I have a very long list of cars that I’d love to own, but most are well out of my budget. There is one car on the list that I can actually afford and I keep a constant eye out for. The only problem is that they are extremely hard to come by these days. The car in question is the Fiat 124 Sport Coupe! Yes, I already own a 124 Spider, but having a coupe would give my convertible some company and I’d be able to enjoy Italian driving year round. The coupe you see above is even the same year as my Spider! It’s a bit rough and has some rust issues, but I’ve seen much worse saved. If it weren’t in Florida, I’d already be on my way to pick it up, but it’s just a little too far away for me. You can find it here on craigslist in Miami though with an asking of $2,800 or best offer.
At one time, I would have stayed away from a Fiat that wasn’t perfect, or as close as one can be. Finding parts for them use to be a huge challenge, but in the past few years parts supply has improved massively. And as a result, prices have come way down. When I started restoring my 124, replacement fender lips were $150 per wheel. Today, you can get those same panels for half that price. The fact that you can get every piece of metal for these now gives me hope for this coupe and could make it a reasonable project to undertake.
Here is my favorite part of the 124, the fantastic 1.8 liter twin cam engine! If well maintained, they run incredibly well and have an awesome exhaust note. You won’t be beating any V8s off the line in stock form, but it’s more than enough engine to have fun. And there are lots of upgrade options to unleash more power from this little 4 cylinder. As is, it’s produced a healthy 118 horsepower and I’ve seen highly tuned engines producing 200 or more horsepower. With the smooth shifting 5 speed, the coupe has a top speed of 115 mph, which isn’t too bad for a mid ’70 budget Italian!
Besides rust repair, this coupe is also going to need a new interior. Finding a replacement dash will be one of the biggest hurdles to overcome, but I’m sure with some hunting you could find a replacement. Of you would have the original one refinished, either way that is going to be the most expensive part of this project. I’ve watched prices for 124s climb quite steadily since purchasing mine in 2009 and as parts supply continues to improve, I see these only becoming more desirable and valuable. I really do wish this one was closer, so I could go take it for a spin and check the seriousness of the rust! If the shock mounts are solid and the floors aren’t too bad, I’d buy it in a heartbeat.