One Of 700! 1982 Fiat Turbo Spider

Sometimes, what’s old is new, and that’s the case with the Fiat 124 Spider. It’s sold today, or at least as recently as 2020, but with Mazda Miata underpinnings. Years back, and in 1982, such as with today’s subject car, it was all Fiat and known as the Spider 2000. This example, however, is a coveted and rare turbocharged model, one of only 700 produced! Since it’s for sale here on Barn Finds Classifieds, let’s look it over. It’s located in Fall City, Washington and is available for $4,000, OBO.

Having been laid up since 1991, this 48K claimed mileage two-seater has minimal rust. The trunk lid has some “wrinkling”, the paint doesn’t exactly match the rest of the faded red hue, and the front chin spoiler is missing a hunk, but all-in-all this Spider is still certainly presentable. The seller adds, “There is bite damage to the rear window area from early years of storage, most likely from a cat, but they didn’t go beyond that” – how unusual! The turbo model-specific alloy wheels are a real sharp-looking enhancement!

This rare bird is powered by a 120 HP, 2.0 liter, in-line four-cylinder engine connected to a five-speed manual transmission. The seller adds, “At approximately 35-40k miles, the turbo was rebuilt and a one-quart canister added as turbos of the day tended to overheat if not allowed to idle for a while before engine shutdown, which was very impractical. The canister would drip cooling oil through the turbo bearings for cooling“. What is not stated is how this Fiat runs and drives.

There is a single image of the interior but unfortunately, it was shot through the windshield so it’s not very revealing, but what can be seen shows well. The seller claims, “Interior upholstery is in good shape, including the cover used when the top is down“. He also mentions that mice took residence in the glove box and trunk but only managed to chew on the bag that stores the top boot – it’s a regular Wild Kingdom where this Fiat lives!

The old Spider 2000 was discontinued after the 1982 model year, though Pininfarina continued to manufacture what they called the Pininfarina Spider Azzurra through the 1985 model year – not certain that I have spied one of those in the past. As previously mentioned, it appears that the new Mazda-based Spider has been removed from U.S. shores and the outlook for Fiat, in general, is not too promising. That turn of events makes this example, with its rare turbocharged engine, a bit of a standout. The seller ruminates that, “there is parts car value at a minimum for a buyer… will part out only as a last resort” Travesty, no! This turbo Spider is too nice to meet that fate, wouldn’t you agree?

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Comments

  1. Al

    I think you can get great mileage on the castor-ed pallet.

    In this configuration it gives Tesla a run for its money, and no plug-in is required.

    Like 8
  2. Kim

    An old Fiat owner here. I have owned 850 spiders, X1/9s (still driving my 74) I’ve had 124 sport coupe and 124 Spyder. The 124 and later spyder 2000s were much higher quality cars with solid no-rattle bodywork. Thick doors, heavily blustered seats. This Fiat would be a trophy to any knowledgeable Fiat fan. I still love my Fiats and my 2016 Fiat 500 has continued my 46 year love affaire. Never a disappointment.

    Like 4
  3. Peter Starkey

    As i remember my 1982 spider could climb any steep hill in 5th gear , no problem. l Loved the car , should have kept it!

    Like 1
  4. John E. Klintz

    Back in 1982 I drove one of these with the turbo; for the era, holey moley! It was a huge surprise and would easily spin the tires. Agree with Kim and Peter above; these later models were great sports cars.

    Like 2
  5. Lance Conkright

    What is wrong with this car? Why is the seller suggesting it as a parts car? And why is the left rear wheel hanging at a strange angle?

    Like 3
    • Robert Herman Member

      Both rear wheels are displayed off the hubs. Car is on casters for moving around while stored. With rear wheels installed, they drag just enough to make it difficult to move the car around the shop single handedly. This car has been stored indoors on casters since 1991. It is complete and worthy of restoration but will require a lot of work. Or, it’s a parts car depending upon a buyer’s goals and existing Spider(s) on hand.

  6. Armstrongpsyd Armstrongpsyd Member

    My first car, a 1971, 124 Spider 1800 was one of my favorite cars ever. I’ve had Porsches, BMWs, and a great assortment of VWs…, but my SPIDER was a favorite: It was super quick and handled wonderfully. I drove it to death in two years. I was 18 and in the Army and drove it back and forth across the country (at full throttle), from Daytona Beach (salt-water spraying in the air) to Hawaii (top was never up) I destroyed that poor little car. Back in those days if a TR6, 914 or Lotus ever came into sight, it was game on. It would win and lose, but it was always fun.

    Like 3
  7. 914Shifter Member

    I think this is a real bargain! I helped a friend sell a smilar 124 Spider Turbo that needed an engine rebuild, but had only 30k miles on it. Started, but barely ran…. sold here on Barn Finds and got $6k for it. Someone needs to buy this and have some real fun with it!

  8. chrlsful

    ’60s/70s I restored the 50s/’60s Italian. Mostly drove the 1500/124s/128s all the while. Never got into the 80s w/fiat. Wish I had – but out of college’n payin others to do my wrenchin by then. Last restore/driver to sell Lancia Beta coupe.
    The Fix it Again…? never in my book, regular preventative maintenance – the non-merican way, every time ! Even ur honda crv? oil change every 4, 5 K = 300K mi car.

    • Kim

      I learned my lesson early how to keep a fiat running. The timing belt was a lesson painfully learned at the expense of 6 valves. Fiat invented the cam belt but they didn’t perfect it. I change mine at 20-25k miles, keep my trans oil topped off and my fiats have all run like Swiss watches. Many people make the statement that they are fun but unreliable have either never owned one or never learned how to take care of one. I currently have 32 sports cars and coupes of various makes and the 5 fiats in the barn bring me the most joy even still.

      Like 2

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