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Bargain Pininfarina: 1961 Fiat 1200 Spyder

front left

The Spyder were based on the 1200 Granluce 4 door sedan of the late 1950s. The body was designed and built by Pininfarina. The double wishbone front suspension was state of the art for its day and the solid rear axle and drum brakes were typical. The roll up windows are a nice luxury. This one is listed on eBay and is in Hollywood, California. With five days left, bidding is just over $2,000 with reserve not met. The original paint was white and this repaint is in poor shape. Reader Blindmarc tipped us to this interesting car. I loved what Josh has to say about these little Spyders.

inside copy

It’s blasphemy, of course, but to me the interior looks more Ferrari than Fiat. This interior looks dirty and tired, but a good cleaning and a little upholstery work could really improve things.


The seller says this is the only rust on his Fiat. Rust free Spyders are said to be rare, so this could be a good find.

tops copy

It comes with both the hard and soft tops. It looks great with both!


The little 4 cylinder, overhead cam engine only has about 55 HP, but that will almost get it to 90 MPH. The two barrel Weber is easier to rebuild and set up than other carbs of the time. The original white paint is all too obvious.


This Fiat runs and drives. It was parked for a few years, but it has a new battery and it’s had a tuneup so it’s drivable. The owner kept it registered inoperable so there will be no back fees. This appears to be a car that could be enjoyed as it is with just a little cleaning depending on your tolerance for the yellow paint. If the buyer lives in a dry area, repairing the rust won’t need to be done right away. I would drive this and restore it as the money was available. What would you do? I look forward to reading your comments.


  1. TdF 83

    Black plates that aren’t. Black plates only came in 3 letters, 3 numbers unless it was a commercial or trailer or bike. These blue plates have been painted black though it could have had new plates issued in the 70’s or early 80’s for some unknown reason, i should know i painted my mustang’s 1969 issued plates black. So it has not been in Cal forever as it might imply. Other wise it is a really nice car but has already been pulled off of Ebay, humm?

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    • audifan

      Looking at the plates they were issued in the mid 80s, at the end of the blue plates run.
      It always cracks me up seeing newer CA license tags painted black.

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    • Dolphin Member

      CA is issuing 1960s style legacy black plates now, and they are legal for use on the road.

      I don’t know whether the plates on this Fiat are legal legacy black plates, or whether the new legacy black plates have only 6 numbers/letters, but this site talks about issuing personalized legacy black plates, so maybe someone can get any numbers/letters they want.


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      • TdF 83

        No these are as said above, 80’s plates, the new ones have an entirely different and unique sequence of numbers and letters that have no resemblance to any plate in the past.

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  2. Rick

    Icky Butterescotch color popular (briefly) in the early 70s, my Jr Hi teacher bought a ’59 Corvette when I was in 8th grade, anyhow he immediately had it painted a similar color (yuck) took him a few years before he figured it out and went back to a correct red w/ white cove color scheme

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  3. Dolphin Member

    Bid to $2050 then auction ended — “NLA”

    The upside:
    – Vintage small Italian convertible with roll up windows
    – Has both soft and hard tops
    – Decent condition, runs and drives
    – Low miles….maybe
    – Most exterior chrome might be OK w/o replating
    – Retains its hard-to-find exterior/interior trim bits
    – Maybe in CA all its life
    – Appreciating asset, median auction price for a good one, $22K

    The downside:
    – Needs some metalwork, then paint
    – Grossly outsized by 18-wheelers
    – A moving chicane on the I-5
    – More rust than shown pretty likely, so don’t act surprised

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  4. Van

    This car will probably increase in price.
    Itś Italian, looks good, etc.

    The engine doesn´t look like an overhead cam?

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    • Araknid

      It’s not. It’s a push-rod engine. Only the 1500S and 1600S were overhead cams. And dual overhead at that.

      BTW – These were called Cabriolets The Fiat Spider (an ‘i’ not a ‘y’) did not make it’s presence known until the 1965 850 Spider and 1966 124 Spider.

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  5. tirefriar

    Given the current condition, there is no downside to this car at the current price offering. Even at twice the going price it would be a deal. I am probably correct as this was gone pretty quickly.

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  6. Blindmarc

    I’m pretty sure it was in their local autotrader……

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  7. Dave Wright

    One of the better Fiat designs and styles. Pushrods engines were pretty good, styling similar to Alfa. They are bound to appreciate with time.

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  8. Bob

    First of all, this car is called a Cabriolet, not a Spider (never with a ‘y’). And the engine is a push-rod based on the venerable 1100cc engine used in toms of variants of the day. This body style was also used for the OSCA 1500 and 1600 twin-cam variants.

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