First came the spider...


…now comes the scorpion

At the end of last year we celebrated the anticipated return of a motoring icon. The very welcome return of a 1960s classic, the Fiat 124 Spider.

Truth be told the car isn’t exactly what it seems, sharing as it does substantial elements of the new Mazda MX5. Now you have to say that can be no bad thing bearing in mind that the Mazda is still reckoned to be the best car in its class by a country mile. Also, while the new Fiat 124 spider has to look to Mazda for pedigree underpinnings, it has one thing that the Mazda can only pine for – a motorsport pedigree. Remember this…

Spider abarth

Well when men were men and a rally car wasn’t a rally car unless it had a good slab of matt black smeared across it’s bonnet, this delectable¬† bolide pranced its thing around the rally stages of Europe with no small degree of success. And what it lacked in outright ability it more than made up for in looks.

Now I know we’re going to upset some people saying this, but how can you compare the looks of say a Mk2 Escort to this Italian thoroughbred (and don’t get us going on the Lancia Stratos either)? Well come on?

OK having won that point, we think this next one is a bit of a slam dunk too. Bring on the the new Fiat 124 Spider Abarth.
Oh Mama mia, we want one!

Fiat 124 Abarth
Yes we know you might look a bit of a wally handbrake turning into your local Tesco car park. Point taken. But this baby looks soooo right it surely could win right out of the box? Fiat at the moment are being cagey about what will be under the bonnet of the rally version, but the one us mere mortals will be able to enjoy will accelerate from 0-60mph in 6.8 courtesy of its 1.4 turbo shared with the Fiat 500 Abarth.

Now if you feel the full race/rally version is a bit too much, it can be had in slightly less shouty combinations (see below) which are admittedly still v.pretty. In fact having seen it in the flesh for the first time at Goodwood, we think Mazda may regret sharing its bits with Fiat. With its undeniably handsome looks, to us the 124 could be a mini Maserati.¬† Now there’s a thought…

Fiat abarth2
So the question is are Fiat capable of repeating the runaway success of the 500? Well as you probably have gathered we think they might well have cracked it. And next season we’ll see if the rallye recreation is made of the right stuff too.

Can’t wait. Meantime I’m sure I saw a tin of blackboard paint somewhere…

Tags: , , , Published on 30th June 2016