After writing about that gorgeous Alfa Romeo Duetto the other day, I got to thinking: there are a lot of ways to enjoy sleek European styling and a sonorous dual overhead cam motor combined with open air motoring. Most of those have been covered in TTS before – cars like the Alfa Spider, the Jensen-Healey, and even Fiat’s 850 Spider and X1/9. Shamefully, we have not covered Fiat’s 124/2000 Spiders in any depth. Until now. This car, advertised on Craigslist in Leesburg, Virginia for $3,950, represents the same basic experience as the Duetto but for about 10% of the entry fee.
The Fiat 124 was basically the Torino firm’s counterpoint to Alfa’s Spider, and their specs are comparable if not remarkably similar: they were both penned by Pininfarina and released to the world in 1966, both had varying displacement DOHC inline-4 motors, both had full synchromesh manual transmissions and four-wheel disc brakes from the get-go, and both started rusting about six hours prior to leaving their respective factories. In many ways, choosing between the Fiat and the Alfa was really down to preference. Of course, the Alfisti will argue that their Spider came with oodles more pedigree and had sleeker, sportier styling. The Fiat side of the camp will conversely argue that their car ticks all the right sports car boxes, but with more robust running gear that was used throughout the world in hundreds of thousands of their contemporary models. Frankly, I like both of them, albeit for different reasons.
So spring (or summer, apparently) has sprung – at least in the Mid-Atlantic region, but also throughout much of the rest of the country, from what I hear. What that means to me is that it’s time to dust-off your convertible, change the oil, pump-up the tires, put the top down, and head-out for a relaxing drive in the country, or the city, whichever is your pleasure. What’s that? You don’t have a convertible? We would argue that there is a convertible out there for nearly any budget or anyone with a credit card that they’ve given-up trying to pay off and therefore don’t mind piling onto. Who among Car Geeks doesn’t relish the wind in their hair, the sun on their face, and the sound of the exhaust bouncing off the trees? Now is the time before prices jump-up for the season. What we offer here are some thought starters…
My Dad’s 1969 Fiat 850 Spider is my oldest automotive memory. 850 spiders were also the cars that my TTS co-conspirator and I first bonded over, at the approximate ages of five and three, respectively. Suffice it to say, we both have a soft spot for Fiat 850s, especially clean, original ones like this which are essentially non-existent at this point. They were cheap when new, and most were driven hard (you sort-of had to) and left outside. Combined all that with their propensity to rust, like all Italian cars from the 1960s and 1970s, and you’ll find that nice 850s are nearly impossible to find, and the few you do find are usually out there for all the money. Find this clean survivor
on CraigsList in New York for a reasonable $5,995.
Yes, folks, the blog has been quiet for a while. Truth be told, our day jobs have been taking it out of us lately, and we haven’t even been scanning the classifieds lately, much less blogging about interesting finds! That is, until this weekend when I was doing some catch-up writing for one of my other automotive outlets, and I managed to revitalize my dormant car hunting gene. I’ve actually stumbled across a few interesting things over the past few days, but this one really asks the question that we are all about: are you totally that stupid? The car in question is the 1995 Mercedes-Benz R129 SL500 roadster you see here, available
here on Craigslist in my hometown of Fairfax, VA for just $3,900. Seriously, beat Miata money for a V8-powered Mercedes Sports Leicht two-seater!