My 124 Spider Took Its First Steps Five Floors Above Turin
One of the best/worst cars I ever let go of was a ’74 Fiat 124 Spider. I found it for free one day on Craigslist, the owner was sending it to the crusher in the morning and wanted to let someone have an opportunity to save it. I didn’t really want it, but I sat in front of my monitor staring at its happy, oblivious little smile and became overwhelmed by a creeping sadness—it might as well has been a fuzzy puppydog, so strong is my illness for crappy old cars. A single Ben Franklin ($75 for a trailer rental, $25 in gas guzzled by my father-in-law’s fantastic big block ’72 Chevy C20) and fifty miles later I was the proud new owner of an Italian sports car—it even ran, and well! I won’t go into the details of my ownership history here, but suffice it to say it supplied me with insane, laugh-out-loud fun and gut-wrenching anger and headaches in equal measure, frequently during the course of one trip.
One of the coolest things about that car (besides a laundry list of more meta qualities like how it drove and what it had under the hood), was where it was built—mine came from Lingotto, Turin. Constructed over the course of seven years, the first-ever car built at Fabbrica Lingotto turned its wheels on the factory roof in 1923—yep, the roof.