Fiat 124 – Italy’s Working Class Hero Reborn for a New Era
Among 1960’s affordable roadsters bringing top down motoring joy within reach beyond wealthy playboys, few earned greater working-class affections across Europe than Fiat’s pert Pininfarina-styled 124 Spider. Revived for 2017 leveraging Japanese engineering sharing underpinnings with Mazda’s contemporary Miata, the latest mid-engine Fiat interprets core elements driving the 60s original to sales success. Lightweight elegant proportions honoring classic Italian style fuse with an energetic powertrain prioritizing engagement over raw horsepower figures. By exploring how the vintage 124 Spider asserted the Fiat spirit then and now, we connect past form with present function updating this heroic Italian roadster for modern contexts.
Fiat 124 Genesis – Adding Sparkle to Fiat’s Sensible Lineup
Following its famed 500 microcar bringing post-war Italy mass mobility, Fiat saw opportunity injecting excitement into its staid mass-market sedan lineup. Capitalizing on available in-house design and manufacturing capacity, management approved developing an affordable roadster targeting regular families rather than solely aspirational wealthy elite clientele.
Rising styling star Tom Tjaarda starting with a clean sheet penned tight curvaceous lines modernizing Fiat’s rear drive platform with Italianate coke-bottle flair and an inviting face. Drawing inspiration from scooter and bicycle design, Signor Tjaarda extended horizontal themes across rear surfaces for lightness while twin raised ridges down the tapering hood suggest import muscle car machismo. Visually this fun family runabout channeled elegance and passion belying workingman roots shared with everyman stablemates like the no-nonsense Fiat 1300/1500.
Driving Dynamics Defining Mass Market Roadster Appeal
Beneath natty bespoke threads, the spunky entry-level Fiat relied on thoroughly secondhand mechanical bits. A free-revving inline 4 mated either to a 5-speed manual or optional automatic driving 87 horsepower to the rear coilovers plucked wholesale from mass-market sedan components bins. What could have emerged utterly ordinary won sports car credibility through charm and confident dynamics feeling effervescently light yet steady around high speed sweepers without compromising bump absorption finesse over cobbled village byways.
By blending athletic aspirations with approachable demeanor and chic sculpted Pininfarina bodywork at affordable scale, the 124 won hearts of owners and critics exceeding sales forecasts out the gate. Offering open air thrills photographers imagined racing exotics delivering for attainable used Fiat 500 prices secured working class budgets otherwise excluded from the roadster club. Suddenly Verona accountants and Milanese shop owners enjoyed temperate weekend getawaysfeeling as glamorous as Hollywood movie stars and barons of industry cruising the Italian Riviera or Tuscan wine country without stretching the household finances nor attracting the Carabineri’s speed enforcement wrath.
2017 Return Lifting Fiat 124 Spirit for a New Era
After decades focusing on superminis and sedate sedans, the Fiat brand needed a superstar halo reminding the world what established its nameplate among Europe’s automotive greats. The solution came merging corporate synergies with the then-new Mazda Miata chassis by infusing Italianate style inside-out. Designed at Fiat’s historic Turin design center, familiar Spider proportions gain sensual accent lines and a fierce face flanked by chrome whiskers spanning oval headlights. From the tapering clamshell hood to upswept abrupt Kamm tail concealing mechanical hardpoints, no surface avoids artistic enhancement.
Beneath tweaked suspension calibrations suiting European preferences, the Miata’s tight mechanical package secures enticing handling balance and reflexes echoing the vintage Spider’s engaging dynamics now with tighter build quality. Powertrain choices offer modest naturally aspirated 1.4 liter horsepower or a willing turbocharged MultiAir making nearly 200 galloping horses breathing through chrome exhaust pipes poking outside the rear bumper. Paired with a snick-snick 6-speed manual or optional automatic and stability management, this powertrain pumps vital energy into Fiat’s heritage four seater roadster for a new age.
Character First, Rules Second Fiat Formula Endures
Much as mainstream family sedans evolved inhabiting SUV bodies, infotainment gadgets and a mind-numbing sameness abandoning personality, Fiat’s strong legacy keeps character and engagement above market share and margin in products like the contemporary 124. This feisty lightweight tailored for twisting roads over forgetting daily commutes upholds decades of Fiat prioritizing driving verve over passengers or cargo figures so easily measured by spreadsheets and accountants.
The brilliance of classic Fiats reflected bystanders’ smiles from behind the wheel conveying travelers to destinations that matter. By those emotional measures, this comprehensively developed Italian homage to its spiritual 1960s ancestor triumphantly recaptures fundamental goodness in motoring so often lost across modern model lines erroneously equating progress with predictability. Simply put, cars ought lift spirits as ably as passengers. Toward that aim, new 124 Spider artfully revives Fiat’s soul stirring roadster relevance in the 21st century for Roma Romans and global enthusiasts alike.