For $9,990, Could This 1981 Fiat 124 Sport Spider Make You Forget The New Miata-Based One?

Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Spider proves that at one time Fiat didn’t need Mazda to help it make super sexy sports cars. The seller of this one however, is going to need to prove all that sexy is still worth a sack of cash.

When you go to look at a new car—say a Kia Rio or VW Jetta S—do you affect your best Homer Simpson impression and ask the seller ‘What advantages does this motor car have over say.. a train. Which I could also afford?’ You no doubt then giggle madly while the seller quietly resolves to make you buy the jacked up lost key insurance. Happens to me all the time.


Look, we all want to be rich, or at the very least enjoy the trappings of wealth while burdened by crushing debt. It’s the American way. Particularly emblematic of the caviar lifestyle was yesterday’s odd bodkin of a home away from home, the 1997 VW Dehler Optima 5.4 camper. That was so fancy it literally came with a pot to piss in. Being Canadian, its initially swoon inducing $36,995 price tag looked a little better—like sub $30K better—when converted to American cash. That still didn’t convert enough of you into believers, and it fell in a 82-percent Crack Pipe loss. I guess it’s true that money doesn’t buy happiness.

Money can however, buy this sweet 1981 Fiat 124 Sport Spider, and I think its pretty smile inducing. The car comes in Azzure blue over a biscuit interior, and is one of the last few years that the model was sold under the Fiat badge. This may not be the most swag of sports cars, but with its tidy proportions and timeless Tom Tjaarda-penned bodywork it’s still pretty easy on the eyes.

Fiat used to follow a pattern of developing a platform and then assigning design duties based on the individual model’s purpose. Utilitarian sedans and wagons would be penned in-house, while cars that single people bought—coupes and convertibles—would generally get designer duds. That’s pretty much why the carrozzeria Pininfarina built Spider doesn’t look like a box with its roof sawn off.


Underneath all the pretty lines is a chassis that shared much of its underpinnings with those more sensible granny panty sedans. That included an independent front suspension and a live rear axle located with trailing arms and a Panhard rod to keep everything from getting out of hand.


The engine is a 1995-cc DOHC fuel injected four. This all-alloy mill was originally designed by Aurelio Lampredi, the former Ferrari magic maker. This one doesn’t put out Ferrari-level performance however. To be truthful, it’s only good for a mere 82 102 horsepower. Yes, that’s right, 102. I’ll give you a moment to pour out a forty over the passing of the era in which those kind of meager numbers were rife.


A five speed stick backs that up the and the ad notes that both engine and gearbox function without issue. The car looks the part too. The paint seems completely serviceable with no noticeable road rot nor fatigue of the rubber bits.

The Pannie-esque wheels seem period appropriate and add a little bit of appreciated bling. Those are wrapped in new tires, while up top there’s a new canvas cap to match.


The interior keeps the hits rolling with a nice wood-rimmed wheel facing an equally plank-like dash. That wood, as well as the upholstery, all appears to be in tidy shape. In fact, the only odd bit here is a strange left-side hunch to the driver’s seat.


Mileage is claimed to be 111,111, but the odo only shows 28K. Who knows how many barrel rolls its five positions have made on top of that. Nonetheless, the title is clean and the car seems ready to rock.


This particular car is being offered both on Craigslist where it’s asking $9,990, and on eBay where bidding has reached a little over $5,400 with six days left on the clock.

I think it would be interesting if we all weighed in on where this sweet little classic will eventually end up. What do you think, would it be an equally sweet deal at that $9,990 asking? Or, do you think it will sell for much closer to that $5,400 current bid?


You decide!


Miami, FL Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to Fauxshizzle for the hookup!

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About the author

Rob Emslie

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.