The Poor Man’s Ferrari
Most of us can only look at the glorious automobiles in Becky Graebner’s PJ Lifestyles article "A Handsome Stable: The 10 Most Beautiful Ferrari Road Cars" and drool. Heck, that may even be true for Becky! But what if you could own and drive a car that shared many of the Ferrari’s traits – even some of the same body and engine designers-- without taking out a second mortgage or having to dip into the kid’s college fund?
Well, actually you can. That car is the FIAT 124 Sport Spider.
First shown at the Turin Motor Show in 1966, the FIAT 124 Sport Spider stayed in production until 1985. Yes, it was that good. And that beautiful.
Comparing a FIAT 124 Spider to a Ferrari is not as farfetched as it might seem. The 124’s lithesome body was designed and manufactured by the same Torino carrozzeria (“coachbuilder”) – Pininfarina -- as many of the most desirable Ferraris. And its motor, a lively and very advanced for its time dual overhead cam 4 cylinder, was designed by Aurelio Lampredi of Ferrari 12 cylinder racing engine fame.
Even a quick look at the FIAT 124 Sport Spider makes its Pininfarina origin obvious. Enough so, that you don’t have to squint too hard to see it as the cousin of a 1962 Ferrari 250 GT.