We’re all wide-eyed over the brand-spanking-new Fiat 124 convertible, also known as the Miata’s fancy dress. But MotorWeek was running that bad boy before it had the benefit of Japanese reliability. Check out how the original did in 1982:

As soon as you hear John Davis say “for those of us who can’t afford a Ferrari,” you know we’re in for a treat. Or trouble. Both, perhaps?


To be totally honest, this particular car is close to my heart. Sometime around two decades ago, my father came home with a rusty non-shifting 1979 Fiat convertible and almost didn’t make it into the house without getting divorced.

Lucky for him, the indiscretion was eventually forgiven and the car restored. Sort of.


A Maaco paint job, cleaned carb and rebuilt transmission from the local token Italian mechanic was enough to make that thing riotous to drive and provide me with all the near-death experiences I needed in high school to write a great college-application essay.

Now I’ve gone pretty far off track, and that’s exactly the point. The Fiat convertible isn’t a car you nerd out on the specs of or dial-in to drive on the ragged edge. It’s fun. It’s a conversation starter. It’s an adventure before you even get out of the driveway.

I hope the new car feels just as fantastic.