The Fiat 124 Spider was originally a Pininfarina designed convertible sports car that graced showrooms and roads from 1966 until 1980, from which year onwards until 1982, the 2000 Spider took up the mantle.
So it was intriguing to note that last year, Fiat trademarked both ‘124 Spider’ and ‘124’ hinting that either they wanted to keep the history of the original car in tact (after all, there a few Spiders and Spyders out there), or more likely that they were planning a relaunch of the 124 Spider in the not too distant future.
Then in February this year, head man Sergio Marchionne announced that indeed, Fiat were to introduce a new 124 Spider based on the trusted and familiar Mazda MX-5 and that test models were being scrutinised and run in Detroit.
Not much information has been released about the new addition as yet, but Fiat has already confirmed the great news that the Spider will give birth to a performance Abarth version as well when Fiat Chrysler’s Chief Operating Officer, Alfredo Altavilla, announced that there would initially be two versions, a ‘comfortable’ version and an ‘extreme’ version.
So far the only clues to what the car might look like have come from artist impressions based, naturally enough, the original model and the Mazda MX-5.
But that has now changed with some pretty clear spy shots of the Fiat 124 Spider – although the cladding and disguising paintwork hide the most of it, non of this can hide what does seem to be a longer bonnet than the MX-5.
The new MX-5 will come first it has been rumoured, with the 124 following several months later, with both cars being manufactured together at the Mazda factory in Hiroshima in Japan.
Intriguingly, it has been suggested that the 124 Spider will incorporate some retro touches in homage to the original sports car from the sixties. Add to this the shared tech’ that the Spider will take from the MX-5 and we might well have a fantastic looking car on the horizon.
Setting aside the scorpion badged Abarth version, the chances are that the 124 will be reasonably affordable too, with hints that the roadster will have a choice of smaller engines – the ‘comfortable’ part I presume.
At a likely weight of around 1000kg, with a bigger engine and uprated suspension, the Abarth version could prove to be something worth waiting for.
There’s still some time to go before the 124 Spider first makes an official appearance – with sometime in 2016 being mooted – and beyond that, there’s even a hint of a possible kit-car styled track-day version on the cards.
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