Cheap and Not-Cheap, Part 2 – Pair of Fiat Spiders

For those of you looking for that elusive sports car deal, Fiat Spiders are still one of the most underrated options on the market today. To beat the point into the ground, where else can you get a twin cam four cylinder engine from a famous engine designer, putting its power through a five speed transmission, all clothed in a classic Pininfarina design, for so little money? Even rubber-bumper Alfa Spiders seem to be edging out of this territory. Anyhow, to give you an idea of what’s available, take a look at this 1972 Fiat 124 Sport spider for $3000 in Tracy, CA.

1972 Fiat Spider left front

Apparently, the phrase “the real McCoy” is important to this seller. Was there any doubt of this car’s status as a real sports car? Or a real anything? Anyhow, it does look to be in nice condition, with no visible rust, and it’s nice to see an earlier car sporting the cleaner chrome bumpers the car was originally designed with. The only real detail the seller offers about this particular car is the running condition, which is said to be excellent. And it does look pretty, although at that price you might expect flat paint in need of a wet sand, and one of the photos shows that the vinyl has failed on the outside shoulder of the seat. Under the early smooth-style hood, you could expect a 1608cc engine putting out 108hp.

1972 Fiat Spider right front

Just like with our pair of Saabs, here’s the cheap alternative. For less than a quarter of the price, you can have nearly the same styling, in a running, driving car with no apparent major body damage. You’ll want to make sure the rust isn’t too extensive, and that the common front cross-member and differential issues are not problems here, but even with that work, this might be a good deal. Check out this 1978 Fiat Spider for only $725 in Benicia, CA, just north of Oakland.

1978 Fiat Spider left side

So the paint is not perfect – maybe a bit of buffing might yield you more gloss, if you can live with the scratches. This is maybe even a candidate for a budget paint job, if you spend time removing all the trim and doing some level of prep to avoid crazy overspray. The sills look a little rough, so make sure they’re solid enough to hold the car together. The seller says there is minimal rust, so maybe you’ll be spared most grinding and welding.

1978 Fiat Spider right rear

The car has been recently revived after 20 years of not being registered, and has received all kinds of attention, including attention to the cooling, fuel, and braking systems. In particular, there are new calipers, pads, and discs on the car, and the seller even provides photos of his work as evidence. Could these parts combined cost more than the purchase price of the car?

1978 Fiat Spider interior

Interior looks clean, if somewhat sunburned. Of course a car like this has some needs – the radiator and heater core both leak, and new top and tires are recommended. The car comes with new timing belt, fuel filter, and parking brake cable awaiting installation, and you will need to provide your own battery. The seller has also degreased the underbody – wait, now what’s keeping it from rusting?!

1978 Fiat Spider engine

With a little elbow grease and willingness to disregard some of the cosmetic shortcomings, you could have a fun little runabout for short money. And no need to worry about parking it at the supermarket or in a bad neighborhood.


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One Response to “Cheap and Not-Cheap, Part 2 – Pair of Fiat Spiders”

  1. Mike P Says:

    Neighbor of mine had one of these, back in the early nineties. Beautiful little car, he just couldn’t seem to get it sorted out. Never got a ride in it.

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