100% Original Paint:

1978 Fiat 124 Sport Spider

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A contemporary to the Alfa Romeo Spider, the Fiat Spider shares a great deal of features with its brother from another mother.



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Both cars are red-blooded Italians with a rev-happy DOHC engine, mated to a short-ratio 5-speed transmission. Both cars feature a manual convertible top that can be lowered within less than 30 seconds. And both cars were manufactured for decades, becoming icons of the automobile world. Where the Fiat excels is in interior space, up front as well as in the back, where it outperforms the Alfa by a mile.

124,676 Fiat Spiders were built between 1970 and 1978. Most of them have since moved on to the big boneyard in the sky, slowly eaten away by the merciless tin worm. Only a fraction survived in good condition, even fewer in outstanding condition. Finding an outstanding example that still carries all of its factory original paint is like winning the lottery.
Here's such a rare bird!

The 1978 Spider 1800 presented here, VIN *124CS1 0117605*, built in March of 1978, is rare among the rare. It is a 100% rust and accident free, 2-owner California car that still carries 100% of its factory original paint, and that's 41 years after it was built.

Verde (green) code 874 F is a rare color for a Spider. In fact, we've never seen another one in this color.
So, let's closely check out this amazing car, shall we?

Engine compartment is toothbrush clean, even in hard-to-reach areas. It houses the Aurelio Lampredi (ex-Ferrari engineer) designed, 1,756 cc DOHC inline four with aluminum crossflow head, fed by a twin-choke Weber carburetor.

The engine is as healthy as the proverbial ox. There are no fluid leaks of any kind, there's no smoke, nor are there any sounds that would indicate problems. It runs as smoothly as a Honda and is an absolute joy to rev.

Since this car has never been apart, all of the shut lines and gaps are perfect.

Factory steel wheels with chrome hubcaps are all original, have not been refinished. All 4 tires are brand new.

Not only is the body immaculate, but the 41 year-old factory paint is so beautifully preserved, that it took us repeated readings with the electronic paint meter to confirm that all of it is original to the car, applied back in Italy. Apart from a few very small, unavoidable imperfections, there are no dents, scratches, or bubbles to be found with the bare eye. We can't remember the last time we saw such an amazing state of paint preservation on a car of this age.

Paint meter readings.

The black convertible top is brand new, has never been wet.

Difficult to convey in photos, but this car is clean as a whistle even in remote, hard-to-clean areas, whether inside the engine compartment, around the door hinges, or inside the gas filler compartment.

Factory door panels are flawless, and that includes the -- often scuffed-up -- stainless steel trim.

The factory dashboard looks flawless. Wood rimmed sport steering wheel has a couple of small cracks but is still very attractive. Only visible flaw is the fading on the clock's plastic bezel (which is available, along with every other part you might ever need to keep a 124 in perfect shape, from Fiat parts sources). Clearly, this car has lived most of its life in a climate controlled garage.

Wood applique is equally well preserved.

All of the lights and gauges work as they should. According to the car's one and only owner, the indicated mileage of 77,178 is the actual, total mileage this car has traveled in the past 41 years.

Front seat upholstery look new, and is still as firm as new.

There's not a single flaw to be found here. Note factory safety belts.

Almost unreal rear space for a sports car that from the outside looks like a pure 2-seater. Take that, Ferrari Mondial!

All of the lights work. Trunklid-mounted luggage rack is a factory accessory.

Perfectly preserved factory rubber trunk mat. An extra set of hubcaps is included in the sale.

The original spare is every bit as clean as the other four wheels.

Flawless trunk floor with not a hint of corrosion to be found.

Working trunk light.

All factory-original finishes here.


With only marginal rust protection from the factory, many 1970s Alfa Romeos and Fiats started corroding the minute they were exposed to the elements.
Not this one! Here, we find nothing but healthy sheetmetal, still featuring the original, factory paint finishes.

The brownish substance visible here is factory-applied Cosmoline wax that turned to a translucent, candy-colored brown.

A few pictures say more than a thousand words could.

Monday, the 28th of October, turned out to be another fabulous autumn day here in our old Mission town San Buenaventura. Perfect for top down motoring!

We headed to our favorite Hobson Heights neighborhood to take these photos and a video (coming soon).

Thanks to a fresh tune-up and a carburetor that was professionally rebuilt by Pacific Carburetor ($360), the sporty engine starts on the button and falls instantly into a mellow idle while sounding like you want a baby Ferrari to sound. The car runs, drives, shifts, and performs flawlessly, with not a single issue to report.

As aforementioned, this Spider 1800 is special among the survivors. It's a car for the collector or enthusiast who desires an exceptional, all original car that needs nothing and can be enjoyed for many years to come.

The old Romans were fond of saying "Tempus fugit. Carpe diem!"
We wholeheartedly agree!


RETURN TO THE SHOWROOM


You are most welcome to inspect this fine automobile at our location in Ventura, by appointment, or have someone inspect it for you.
Please, direct all inquiries to bill@californiaclassix.com or call us at 805-653-5551.