We’ve known for a while now that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and Mazda were working on a partnership around Mazda’s new MX-5 Miata roadster, which made its European debut last week in Geneva.
Thanks to a report from AutoExpress, we’ve just learned that Fiat’s version of the new roadster will be sold as the Fiat 124 Spider.
This fits perfectly in line with earlier rumors from late last year that Fiat had trademarked the 124 nameplate. At the time, the trademark application was confusing because Fiat actually already sold a 124 Spider from 1966 to 1980… We had no idea whether the trademark was meant to protect their old model’s name or introduce a newcomer. Turns out, it’s a little of both.
The old Fiat 124 Spider was a four-seat convertible. With this news, we know that the new one will be a two-seat roadster sharing the same engine and platform as the Mazda MX-5. However, while the underpinnings will remain the same, Fiat plans to launch their sister car with a more retro styling than allowed by Mazda’s Kodo design language. Their car, execs say, will more closely emulate the early Fiat 124 of the 60’s – a traditional European roadster.
We also learned specific details of the partnership between Mazda and Fiat at Geneva. Both cars will be manufactured at Mazda’s Hiroshima plant. However, Mazda will get to take center stage with their new MX-5 for a full 12 months throughout 2015 and into 2016. Then, Fiat will launch their new Miata-based 124 Spider in 2016 once Mazda’s had plenty of time to make rounds through all the major auto events.
In addition, we learned Fiat may offer an Abarth version of the new 124 Spider with an extra hot powertrain… Up to 200 hp hotter, in fact. However, we expect that Fiat will do their due diligence to determine demand for an up-tuned instead of launching it blindly alongside the 124 Spider.
Japanese Car Auction Find – 1997 Fiat Barchetta
Unfortunately, there were no old Fiat 124s up for auction in Japan at the time of this writing. However, we did manage to dig up this ’97 Fiat Barchetta in our Integrity Exports Japanese car auction database. “Barchetta” means “little boat” in Italian, so you can see where this spunky little soft top gets its design.
Under the hood you’ll find a 1.8L DOHC petrol engine that outputs 130 hp and 121 lb-ft of torque. Interestingly, this was the first Fiat production model to make use of variable camshaft timing to optimize engine performance. It’s got a top speed of 124 mph and accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in just a hair under 9 seconds (8.9 to be exact).
To learn more about this 1997 Fiat Barchetta, keep reading below the auction sheet:
“Interior C, exterior C, first registered June 1997, Barchetta model, five-speed manual gearbox, AC, official dealer left-hand drive import, grey and black interior, spare key, ABS, airbag, power steering, power windows, engine oil leak, glue on dashboard, light line scratches on exterior paintwork, seats have minor stains and medium wear and also fraying, shift knob is worn, ceiling lining grime, minor interior grime, steering wheel worn, touch paint marks, scratches underneath bumpers, aftermarket alloy wheels, fuel Paintwork is faded, front windshield has stone scratches, other marks as per map”