My Dirty Little Italian Secret

My Secret Fiat

So I have a bit of a confession to make guys. I have a deep dark secret that I need to let out or the guilt is going to eat me alive. Alright so my secret isn’t that big of one, but I do think it’s time that I admit that I have a bit of a find hiding in an old garage. I admit this with a bit of shame, as it is a fantastic little car that has been somewhat neglected for the past couple years. The worst part is that I look at cars every day, I dream about them, and I even write about them, yet I have one that deserves my attention and I haven’t been giving it the love it deserves. The car I’ve been hiding like some kind of terrible secret is my 1974 Fiat 124 Spider. Jesse has been prodding me to reveal it and to get it up and running. Since he has gotten so much support and advice from all of you, I have decided it is time I finally let my Fiat see the light of day and ask for forgiveness for not sharing it with you guys.

1974 Fiat 124 Spider

To start, I better give a little bit of my Fiat’s background, so you understand the circumstances. I purchased this car back in 2009 from a rather shady car dealer. He had known the car for a number of years, but didn’t want to present much of its history at first. With a little persistence and some careful negotiating tactics, I was able to get him to give me all the history he knew, previous owners’ information (more on this later), and a price I was happy with. As it turned out he had repossessed the Fiat from the last owner who had stopped making payments after being arrested for drug possession and intent to sell. The car was running and driving, but had some rust in the fenders and floors. I was a bit nervous about the possibility that the car had been used to transport drugs and even more so about the fact that I knew nearly nothing about twin cam Italian engines, but I took the plunge and bought it for a hair over $1k.

Fiat 124's Motor

At the time of purchase, it had shiny red non-original paint with lots of rust coming through around the fender lips, rocker panels and rear quarters. The engine was a fresh 2.0 liter long block with only a few thousand miles on it. The owner prior to the drug dealer was a local businessman who had purchased the car in the late ’90s and had done some restoration work on it throughout the early 2000’s. This owner was run out of town after making some shady business deals and sold it to the car dealer for nearly nothing simply to get some cash for the road. Even with the rust and questionable history, I drove the car nearly every day for the next few months. I then headed off to College about 5 hours from my home town and had to leave it parked in one of my parent’s garages. The following summer I decided to fix some of the rust, so I bought some repair panels, a few pieces of flat sheet metal, some welding wire, and I set about cutting out rust. Some panels were as easy as welding in the new pieces, while other took careful shaping, pounding, and lots of welding. I have photos of the cutting, welding, and smoothing process buried away somewhere, so hopefully I can find those to share.

My Fiat 124 SpiderI was able to get all the major rust issues repaired in just a few weeks and I sprayed the entire car in black primer to keep new rust from forming. Obviously this being a ’70s Italian car, rust will always be a battle. Work, school, and a social life got in the way for the next few years and my little Fiat was buried in a mountain of junk, but this past winter I was able to dig it out to perform my yearly inspection. The body has acquired a few new dents and dings, but so far no new rust has formed. The biggest issues that have formed is a small oil leak and a leaky pinion seal. I have a new seal for the rear end, but just haven’t gotten around to replacing it. My current plan of attack is to fix the pinion, hunt down and fix the oil leak, repair the cracked and damaged dash, install a new convertible top and lay down some paint. I have some great ideas of how to fix some of these issues on a budget. I look forward to sharing the process with you guys and I hope you’ll forgive me for not sharing my Fiat with you sooner! Stay tuned over the next few weeks as I get her pulled from the garage and start fixing things.

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Comments

  1. paul

    CHANGE THE TIMING BELT do not pass go, do not collect $100. After that, they are fun, had one 72 I think too long ago to remember, actually had an 850 spider a 124 spider & a 131 coupe then went on to a bunch of Alfa’s.

  2. Rob Budzinski

    Nice car and story. Make sure to replace the timing belt before getting it back on the road. It is an interference engine and i have replaced several engines/valves/pistons over the years when the belt breaks or teeth slip from sitting…..

    • Josh Mortensen Josh Staff

      Thanks for the tip Rob! I’ll be sure to check and replace it before I start it up. I actually have a spare 1.8 liter engine sitting next to it, with brand new Mahle high compression pistons :) I still need to finish putting it together, but I figure if by some terrible chance the engine goes out, I always can finish it up and install it. I was planning on building it to Guy Croft specs, but never tracked down all the pieces. Worst case scenario I put it together to factory specs and use it that way.

  3. pbryantr

    I have to admit that I know nothing about a Fiat 124 Spyder. However, an old boss used to tell me stories about his old Spyder. He said that clutch replacement was a pita and that the entire drivetrain has to come out to replace the clutch. I don’t know if that is accurate, but I’m just throwing it out there.

    Are you going to keep it red or paint a different color?

    • Josh Mortensen Josh Staff

      The previous owner replaced the clutch when he had the 2.0 liter engine installed, so I shouldn’t have to replace it anytime soon. The car was originally a maroon color, so I may try to match the paint as close to original as possible. The red certainly is flashy and drew lots of attention, but I think the maroon looks classier. Although when it was still red, I had lots of people ask if it was a Ferrari, which I have to admit felt pretty good. I’ll be doing another post soon where I’ll cover all my plans for it in more detail.

      • paul

        Hay Josh, I think Fiat was the inventor of the interference engine that belt breaks & you try cranking it you have already ruined the engine.

      • Josh Mortensen Josh Staff

        Hey Paul, that’s good to know. I’m going to roll the car out of the garage here soon so I can do the pinion seal, as it’s dumped all the diff fluid out in the garage. Once I have that done I’ll take the timing belt cover off and check the belt. I don’t think I can get one at any of my local parts stores, so I’ll go ahead an order a replacement so I have it when I get to the motor.

  4. Ryan

    Love the car!
    Good luck.

    • Josh Mortensen Josh Staff

      Thanks for the support Ryan!

  5. gord

    and watch out for the “burping” of the cooling system… been awhile, owned too many of these including a turbo from california… all gone… still have the fancy rims and other stuff (in canada though)… anyway!!…when you bleed the cooling system there is a process and you use the bleeder in the thermostat housing if i recall correctly…. has to do with rad being lower than the engine if i recall. Anyway, will overheat if not done properly
    and yes… timing belt is key
    success to you
    gord

    • Josh Mortensen Josh Staff

      Thanks Gord! I have actually heard about overheating issues with these. It still has it’s original radiator, which I’m hoping isn’t rusted out. If I have to replace it, I’m thinking about going with a more modern radiator. I’m going to have to do some research on the whole cooling system though. Thankfully there is a massive knowledge base online and other owners seem to always be willing to help out with info!

  6. John

    Hey Man,
    Don’t feel bad, don’t feel guilty….every man needs a secret somewhere…I have an old Harley I ride so rarely only a few friends know I have it.

    • Josh Mortensen Josh Staff

      That’s too true John, we all have a few skeletons in the closet I guess! The main thing is that we enjoy them and don’t let them fall too far into disrepair. I won’t lie I had kind of lost steam on it, but having everyone’s encouragement has made me excited to get to work on it again!

  7. Dave Wright

    Used to have some customers that owned these in the old days……………keeping them going paid for my 911S………..lots of information around on them, as said previously, timing belt every 20,000 miles or couple of years. This is an interference engine, a blown belt will grenade the engine. These are infinatly better than an 850…….when was the last time you saw an 850 on the road?

  8. paul

    Yes the 124 was a nice step up but I had some Abarth motor parts on my 850 spyder, some deep off- set rims, a fat roll bar, & some great sounding headers, the thing was quite a little screamer in auto crosses handle like a go- cart.

  9. jim s

    you had this fiat for 5 years years and all you have is 1 complete car and some spares including a motor. should be some parts cars setting around by now. maybe a 124 coupe or sedan or two for the winter. some extra wheels with autocross tires ( will this be faster then the starlet ). this will be fun to watch and learn about. they are still a low cost way to get into the hobby, i think. are any of the Lada parts interchangeable? ( looked at their version of the 124 sedan more then once but never bought). great fun for sure.

    • Josh Mortensen Josh Staff

      If I had more money and space I’m sure there would be a mountain of parts and cars parked along with it, but sadly (or thankfully depending on who you ask) I haven’t been able to collect everything I’d like to have for it. Maybe down the road if I decide to hold on to for the long term. You know I haven’t looked to see if the Lada parts fit or not. I will have to do some research on that. I’d love to get my hands on some Abarth parts, but they are getting pricy. Once I get it back on the road, we might have to do a comparison between my Fiat and Jesse’s Toyota. Not to sound cocky, but I think my Fiat could take his Starlet!

      • jim s

        information on the internet shows about 20 million 124s built if you count all the different models built under all the different names in all the different countries. should be a lot of parts/information out there. look forward to reading about this project also.

    • Jim-Bob

      The Lada 2101 is a similar but different car when compared to the Fiat 124. Ladas used a different engine than Fiats that was cheaper to make and probably better suited to the road conditions of the Soviet Union. They also made the cars of thicker steel and had different brakes, if memory serves. Much was done to make the 124 more durable on unimproved roads, so I imagine that quite a few Soviet parts are better than their Italian counterparts. Sadly, that’s all I really know as I have never even seen one in person. It’s just another one of my bucket list cars I hope to own…some day.

  10. Dave Wright

    850’s could be a fun toy……they raced H production with the Sprites and there were some fun parts available but they did not hold up even on the track……lots of DNF’s. I had a 124 sedan that my wife drove for a while. It was a fair car but no DOHC made it a better car……the pushrods engine was reliable enough and the body was a good size for Europe. Not a great autobahn car but a fair around town car. She didn’t like that it would not make a tight turn into our garrage, took a couple of stabs to make the tight turn. The funny thing was, The 1965 300SE Mercedes sedan that I replaced it with would make the turn.

    • paul

      Yeah went through some valve jobs on the 850, but they were just so rev happy.

      • Italian Gearhead

        Just a regular reader of Barn Finds and a lover of rust on top of the new stuff. Just wanted to tell Josh these have been used in Italy as Rally cars (not just in historical races) and with a rollcage and proper tuning (no engine change) they become pretty fancy to drive. Far better than X 1/9 and 850. In Italy this was considered “upscale” and so was built much better than the “race car for the people” that was the 850. Some also reimported some US spec models. It’s indeed a gorgeous car if properly restored.

        Have fun with it!!!

        Rick

      • Josh Mortensen Josh Staff

        Thanks for the info Rick! I’ve thought about turning it into an Abarth 124 Rally clone, but I prefer the original styling for a car I’m going to drive around town. I’ve definitely been impressed with the engineering and driving characteristics. Jesse had an Alfa GTV for a while and I think I liked my Fiat a little better. I will keep you guys updated on my progress and I look forward to having some fun in it!

  11. Graham Line

    Drove a ’68 coupe for several years when I lived over in Pocatello. Adding a higher-capacity radiator would be a good idea, though the Boise area isn’t quite the same altitude. These are marvelous cruisers when they are all set up and return excellent fuel economy. Very well-designed cars. Ignore the horror stories unless the come from long-term owners.

    • Josh Mortensen Josh Staff

      Yeah I think I could actually drive it a fair amount of the year in Boise. It doesn’t get as cold as Wyoming and it usually doesn’t get extremely hot either. I actually just bought myself a Mazda RX-8 for a daily driver, but if I can the Fiat running great again I have a feeling the Rotary will only see use for long trips and extremely cold/hot days. The Fiat just gets such great mileage when setup right and is so much fun to drive with the top down!

      • jim s

        will the RX8 get a writeup? a lot of car for the money,but buy them now before the prices start to climb.

      • Josh Mortensen Josh Staff

        Hey Jim, I’ll probably do a short post about the RX. It is a blast to drive, but a bit hard on fuel. It’s not in our usual realm of journalism, but I think the car it’s replacing should be of interest to everyone. I won’t give too much away as the idea is still up in the air.

  12. Dave Wright

    The trouble with these cars today is the cost of restoration is so high that it is better to do an Alfa, costs are the same as the Fiat, they are a better car and have a lot more upside in the long run. I have a really nice 78 Spider that I bought from an insurance auction for 1000.00. It had a fresh restoration but an unfortunate accident on the drivers front fender. We drove it home from California to Idaho, new fender is being installed now. It has fresh paint……soon to be fresher….new top, interior, fresh engine, new tires, brakes, clutch……..just a great car that is appreciating as we fix it. For Fiat money. On the other hand……there is no accounting for love. Good luck with the 124….. Get to know Faza, he is the expert.

    • paul

      Absolutely agree with your statement about the Alfa…. Gosh Faza that is a name out of the past that I have long forgotten, he still around?

  13. Carlton Madden

    Had a ’78 124 Spider. Cool little car. Had a strange quirk. The trunk release was electric and the battery was in the trunk. If the battery died you couldn’t jump the battery. Maybe there was a secondary release that I never found. I’d have to crawl under the car and jump it at the starter. What fun. :-)

    • Dave Wright

      Faza appears to still be alive and kicking……he has to be older than dirt. I knew him when he was in Thousand Oaks………The Itaians are related to the English with there electrical stuff. My Maserati Mistral had Lucas electrics, I think both countries used the same engeneers too……crazy designs. Little of it worked well until Bosch took over.

  14. Dolphin Dolphin Member

    Al Cosentino?
    No, unfortunately. He passed in 2012.
    See: http://www.ferrarichat.com/forum/other-italian/403572-rip-al-cosentino.html

    FAZA (all caps) means Fiat Abarth Zagato Allemano
    That’s an acronym that Al put together when he was running his small Italian car parts business that emphasized the Fiat Abarths. I was reminded of that yesterday when I was looking through some of his FAZA parts catalogs from the early ’60s that I own. I once planned to buy a Zagato-bodied Fiat Abarth, but life got in the way (ever heard of that happening?) and first thing I knew I couldn’t afford one any more.

    Anyway, anyone interested can view this amazing giant web page that he put together years ago. There was nobody else like him, and the web page will give you an idea of his interests. There’s a photo of him in a red, exotic 1950s car near the bottom of the page.
    See: http://www.fazaabarth.info/FAZA1.html

    RIP, Al.

    • Dolphin Dolphin Member

      I just found this web page that talks about FAZA ‘moving to its new owner’. I guess Al sold his business before be passed.
      http://www.fazaabarth.info/

    • jim s

      thanks for the links. after looking at them i can say that i saw him race that fiat 1000 more then once, but that was a long time ago. very fast, clean, and well built. with the deck lid up like that you could see that little engine working. love the photo of the padded leg surports.

  15. Dave Wright

    Al was a character, he would talk your ear off whether in person or on the phone. He was a true enthusiast that tried to make a living with what he loved.

  16. Bryan Cohn

    The owner/creator/provocateur of FAZA, Al Consentino passed away November 2012. He was well know in the Fiat/Abarth world of course but also in the racing world for over 40 years.
    Bayless Italian Auto is the modern incarnation of FAZA in many ways:
    http://www.midwest-bayless.com/storefrontprofiles/default.aspx?sfid=208227
    Best of all its run by a proper Fiat enthusiast and racer, Matt Brannon.

    FAZA has a website but its not much: http://www.fazaabarth.info
    This is an odd history of FAZA website: http://www.fazaabarth.info/FAZA1.html

    Good luck!

  17. Wiley Robinson

    I hope this site will tolerate the posting of a little info you need to get that car going, find parts and make a bunch of lifelong freinds who through the love of formerly unloved Italian cars came together with such tenacity that Fiat handed over the first 500 new Fiats to them when they came back. All you need to every know to own a Fiat is http://www.mirafiori.com

    Have fun and welcome to the best decision you ever made.

  18. carguy

    Actually they are great little cars, always wanted one. Sound like you have a good project. have fun and good luck.

  19. Pete W.

    Great cars. I had the same ’74 for 6 years back in the 80’s. I did a full resto on mine (my first such project) including replacing the outer rocker panels (with fiberglass ones), front fenders (they come in three pieces, welded together, then welded onto the car. A huge pain), new interior, top, and paint. With the little bumpers, it looked awesome when finished.

    Mechanically, pretty stout if maintained properly. You know about the belt. The only thing that went south on me was a throwout bearing in the whole time I owned it. Oh yeah, the electrics can be troublesome as the wiring harness has a number of pretty weird quirks.

    I bought a lot of parts from Bayless Racing, back in the day. I still have a brand new leather wrapped, Abarth steering wheel kit that never made it onto the car. I liked the look of the original wood rimmed wheel so much that I restored it and kept it.

    The only other additions to mine were wider Borrani steel wheels, a later model chin spoiler, and Abarth exhaust.

    Originally dark green with beige gut, I repainted it red (of course) with black. Great looking car and a ball to drive.

    A buddy named it “Marcello de Fiat”. It fit perfectly.

    • Toby

      Thinking you should either hang that steering wheel in your man cave, or sell it off to someone who still has one :-)

      Ps. I have one

  20. Rick Johnson

    Josh, good luck with your project. I am in the process :-) of a 14 “project” also- a 72 Fiat 124 Spider also. I have learned more than I ever wanted to know about Fiats – ha! It has the usual rust spots on spiders and I am probably 70% done restoring it to mechanical working shape. I seem to be chasing a tranny gremlin because it wants to jump out of 1st when taking off so I usually just pull off in 2nd gear. The paint is decent could use a touch up.i have pictures if you would like to see. I am thinking of selling it and moving on to my next Dream project, a 48/49 Chevy truck or 55 ford truck. http://Www.midwest-bayless.com is where I go to get all my Fiat parts, long history of fiat supplying, they bought bayless back a few years ago. Good luck with tour project and look forward to hearing more.

  21. Richard V

    I owned a 124 Spyder of the same year and paint tone as yours (burgundy), I loved that car! It did have the original 1800cc engine and the only major work I had to do was replace the valve guides and re-seat the valves, plus replace the radiator. That car was water proof in the rain, unlike my beloved British sport cars of which i owned many throughout my career as a British car shop owner. One of the things I liked the most was the soft top, it was so easy to raise and lower that I could do either sitting in the driver’s seat at a stop light! Plus, the quarter windows were glass, just the rear was plastic. Great car! And, it had intermittent wipers, unusual for a car of it’s type in the 70s. That came in handy for our drizzly weather here on the “real” north coast of California (Humboldt County).

  22. Auld Bobby Friendship

    Hi Josh and it’s great to see your Fiat.
    Lots of folk, here, giving good advice. I was given a ’69 124 Coupe, many years ago now. It had been used for hill climbs and sprints and was a mess, bodily.
    The owner had left it in my workshop and came across a later car so gave me the old one.
    At that time I didn’t fully appreciate what this car contained. That is, it had the 1608cc motor with twin downdraft Solex carbs which I don’t think were allowed in the States.
    What your car appears to have is the much coveted cylinder head, similar to the 1608, with rear mounted distributor. Also, the 1608 had fast road cams as standard which is why the car went so well. If you want to do a Guy Croft spec car he will surely be delighted to provide his special straight-shot inlet manifold which will enable you to fit the twin 45 or even 48mm weber carbs if you wish to hot her up a bit!
    You might just check on the cc of your motor. I’m not sure if the 1800 had this cylinder head as standard. I have Guys manual and without referring to it, here, it may be that the cylinder head was indeed a standard fitment as per the 1608.
    I threw mine out, back in ’85, and much regret that!
    For myself, I have a ’73 Simca 1501 sedan which runs all Fiat motor and running gear, 2 litre, 40mm Dellortos, 132 5 speed, and Argenta axle. Proved quite a difficult conversion, now 24 years ago, but it was worth the effort.
    Good Luck with your car!

    • Josh Mortensen Josh Staff

      Thanks for the info! I’ll have to reach out to Guy Croft and find out what the inlet manifold would run, because I’d love to have the dual carb setup. It would certainly be a nice upgrade, but might just be out of my budget right now.
      Based on my research, the 1800 cylinder head is quite coveted. The previous owner apparently wanted more performance out of the car, but didn’t want to have a high performance 1800 built. So he bought a 2000 long block, which came with the bottom end already put together but no cylinder head. The 1800’s head will actually bolt right up to the 2000 block. Now I’m not sure if he knew this or not, but when the 1800 head is bolted to the 2000 it increases compression, making for a decent increase in performance over either motor in stock configuration. I’ll try to get more photos of the engine bay and motor so you can see how it’s setup. For a small town mechanic, the guys that did the swap actually did a decent job.
      Thanks Again!

  23. Don Andreina

    Styling, Josh. All I can suggest is you lose the oversize bumpers and find a set of the original chromies. Even better, no bumpers at all. Good luck.

    • Josh Mortensen Josh Staff

      Hi Don, I couldn’t agree with you more! I actually pulled the bumpers off when I started the body work and it changed the look completely. Thankfully mine didn’t come with the hideous rubber bumpers. I’m not sure if the previous owner changed them out or if it was built early enough to get away with the chrome ones. Once I get it pulled out of the garage, I’d be doing that right now if it wasn’t raining out, I’ll pull all the parts out and take more pictures so you can all see what exactly I’m working with.

  24. Keruth

    First, good luck with this, they are great little cars. I have a later FI, w/no providence from PO. I’m still learning! Bosch Airflow meter anyone?
    Now to the quirks, The belt thing is in the aux shaft, #2 rod contacts the eccentric lobe, unused w/ elect. fuel pumps. Rod goes thru block. Any tear down should include a grind off.
    Bleeding the water system on external thermostat engines is (as already stated) a pain, but can be easier if a small hole (.125″) is bored in the disk allowing air to pass and vent to the overflow on warm ups, constant by-pass is minimal.
    Any trans work/tear down you will want to redo the shift forks, they bend and wear easily.
    Good luck finding correct 13″ tires, No one I’ve found makes the P sizes (an 80 aspect) anymore. Well, at least at a price less than off road truck tires cost ($250 ea. from Pirelli, on back order, ouch!). I bought 15″ Rota wheels for mine w/55 series tires, speedo is now right on, was 12% low (at least!) when I got it with 185/60/13’s.
    And beware of anything sticking up in the road, the larger engines have deeper oil pans and hang down below the cross member, you’ll break the pick-up tube if you even dent it.
    These are great little canyon carvers that can do the freeways too, but the proper maintenance is essential. Strong pulling engines, disks all around, and plenty of smiles per gallon @ 1/4 the price of anything else from Italy!
    It’s a little cool here in N.E.Ohio, but I think I’ll get mine out between the rain drops today! And yes the top is always down, LOL!

  25. John

    I had always heard horror stories about little Italian sports cars. I had a 1967 124s. I bought it new. The Fiat dealer had a deal going with some bank, and I got it for very little interest, but more importantly, that bank would actually finance me. Horrors. I sold it when I got married in 1970. I never had any money to do anything with it in those days, so I just drove it and kept its oil changed. I worried every day that something would go wrong. The dealer was long gone by then, and someone told me a new starter cost $300 — two months rent. I did replace a timing belt once — took me two days in an apartment complex parking lot. I was told by the apartment manager that disassembling cars in the parking lot was not allowed. My lease was not renewed.

    Anyhow, I sold it to a friend who was in law school. She wanted it because it was a neat little car. She had a Falcon convertible.

    She drove it and drove it. She kept it super shiny clean. She moved to Arizona, drove it some more. Then drove it even more when she moved to California (a commuter car from somewhere near Palo Alto to San Bruno). Somewhere along the way, she bought it a new top and a new paint job (original color, just new). She told me that her fiance’ had a shop make it new carpets.

    This was all in the early 70’s. I asked her, a few years ago what had happened to the Fiat. She said she only drives it on weekends or when she has a few days off. She says its leaking oil. Other than that, she had no complaints. She says it is not rusty, but then, she is an attorney, so …… She also said the radio didn’t work. I knew that, it didn’t work when I sold it to her. From what I gathered, she has well over 100K miles on it — she had no idea. It has lived in Missouri, Texas, California, and now lives in Virginia just outside Wash DC. It made a move from Palo Alto to DC in a moving van with her furniture.

    I’m glad I got rid of it. It would never have lasted 40 years had it stayed with me. But I loved that little car — my late wife probably went out with me for the first time because she liked it, too.

    I hope you do well with it — don’t worry about the naysayers, don’t look for faults, just love it and fix it when its sick. That’s all it takes with an Italian. I was married to one for 40 years.

  26. Brian

    Ahh, taken in by a shapely Italian with a shady past! Such is that which makes life sweet! No apologies…no excuses…just enjoy!

  27. Dave @ OldSchool Restorations

    .
    Hey Josh,

    Good to see you have one of these under-appreciated cars. Unfortunately, Fiat did no support racing, back in the day like Alfa did, so most people are not aware of the seripous power these Lampredi ( Ferrari) designed motors are capable of

    Have a few … here’s pictures of my very early ( # 5825) 1968 Spider

    http://oldschool-restorations.com/Fiat%20124.htm

    Get yours done ‘n have some fun ………

    Dave Perry North Alabama USA

  28. Cameron Bater UK

    The Fiat 124 is a quirky looking car, I think it was the Italians attempting to infuse the MGB and Triumph herald (cosmeticly anyway) there is one major problem, RUST OF THE ITALIAN STEEL, with Italian cars of the time, it is the owners worst nightmare if they see rust as what you can see will be many multiples worse in other places that you can’t, I have seen pictures of a car being striped and as it was parts of the body work started to disintegrate.

  29. Chris A.

    My understanding regarding the Italian steel rust issue concerns the very high sulphur content in the steel. Water would react with the sulphur creating a highly corrosive wet mix. This would be aggravated if road salt NaCl, was present. Too bad they didn’t make them out of Swedish steel, or galvanize the bare bodies. Great driving cars, classic design and my favorite Fiat after the Fiat 1500 OSCA engine.

  30. Charlie

    Josh,
    I found a 76 (pretty sure) Fiat 124 on a lot in Boulder, CO that’s been sitting in the same spot for 3 years untouched. I’d like to buy it, but don’t know it’s value. Several years ago, i offered $500 and the car lot owner countered at $1100.

    Can I send some pics and get your opinion?

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