In November 1966 – not long after the introduction of the Fiat 124 Sedan – Fiat launched the Spider version of this 124. Pininfarina was responsible for the development and production, which had a chassis shortened by 14 cm of the aforementioned Fiat 124 Sedan. 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 – such as the debutant with the 1438cc engine – are sought after and rare objects. The Abarth 124 Rally based on the Spider – actually too brutal for street use – also enjoys great exclusivity and interest.
In 1970 the Fiat 124 Sport Spider - after the first cosmetic changes had already been made in 1969 - got 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 double Weber IDF-40 carburetors and gave the Sport Spider a top speed of 185 kilometers per hour. From the outside, the larger-engine Sport Spider was recognizable by the two bubbles on the hood: they were intended to accommodate the high-body power unit. In August 1972, Fiat provided the Sport Spider with the new – and longer-constructed – engine from the 132. This had a cylinder capacity of 1592 cc. A year later, it was joined by the larger 1756 cc, which delivered 118 HP. They were fitted with one twin Weber carburettor.
Departure from Europe, name change
In the United States, the Fiat 124 Sport Spider was so successful that from 1975 Fiat started producing the car exclusively for North America, with the 1756 cc power source. This Fiat 124 variant kept the name Sport Spider 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 production process of the car. In those years, the car was also available in Europe again. 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 as Pininfarina Spidereuropa. In America he was called Pininfarina Azzura. The American version was standard equipped with leather interior trim, a stereo radio cassette player and electrically operated side windows.
Special version: Spidereurope Volumex
In 1983, a special – limited edition of 500 pieces – Spidereuropa Volumex was even introduced. The two-litre engine was fitted with a Rootes compressor. This adjustment led to a power of 135 hp and a top speed of 190 kilometers per hour. After nearly 200.000 Spiders, production of the original Fiat 1985 Sport Spider came to an end in 124.
Still 8000 registered Spiders in 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 copies made their way there between 1968 and 1985. According to Fiat, there are still about 8000 registered copies in the US. But the characterful, powerfully drawn and beloved classic still enjoys significant interest in Europe as well. Several copies are brought back to our continent. That is not without reason, because in our view the cosmetic and technical properties create a beautiful harmony between sportiness, flair and solidity.