Curbside Classic: 1974 Fiat 124 Sport Spider: My Dad’s Last Toy

A short time back, while this olelongrooffan was out and about, I passed by my buddy the Alfa guy’s shop and outside I spotted this pair of Fiat 124 Sport Spiders. As this is a rather rare sighting these days, I stopped and gathered this image of them. And know this CurbDwellers, behind those overhead doors in the background lay a bunch of cool vintage Alfas.

Plus a totally restored Fiat 500.

Yeah, a real one from back in the day.

So I captured that imageof those 124s, I ran a few errands and driving down a side street here in the home of The World’s Most Famous Beach,

spotted one of them parked in the lot of a repair facility as the Alfa guy only works on his cars.

Well if you know this olelongrooffan like I think you are beginning to, you know I had to stop and get some images of this relatively rare Pininfarina designed and manufactured Fiat sports car.

Pininfarina built almost 200,000 of these monocoque-bodied convertibles between 1966 and 1985. The last three model years, it was sold as a Pininfarina Spider Azzura. Over 75% of the production of this ragtop came to the United States as after the 1975 model year redesign to meet US regulations, it was not again offered in Europe.

The interior of the convertible sported the first use of intermittent wipers by Fiat and well as column mounted light controls.

The deep maroon paint on this example was in excellent condition and looked to be about a mile deep. I remember at the time thinking how gorgeous it was, gorgeous enough for this forgetful olelongrooffan to remember it. And where else but Daytona Beach, Florida are you going to find a Harley Davidson sticker affixed to not just the interior but the rear bumper of a classic sports car?

This Spider was one of the first vehicles with an engine utilizing rubber timing belts in the double overhead cam 1,438 cc, later to increase, incrementally, to 2,000 cc by the end of its nineteen year production run.

This convertible is bearing the standard steel wheels and the location of that filler door reminds me its placement on a Jaguar XJ6.

The existence of these 5 mph bumpers identify this one as post 1974 offering. I’m not sure it there was ever a horizontal panel between the bumper and body but, if there was, it is gone but not forgotten.

And this hook located on the rear cowl just behind the in questionable condition rag top? I have no idea what that is for but it was yesterday’s CC Clue.

As the title implies, a Fiat Sport Spider was my Dad’s last toy car. He always had something unique around. A 63 Corvair convertible, 72 Citroen DS21, 31 Ford Model A, 51 Ford Pickup. Yeah, always something.

Dad bought this bright red machine long after I had moved to Florida and this is one of the few times I got to see it.  Incidentally, this is the last photograph taken of Dad and me.

As with all of his toy cars, whenever something needed repairing, he repaired it. And Fix It Again Tom, Tom being my closest proximately brother, was heard a lot while he owned it.

At the party Celebrating Dad’s Life after his memorial service back in 2003, my younger sisters and I were having a conversation about Dad and this car.  My baby sister, Joan, was reminiscing about the times she used to drive this car.  She remembered that whenever Dad used to be a passenger while she was driving, he always used to tell her to slow down, even though she is a pretty good driver.  Joan then went on to say that whenever she was a passenger while he was driving, “John, he would rod the sh*t out of that car.”  My other younger sister piped in about that time and mentioned, “Dad always drove like Mario Andretti in that thing!”

I realized at that moment that Dad’s desire for many things automotive didn’t just affect his boys.  The girls got it also.

And the really cool part is that when Dad passed, Tom ebayed this Spider and the buyer, based out of Washington State, flew to the Missouri Ozarks and drove it home. An action very similar to this olelongrooffan and my olestationbus, albeit mine was from San Antonio to Daytona Beach!