My, What Big Bumpers You Have – 1974 Fiat 124 Coupe

Fiat’s 124 coupe went through several changes in its 8-year lifespan, from the delicate, oh-so-60s-Italian looking AC version, through the handsomely updated BC, and then the, uh, controversial and final CC. In North America, the CC had to endure DOT bumpers as well, and it’s not clear why Fiat did this – sales numbers can’t have been that great, and practically speaking, they were probably available new for the same amount of time as Alfa’s GTV, which retained small bumpers, or any number of British cars that simply sprouted big rubber thingies for the 1974 model year. To be fair, Alfa’s Berlina and the MGB got hit by the ugly stick in that time of transition, but you’ll probably agree that this adaptation of bumpers, apparently sourced from a VW Thing, has a far worse impact on this 1974 Fiat 124 Coupe for sale for C$1000 (US$752 today) in Delta, BC.

1974 Fiat 124 Coupe right rear

Let’s face it, this is a great price for a 124 coupe in anything close to intact condition. But while those bumpers are not actually from a VW Thing, they’re so wrong here, and so ill-fitted to the car’s body, that you’d guess someone took them off another car and bolted them on here. The look would be miles better if you went from the low-effort step of simply collapsing the bumper shocks, to something higher-impact like replacing the bumpers with items from an earlier CC coupe. That said, you’re still stuck with the gaping maw in the picture below.

1974 Fiat 124 Coupe left front

Paint is surprisingly glossy for a project car, and in its favor, it does appear very complete. The Fiat banner across the top of the windshield is retro-cool now – has anyone started re-manufacturing these? Further in its favor, this should have the 1756cc engine that (in non-smog form) should give about 118hp, making it pretty competitive with the aforementioned GTV and BMW’s 2002, among others. Spares include a set of heads and a rear end – is that any indication of the engine’s condition? The only visible rust is fairly significant, around the passenger rear wheel, but you can count on more on a car this age.

1974 Fiat 124 Coupe left side

Water marks suggest a bit of rust under the driver’s rearview mirror and rear window, but taking into consideration the ability of darker colors to disguise rust, things look pretty decent here. It’s nice to see a coupe on base-spec steel wheels with hubcaps – if you want to upgrade things a little, consider widening the rims to keep the stock look.

1974 Fiat 124 Coupe interior

There’s not much visible of the interior, though seeing the glovebox out on the passenger seat hints at electrical problem-solving. It is nice to see that everything looks fairly complete, so you’ll have patterns, or at least something to use until you work out a replacement. Seat covers suggest damage to the upholstery, but who knows, maybe the gods will smile upon you and grant you vinyl that’s been protected since ’74! Either way, while this car has been federally bastardized, it has the potential to be a rare, fun alternative to a square-light 2002.

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One Response to “My, What Big Bumpers You Have – 1974 Fiat 124 Coupe”

  1. Gamewriter (@edisenberg2) Says:

    I had one of these. They were very unreliable but the rubber coated bumpers mounted on hydraulic pistons were the best thing about it. I got rear ended on the off ramp of a highway in Wisconsin. We both got out to inspect the damage. Nothing. I pushed the bumpers back out on their pistons with my foot and I told the guy no worries.

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