It was 1966 and, from the pencil of Tom Tjaarda, the unmistakable shape of the Fiat 124 Sport Spider was born. Italy was a beautiful Country, people were serene and Fiat had given birth to another successful model, built on the standard 124 and thought for a younger and wider market, so as to be finally exported overseas in the United States, with great joy of those who could not give up driving on the roads of California with hair in the wind and an Italian spider in their hands.
50 years have gone by, Italy and the world itself have radically changed, but for some, the desire to savor the full half of the glass has remained intact and Fiat has presented the new 124 Spider, this time strong of a very important partnership with Mazda and the new MX-5, with which it shares chassis and other key ingredients that are preparing a proper comeback.
The 124 Spider lines are completely different from the Japanese sister and remind some salient features of the late 1960s predecessor – you can notice that from the front headlights, from the grille itself and from the long bonnet that contributes transmitting a low and backward seating sensation, to the advantage of an ideal driving feel, especially when it comes to deal with a car that will turn fun into its winning weapon. The 124 Spider is also beautiful to look at, especially in this black color that makes the whole silhouette more elegant, in perfect contrast to the biscuit leather interior.
It is a car that asks to be driven with the canvas roof open the entire year, despite being perfectly able to accommodate two people with a decent room for their heads – the only problem that can be said is that the steering wheel is not adjustable in depth but only in height and that depending on the driving position, your knees may collide with the bottom of the dashboard. This is probably the only drawback in an extraordinary spider that offers a comfortable pair of seats for motorway drives, but that does not hide the desire to be pushed to the limit on some scenic, perhaps curved road that can best enhance a chassis that speaks the favorite language of us car-minded people.
On the tested specimen the gearbox is a 6-speed manual (there is also the automatic one, but the manual is the best choice) and the lever is short and very close to the driver, right next to the handbrake and the knob by which to operate the on-board multimedia system – all of this is perfectly placed on the central tunnel and perfectly at hand for the one driving. There is no Sport button, there are no useless frills, but only the desire to open the roof and make a simple and desirable action, mechanical (for some), and you find yourself with only one thing in mind: drive. I find that turning my eyes upwards, where the manually folded roof has left room for a beautiful blue sky, I am wrapped up in a new perspective, with the suns rays blend into a delicate morning breeze – behind me, the exhaust is never intrusive and represents the right voice to the 4 cylinder turbocharged breathing in front of me.