Journal: These Vintage Films Will Make You Fall In Love With The Fiat 124’s History

These Vintage Films Will Make You Fall In Love With The Fiat 124’s History

Michael Banovsky By Michael Banovsky
November 19, 2015
12 comments

With the addition of the 124 Spider to Fiat’s range, the company has plucked a small gem from its heritage and updated it to suit. In period, the original car was based on the capable 124 Sedan…now, it’s based on the capable Mazda Miata.

On the surface, what’s important is that the world has another rear-drive, turbocharged, manual transmission-equipped sports car within reach of the average enthusiast.

But dig a little deeper into 124 history and it’s hard not to be captivated by Fiat’s once-commonplace range of cars. Here are some great historic clips of them in action, straight from the company’s archive.

One of the best things about the Fiat 124 family is that dozens of variants were built over a large period of time, all around the world. It was ubiquitous. And so without the sexy lines of the Spider or rallying prowess of the Abarth, Fiat turned to stunt drivers and testing footage to prove the standard car’s sporting credentials.

Hey, it was the ’60s and ’70s; don’t you wish modern car commercials had this much romance? 

On the left, a somewhat confusing ad for the normal Fiat 124 Sedan. You know what it needs? What’s shown in the video on the right: Driving gloves, ladies’ head scarf, dashboard-mounted cigarette lighter…and Spider bodywork, of course.

Yes, this 1971 documentary produced by Fiat is in Italian, and yes, there’s a lot of footage it’s not easy to make sense of. But that doesn’t mean you won’t find almost 45 minutes of action, including your favorite classic cars duking it out on stage rallies.

This being an official Fiat film from the time, you can expect to see the 124 Abarth Rally, a competition-tuned version of the Spider, prove its mettle in competition. 

Image Source: autoevolution.com

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George SoroposChris TLucaPer EldhRayBee27 Recent comment authors
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George Soropos
George Soropos

That Alfa Jeep in the first video 😀

Chris T
Chris T

My father bought a 1969 Spider in 1971, and we still own and drive it.

On a different note: Why is there no mention of the Lada Dzigouli in this article??

Luca
Luca

At the end of the ’70s my dad owned a 124 1600 Special T, which was actually quite quick. I really loved that car, but got stolen in 1978… I plan to get another one, possibly in pine green as my dad’s one was.

Per Eldh
Per Eldh

My choice of the range would be the 124 1800 Coupe 1975, with 118hp, fantastic in-house body style and a very angry face! Or the 1985 124 Spider Volumex. 🙂

Michael Squeo
Michael Squeo

I think every Fiat dealer should be required to purchase a classic 124 Spider and have it on the showroom floor so that they can better understand the history and the product.

Eddie Relvas
Eddie Relvas

I don’t have much time for that retro-pastiche they misguidedly decided to call a 124, when there is not a thing inherited from the glorious 124 range. These are truly fabulous cars, and fully deserving of their classic status. They may have been ubiquitous, but that was for a reason… they were brilliant cars, far ahead of their time, but unassuming in their outwardly presentation. You had to drive them to know what they were hiding. Brilliant chassis with coil springs and disc brakes all around, front twin wishbone suspension, rear multilink axle… they boast about these on the new… Read more »

Stephan P
Stephan P

One of the most under appreciated sports cars. I’ll take mine pre 72. The Fiata? Sure we can use a rear wheel drive sports car but it’s a disgrace to call it a 124. I guarantee the the Mazda lines will not age as gracefully nor will it have a 16 year life cycle.

Douglas Anderson
Douglas Anderson

I work part time as the, shuttle driver/parts chaser/tire hauler/gopher, in a local tire shop. ( hint here for you youngsters ; when you get old ,
they like car guys like us for this kind of work !! )
We have a customer who inherited his Dad’s 124 Spyder recently , he’s not too sure what it’s really all about and is mistified by it’s many and varied foibles .
He say’s he may sell it on in the future , I am on his list of potential buyers when he is ready 🙂

Nicolas Moss
Nicolas Moss

During my college years I owned a ’74 124 TC Special, a ’75 124 Coupe, and my dad owned a ’79 124 spider. All great cars, apart from the rust. And yes, most of the time all three were running. Thems were the days.

Russ Wollman
Russ Wollman

In 1973, I fell completely in love after a few yards in the driver’s seat of a new Spider that was shortly to become my best friend for the next fourteen years. I was eighteen, hadn’t driven a wide variety of cars, so I had little basis for comparison. My lack of experience didn’t matter. The 124 was so satisfying to drive, so disarmingly beautiful, and such a delight to my ears and the seat of my pants, that for those fourteen years I never once thought I should have another car—though in 1982, I added a red X1/9 to… Read more »

Ray Beltran
Ray Beltran

I’m so glad you had the opportunity to buy the Spider. Right around 1975 I had the chance to have one for my first car. Green as well. Things did not work out though, but there’s something good in the world knowing that it worked out for you especially in regards to your appreciation of the car. Many years after that I was looking at an X1/9 as well, a yellow one. But, same story. Things went another way. Good for you though. Good for you.

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger

I’ll take any classic 124 Spider .. be it road , race or rally … over the upcoming FIAta 124 about to be foisted upon an unsuspecting and retro metro deluded public .