Field of Broken Dreams: Fiat 124 Spiders

From Rocco B. comes word of a cluster of Spiders right in my own backyard, five Fiat 124 Spiders. Spiders don’t come in herds or prides, they come in clusters. One spider is from 1969, the other 4 are 1980 and 1981 models. They are listed on Craigslist and located in Fair Oaks, California. They can all be yours for “only” $6,500 and are priced individually from $1,000 to $2,500. There’s no word on the mechanical status only that they are complete. The seller says no parts have been removed, but they aren’t his cars. He is helping the executor of an estate sell them.

Here’s another view. That’s apparently the 1969 Fiat priced at $1,500.

This one look pretty solid from here. The interior can’t be very nice after sitting outside with the window open, but you never know.

This Spider looks solid from this end. This appears to be the one priced at $2,500. If these are from the Sacramento area rust won’t be a problem. The price will be though. The 1969 Spider could be worth a bit more than the others. Personally, it’s my favorite of the bunch but looks like it’s brown and would need lots of work. The nicest examples of later Spiders sell for up to $8,000. Decent driver quality Spiders sell for about $3,000. The most expensive barn find examples sell for about $1,000. Here’s a garage find listed on eBay for $5,000, but includes 2 cars. The prices will have to be a lot more reasonable for these spiders to find a new home. Generally, executors of estates don’t know much about cars and often think they are worth a lot more than they are.


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  1. Beatnik Bedouin

    Fun-to-drive cars that were not known for their reliability.

    Shame the ’69 doesn’t have a title, as it would be my pick of the lot.

    A lot of these came into NZ in the late 1980s from the USA, as the Spyder was pretty rare, back then.

  2. Frank

    “Field of Broken Dreams”…such an awesome title!

    It also could describe what the parking lot at the port looked like when they were new and coming off the boat.

    From this era, let me think. What’s worse: a used Citroen, a rebuilt Peugeot or a new Fiat. The new Fiat.

  3. SAM61

    Nice looking cars…good design holds up well. These would make interesting conversions ala Prius.

    The seller could sweeten the deal with lifetime AAA membership.

  4. Classic Steel

    Nice cars and fair prices!

    I do recall these used to be prone in rare cases to engine fires so make sure the
    fuel lines are fresh 😉

  5. Derek

    You can say they come in “clusters” if you want but, as far as I’m concerned, if you’re talking about things with four wheels rather than eight legs, one is called a “car”, two is called a “pair”, and three or more is called a “junk yard”.

  6. David Miraglia

    I’ll take any one of them. Always wanted a spider

  7. BOP Guy Member

    This is right around the corner from me. Hopefully they didn’t sit out last winter with windows open. We got an unusually large amount of rain. This winter, almost none! I’ve always liked these cars, but you’d be under water quickly trying to restore them. Might as well just buy one in top original condition.

  8. Brakeservo

    Are we forgetting, a bit over 30 years ago Fiat had the dubious distinction of being the only manufacturer ever forced to recall the whole darn car because of . . . terminal, inescapable and pervasive . . . rust! California was no exception. These cars rusted not only from exposure to rain and snow, but paint made them rust, fresh air made them rust, moonlight made them rust, looking at them made them rust, oxygen made them rust, smog made them rust, and even rust made them rust!!

    • john

      Why not just come out and tell us how you feel…you know, …. wait for it…. yes, the rust of the story. HaHa

  9. Maestro1 Member

    I had one, drove it from LA to San Francisco and back twice when i was living in LA and had no trouble with the exception of the wiring of the accessories. Electronics by the Prince of Darkness. They are great cars. Pick the best and negotiate the price. They are overpriced.

  10. Tim

    Having owned several,when I think of “cluster” & a group of Fiats a different “f” word comes to mind😊

    • Brakeservo

      But that’s “F” for Fiat, right??

  11. chad

    I had several of these when new. I liked em, probably due to havin the 1200 & a few 1600s before that. I never felt/believed them to B what New England locals called them here F(ix) I(t) A(gain) T(ony). But then again there’s the G(ay) M(ens) C(lub) & all the others ~ F(ound) O(n) R(oad) D(umped), etc

    • Brakeservo

      Gee, am I dumb or what?? I thought it was just another (F)ailure (I)n (A)utomotive (T)ecnology! And even writing about them makes them rust!

    • Mark-A

      I honestly prefer the (F)ix (O)r (R)epair (D)aily for the Blue Oval even after owning one, but at least they were accessible to repair Daily!

  12. tommy

    (F)ix (I)t (A)gain (T)ony! (FIAT)

  13. mikeH

    I had a ’69 and it was a blast to drive. Mine was bright yellow and drew cops like bees to a yellow flower. Had to sell it to keep my license. I then bought a ’69 Alfa GTV—grey. It was a lot more car than the Fiat plus—it was invisible to the cops. I still don’t buy brightly colored cars.

  14. Healeymonster

    I have owned several and even had a family member who had the Fiat franchise back in the 60s. Great driving cars and not a problem if you kept up the maintenance. But who changed timing belts in the 60s. Apparently not American car buyers so they broke and got pushed into the yards. I still have a 1960 Fiat 1200 Cab. Beauty of a ride.

  15. JBD

    One of the funnest roadsters to drive. High reviving DOHC and 5 speed is like no others. Best cars are desired. Parts and projects are way overpriced. Last spider I bought for $50 and was running the same day.

  16. tommy


  17. Fiete T.

    High-quality, Soviet-era Russian steel. Italian built quality.

    Yeah, sounds “Fun?”

  18. Brakeservo

    Yea, but did you know they rust?

  19. Marco

    My “practice wife” owned a couple of these at different times. They were great fun to drive- more torqey than my Alfa Spider. But I swear I spent a LOT more time on weekends working on the Fiat to keep it going than I ever did on the trusty Alfa. Mostly brake work and electrical gremlins. Fix It Again Tony for sure.

  20. Ted Donahue

    I knew several people who had these and I always thought they were sharp. Have known about “Fix it again, Tony” forever, but “Failure in automotive technology ” is brand new to me. Good One! Thanx!

  21. DonC

    So you guys have heard from me before. I bought my ‘82 Spider 2000 back in 1985 with only 15,000 miles on it. spring of 2016, I sold it to a collector in Australia for just north of 5 digits. How?
    1. You gotta learn to work on these cars
    2. You gotta stay ahead of them and pay attention to preventive maintenance.
    3. They rust the same as any American car of the 80s, Fords rusted faster.
    4. Run Pirellis. They don’t last as long, but they stick like rubber cement.

    Not the fastest car, I’ve ever owned, but fun, and unique Italian style going down the road.

  22. DJ

    There’s so much aftermarket support for these cars that you can virtually build a new one from scratch with all the body, trim and mechanical parts available.

    The styling has aged quite gracefully and possibly apart from the solid rear axle, the mechanical package is very refined. 4 wheel disks, all-synchro 5 speed, and the best factory suspension setup this side of a Lotus. Slap some twin Webers onto the Twin Cam and your’re good to go!

    The twin cam engine design was so good it was still winning races in the WRC into the 1990’s in the Lancia Delta.

    A nice bonus, and the reason I’d take one over an Alfa Spider or an MG is it has a fine motorsport pedigree so is eligible for lots of historic racing classes all the way up to Group 4!

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