hotel. Since 2016, the beautiful building (and the stables) has belonged to bed specialist Meulen en Baarsma, which, among other things, turned the Klinze into a trial sleeping hotel and offers beds in all shapes and sizes in beautiful showrooms. With the willing cooperation of Dirk van der Meulen, we make a beautiful report.

Appropriate setting


The open Fiat 124 fits very well. The combination of elegant and powerful lines makes the Italian sports car chic. The design and appearance of this beautiful car in triplicate come into their own beautifully on the beautiful Frisian estate. And that triple is called Spider, not a Sport Spider. The years are in fact 1974, 1979 and 1981, and all three returned from the United States. That is the country for which the Spiders were built exclusively in northern Italy from model year 1975.

Photographer working with three Spiders

Due to the number of three Spiders, photographer Bart Spijker is busier than expected, because initially the intention is to go out with two 124 Spiders. But in Leeuwarden we jointly take the decision to also bring the very first Spider from the Verhaag empire: an 1800, and more specifically: that is the SpiderAmerica that Michel bought. Michel fueled the virus in his father with this car, and not much later Verhaag senior also opted for a 124 Spider. Piet has a red CS2 with the lovely 2-litre Lampredi engine and Weber carburetion under the hood. The third is a 2000 with injection, from 1981, codename CS0† Just like the CS1, this one is in Michel's name and is the only one blessed with an automatic transmission. Like his manual 1800, it was painted in a moody and distinctive Nero. So, then you are informed.

Rare column

Just the prospect of going out with three Spiders makes it necessary. You don't often see three Fiat 124 Spiders in a column, and that also applies to the necessary passers-by who raise a hand and the consequence greet the Spiders. I see it from the car I drive, together with photographer Spijker I find myself in the only automatic in the three-headed Spider group. The automatic transmission is mated to the delightfully responsive and balanced two-litre Lampredi engine, which adds wonderful weight to the scale. The combination between the 132 CS3.031 engine and the automatic gearbox is a bliss. The automatic transmission and the engine feel good and match the already massive impression that the Fiat 124 Spider makes, regardless of configuration.

Solidly built

The Fiats have an excellent, sturdy and perfectly sprung chassis. In addition, the construction of the body is particularly rigid for a car with a convertible top. That gives an extra dimension to the wonderful touring capabilities of the Spiders. What helps is that in fact all operation is accompanied by a wonderful dose of communication. The steering is top notch in all respects and communicates very well what it does. It can also be operated excellently in all respects, and it carries out commands in a dosed, precise and without delay. The accelerator pedal and the engine understand each other, and that also applies to the excellently working brake system. And what is equally pleasant: the seats are great, and you sit nice and low in the Fiat. The bonus that you get as a taller driver is that the footwell extends far forward. The Pininfarina designers tuned the seating position to that at the time and we'll just say it: it is really excellent.

Special experience with extra dimension

Open-top driving is of course always a special experience, but driving a Fiat 124 Spider gives an extra dimension to the pure touring experience. Regardless of whether it has an automatic transmission or a manual transmission. And that goes beyond the wind in your hair and the fantastic engine sound that embraces you even more open. The Spiders show for a day why this car was the example for every competitor at home and abroad. Regardless of engine (and certainly in combination with the larger four-cylinder Lampredi twin cams), every Spider proves its qualities. They are at a very high level.

But first…..the report in AMK 7-2022

You owe the report with father and son Verhaag and the three Spiders. Because as said: in AMK 7-2022 you can read a story about the Fiat 124 Spider BS1 that returns in the magazine after years. And rest assured that Aart van der Haagen's cover story will be a fantastic one. And do you want to know what to expect in the upcoming Auto Motor Klassiek Edition? Then go to the preview of the july issue.

Many thanks to:

Dirk van der Meulen van Meulen & Baarsma
Piet and Michel Verhaag

Bart Spijker

Fiat 124 Spider. Enjoy in triplicate
Three Fiat 124 Spiders in a row in front of the stately building of Meulen & Baarsma. In the middle the red 2000 by Piet Verhaag, on both sides the Spiders by Michel Verhaag, with the manual 1800 on the left and the 2000 injection with automatic transmission on the right. © Bart Spijker
Fiat 124 Spider. Enjoy in triplicate
Fits very well in this chic setting. ©Bart Spijker
Fiat 124 Spider. Enjoy in triplicate
Engine designation, with trunk lock. Special solution. ©Bart Spijker
Fiat 124 Spider. Enjoy in triplicate
A Spider can also handle it well, with the 1.8 Lampredi engine. ©Bart Spijker
Fiat 124 Spider. Enjoy in triplicate
In the foreground Piet's Fiat 124 Spider 2000, in the distance the Fiat 124 CS1 SpiderAmerica with 1.8 engine by Michel
© Bart Spijker
Fiat 124 Spider. Enjoy in triplicate
It's a party to photograph the Fiats in a setting like this
Fiat 124 Spider. Enjoy in triplicate
Open twice, close once. The Fiats are photogenic
Fiat 124 Spider. Enjoy in triplicate
Now viewed from the rear, the trio also shows its elegant sportiness. The V-shapes at the rear were devised by Tom Tjaarda.
Fiat 124 Spider. Enjoy in triplicate
Lovely interior where two adults have an excellent place

6 Comments

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  1. louis,
    These are beautiful cars. Fiat then made beautiful sports cars for the relatively small wallet. The FIAT 128 COUPE SPORT/128 3P were also nice cars to see. Have had a FIAT 128 COUPE SPORT myself. Driven all over Europe from Finland to Sicily always only had a broken exhaust in Finland.

  2. Superb cars. One of the many iconic designs by Maestro Pininfarina.

    A big minus in my view are the ugly American bumpers that killed the original design of many European classics. Likewise here. I wouldn't want to drive around with bumpers like that.

  3. What beautiful cars they are, especially in the USA version! Especially the automatic is very desirable!
    Is the larger taillight a feature of the 2 liters?

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