Sunday, August 17, 2014
Vocal music with text and words can be rather disturbing or distracting while watching picture book images also with text, like in my Fiat Spider picture book.
Plenty reason for me to search for wordless instrumental music, hoping for a better match.
Anyhow, I give it a try in seven new screen savers.
MY FIAT 124 SPIDER SCREEN SAVER 4 - Ludovico Einaudi in 'Una Mattina'
that can be listened to HERE and the installation file (about 245 MB) can be downloaded HERE .
MY FIAT 124 SPIDER SCREEN SAVER 5 - Ennio Morricone in 'Matrimonio Col Vizietto'
that can be listened to HERE and the installation file (about 260 MB) can be downloaded HERE .
MY FIAT 124 SPIDER SCREEN SAVER 6 - Toots Thielemans in 'The Windmills Of Your Mind'
that can be listened to HERE and the installation file (about 270 MB) can be downloaded HERE .
MY FIAT 124 SPIDER SCREEN SAVER 7 - Vangelis in 'Bilitis'
that can be listened to HERE and the installation file (about 200 MB) can be downloaded HERE .
MY FIAT 124 SPIDER SCREEN SAVER 8 - Irish Panpipes in 'The Town That I Loved So Well'
that can be listened to HERE and the installation file (about 260 MB) can be downloaded HERE .
MY FIAT 124 SPIDER SCREEN SAVER 9 - James Kline in 'Turlough O'Carolan'
that can be listened to HERE and the installation file (about 235 MB) can be downloaded HERE .
MY FIAT 124 SPIDER SCREEN SAVER 10 - James Kline in 'Si Bheag, Si Mhor'
that can be listened to HERE and the installation file (about 235 MB) can be downloaded HERE .
Like mentioned in my previous post, I built in an important ' MUTE ' - option in the Settings-box
for all Spider friends who prefer a silent screen saver instead of a musical one.
For installation and configuration instructions, click Read more >> below.
Friday, August 15, 2014
It took me some time to realize a screen saver identical to the YouTube videos in my former post, showing 30 of the finest pictures from various catalogues and of all versions of the 124 Spider during several decades.
And to make sure that - apart from watching - you will enjoy listening too, I fixed the screen saver up with two different types of easy-listening background music.
To find out what music pleases you best, I've cut a short fragment out of each of the two pieces of music to make your choice easier.
MY FIAT 124 SPIDER SCREEN SAVER 1 - Toto Cotugno in 'Cantando'
that can be listened to HERE and the installation file (about 190 MB) can be downloaded HERE .
MY FIAT 124 SPIDER SCREEN SAVER 2 - Paul Simon in 'Still Crazy After All These Years'
that can be listened to HERE and the installation file (about 200 MB) can be downloaded HERE .
MY FIAT 124 SPIDER SCREEN SAVER 3 - Rod Stewart in 'Sailing'
that can be listened to HERE and the installation file (about 260 MB) can be downloaded HERE .
For those who enjoy a silent screen saver: I built in a ' MUTE '- option in the Settings-box.
For installation and configuration instructions, click Read more >> below.
Sunday, August 10, 2014
Although several impressive books and countless articles were written about the history and the "making-of" of the Fiat 124 Spider ( including MY OWN STORY FROM TOM TJAARDA ),
I tried to make a new picture-book in the form of a short bird's-eye view video of my beloved Spider.
In the creative process 30 of the finest pictures from various catalogues and of all versions of the 124 Spider during several decades had to be transformed and worked up graphically to a great extent before it could be used and satisfied my imagination for this nice challenge.
Respectfully dedicated to Pininfarina and Tom Tjaarda.
Fiat 124 Spider - my bird's-eye view 1
Fiat 124 Spider - my bird's-eye view 2 - same movie with different background music.
I am busy to convert the YouTube videos in a screen saver under the condition that it is identical to the YouTube movie you just saw, and that the music can be turned off so it can work silently in the background on your computer or on your notebook.
Note: click the header picture above to admire a larger image (as with most of my header pictures).
Sunday, July 20, 2014
As requested in MY GUESTBOOK, I was invited by an appreciated follower of my blog from Brazil, to repost a picture of my Swiss Bernese mountain dog sitting on the back seat of my Spider, that was published on my former website.
Along with THE PICTURE INVOLVED the accompanying text on my website was then:
Most dogs are just crazy about driving in a car with their head out of the window. Just as my Swiss Bernese mountain dog ' Tessa ' likes to do.
The unpleasant side of it is, that most dogs after such a drive in the open air, will catch some nasty red eyes or even a serious inflammation of the eyes. Just like my dog.
And, if on warm and sunny days ( on a bright country highway, COOL WIND IN MY HAIR , warm smell of mowed grasses, rising up through the air ) you want to get out for a drive without leaving your dog at home all alone, you got to think of something unusual.
In my situation I decided to visit a specialist shop for motorcycles and motorcycle accessories to try on a real motorcycle goggles for my friendly housemate. Thanks to her massive head and pronounced nose most goggles fitted her surprisingly well and ( after a lot of fun and laughter with the sales personnel ) I selected a trendy Italian type ( AN ORIGINAL BARUFFALDI ) because of the perfect fit.
After that, I bought in a pet shop an adjustable dog harness and with some tinkering in my Spider a solid anchored safety belt was mounted behind the back seat bench.
Although I know that she is not fond of the fumbling with the goggles beforehand, she endures all this because she knows that she is going with me in the open Spider. She is, like most dogs, so fond of driving in the open air, that for her it compensates all unpleasant preparations.
Sitting on the back seat, she towers - owing to HER MASSIVE SIZE - just above the windscreen up in the wind. With wild flapping hair and ears and her cool motorcycle goggles she visibly enjoys the fast passing world from her new high perspective. And because of that pleasure I started all this, but now without painful and unpleasant eye problems for my beloved Spider dog !
FASTEN SEAT BELTS . . . . READY FOR TAKE OFF !
Thursday, July 10, 2014
AN IMPRESSIVE, GREAT ITALIAN DISCOVERY BLOG (- IN DUTCH -)
EEN PRACHTIGE ONTDEKKINGSBLOG DOOR ITALIË
waarover de maakster - Saskia Balmaekers - op haar website schrijft:
Welkom op mijn Italiëblog!
Ik neem jullie elke dag even mee naar Italië, om te genieten van de Italiaanse cultuur, de Italiaanse keuken en de Italiaanse taal. Uiteraard zal ik ook regelmatig restaurantjes, boeken, films en evenementen bespreken, zodat je het Italiëgevoel ook gewoon op een doordeweekse avond kunt opzoeken of zelfs in huis kunt halen!
Zelf ben ik sinds mijn eerste kennismaking met Italië helemaal verslingerd geraakt aan het land, de geuren, het heerlijke eten, de druk gebarende mensen op straat, de taal....
Met Ciao Tutti wil ik iedereen die deze passie voor Italië deelt (of die het gewoon een heel fijn vakantieland vindt) voorzien van leuke weetjes, nuttige tips, lekkere adresjes (in Italië en in Nederland) en het laatste nieuws uit Italië.
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
A FEW SUBJECTIVE OBSERVATIONS
AFTER THREE WEEKS IN ITALY AND 5.000 KILOMETERS ON ITALIAN ROADS
( apart from countless other amazing, staggering, impressive and brilliant Italian observations )
1a. The Autostrada's are superbly constructed masterpieces with their innumerable tunnels
and their on pillars built highways
1b. The road surfaces of the rest of the road network is in a lousy bad state.
2a. I observed and saw only NEW cars, despite the deep Italian financial crisis
2b. I noticed only two ( ! ) older Fiat Panda's. Italians are not interested in old-timers.
3a. In most cases these new cars were all white
3b. Very rarely I saw a car in a color other than white, black or (less) grey
4a. I felt like coming from another planet adjusting my driving speed according to the traffic
speed limitation signs
4b. Speed limitations? WTF . . . Italians don't care at all !
5a. Despite three weeks of continuous sunshine in June, I did not see any Italian in a convertible
5b. I noticed 2 convertibles in this inviting topless period ( 1 from Britain and 1 from Germany )
6a. I noticed just ONE Alfa Spider
6b. Although I looked out for it: I observed NOT ONE FIAT 124 SPIDER !
Additionally it was an anticlimax to learn from many Italians that they didn't recognize
their own Italian made Fiat 124 Spider anymore. Apart from that, they didn't care.
7a. Without prejudices, Italians ( both men and women ) are the most handsome, good-looking
and well-dressed Europeans in my opinion
7b. I saw several Mona Lisa's walking around like the one on the painting in the Louvre in Paris.
8a. Italians are - beyond all doubt - superior MASTERS IN DESIGN
8b. And besides that, in many ways they are real MASTERS IN THE ART OF LIVING.
9a. Don't learn the Italian language if you don't have to
9b. With "va bene", "molto bene", "prego", "mille grazie", "buon giorno" and "arrivederci"
you can travel the whole country.
10a. Pasta dishes are far too overrated in the Italian and international cuisine
10b. The first course anti-pasti dishes are far too underrated.
11a. I observed a large number of African boat refugees all over the country
11b. Although I avoid to discuss any political tinted subjects here, in my opinion it is a
great injustice that the rest of Europe just doesn't give a damn about this major Italian
( thus collective ) European problem.
The Italian cartoon animator Bruno Bozzetto thinks differently.
Watch his crazy exaggerated "Europe versus Italy" animations HERE and HERE.
Friday, July 4, 2014
After I made the plan to stay 2 days in every of the 10 districts that I intended to travel across during my 3 weeks tour in Italy, I made maps of every single district with all the marked (Borghi) villages that I wanted to visit. With the help of these detailed district maps, I chose the most strategic location for my accommodation during those 2 days. In that specific region I searched for a pleasant address for bed and breakfast.
In most of these provinces I stayed in one of the wonderful so-called AGRITURISMO accommodations, right between endless vineyards, olive and hazelnut estates in the rural countryside, where having a car is a must.
A few Agriturismo accommodations where I stayed:
- in Lombardy in CASCINA PEZZOLO
- in Piemont in CASCINA GIARDINI
- in Tuscany in RELAIS PALAZZO DI LUGLIO
- in Veneto in VILLA SERENA
When I arrived in the afternoon at the PALAZZO DI LUGLIO in Tuscany, after driving 390 km from my BED & BREAKFAST accommodation in Liguria, I was surprised by all the activities in and around the gardens and swimming pool from this wonderful located residence on top of a hill with a breathtaking panoramic view.
So I asked the owner of the Palazzo what was going on and he replied that a big "matrimonio"-party was going to be held that evening and night with a lot of guests. And he added: in case you are interested to be invited, I'll take care of that, don't worry !
But first of all I will arrange something to eat and to drink from the catering-boys so I am able to say "Benvenuto" and "Salute" to you as my respected guest ! So a full plate of Anti-Pasti and a perfect bottle of white wine in a cooler were in front of me within minutes.
As a guest in the wedding party that night I was drinking too much champagne and I had to be very careful walking straight along the swimming pool ( because I can't swim ) to get my next portion of prosciutto, salmon or truffle ( there was a bowl with big black truffles! ) delicacy.
A guest in a great Italian wedding party in Tuscany.
I NEVER, EVER could have dreamt about such a unique event in my life !
A glass of champagne in one hand and in the other my camera, I made a serie of simple snapshots of the wonderful wedding party at Palazzo di Luglio in Tuscany .
A presentation of these pictures you can see here: A WEDDING PARTY IN TUSCANY.
Thursday, July 3, 2014
My specific personal points of interest were NOT the widely known tourist attractions in the major Italian cities, like Milan, Turin, Genoa, Florence, Pisa, Bologna and Venice (which I did not visit at all) nor the known northern lakes that I saw already countless times represented in postcards and tourist brochures, but to discover and visit the rather unknown and fascinating hidden villages of Italy, as the Italians call it: Il fascino dell'Italia nacosta.
I made a unique tour along a large number of BORGHI PIÙ BELLI D'ITALIA ( the most beautiful and precious villages and small cities of Italy ) in north-east, north-west and in mid-Italy.
Villages with this proud and honorable predicate were nominated by a select group of Italian well-known experts in the field of architecture, landscape, environment, cultural heritage, history and arts. National experts who started their unique initiative for an Italian Heritage List in 2001.
The aim of this selection was ( is ) helping to preserve, maintain, revitalise and grant the unique charm and value of these small individual villages, which - being outside the main tourist routes - risk, despite the great value, of being forgotten with consequent degradation, depopulation and abandonment.
Initially the group included a hundred villages, later increased to 211 (June 2014) nominated with the DISTINCTIVE SIGN I Borghi Più Belli d'Italia being elected as the most beautiful, most unique and charming villages of Italy with their attractive streets and buildings, exceptional squares, museums, churches, their long and impressive history and their photogenic perspectives.
With MY LOYAL, PERFECTLY RUNNING 124 SPIDER ( here in front of the main gate of the Ferrari industrial premises in Maranello ) I drove along THESE FABULOUS HIDDEN ITALIAN GEMS ( and along about one hundred villages more ) occasionally over very narrow, bumpy roads with pot holes, over many MILES-LONG FARM AND COUNTRY TRACKS just wide enough for one car, over unpaved or badly paved dirt roads, along hundreds of hairpin bends, over the perfect smooth, superbly constructed AUTOSTRADA with hundreds of tunnels, I drove more than 3000 miles (approx. 5000 km) in 21 days, only in Italy.
You are only able to make an intensive tour like I did, if you are willing to have breakfast every morning between 7:30 and 8:00 PM, make your day program at 8:30 and start your car engine at 9:00 PM and go !
Without power brakes and power steering it was tough and hard labour, but more than worthwhile visiting THESE AMAZING HIDDEN ITALIAN TREASURES ( I took pictures of only a limited number of them ). Most of the time I was the one and only visitor !
Tuesday, July 1, 2014
Home again . . . .
The original plan I had, to make a roundtrip along the Adriatic Coast in Croatia and Bosnia in June with my 124 Spider was called off owing to the completely unexpected and dramatic waterflood in the Bosnia region mid-May last, in which region a few weeks later a large part of the return journey should have been taken place.
So I cancelled the entire Balkan roundtrip project, called off overnight all the well prepared hotel reservations at the end of May and changed the roundtrip direction towards Italy.
In the few days that were left, I worked out and organized a wonderful 3-weeks roundtrip through the Italian districts FRIULI-VENEZIA, Trentino-Alto Adige, Lombardy, Piedmont, Liguria, Tuscany, Umbria, Marches, Emilia-Romagna and Veneto. And in every region a wonderful accomodation for 2 days to explore the region and to visit specific points of interest.
Sunday, May 25, 2014
Saturday, April 26, 2014
In an additional note Tom Tjaarda wrote me about the Rayton Fissore MAGNUM / LAFORZA:
Designed in 1984 while I headed up the Rayton-Fissore Design Group, this project is significant in that it really started the era of the SUV type vehicle. It was the very first big off-road vehicle to use soft and rounded forms and to take this type of car away from the "truck-like" design concepts used previously.
More than 6000 of the MAGNUM / LAFORZA vehicles were eventually produced, starting in 1985, interrupted a few times and then continuing to 1998 - and put back into production with a revised design in 2003. The Magnum / LaForza Turin PSV features a 455 hp supercharged motor, driving 160 mph, luxury interior and a 2 ton frame.
Available as a High Performance model or a fully ARMORED PERSONAL SECURITY VEHICLE (picture in front of the exquisite Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas). It is the only factory-built armored luxury PSV in the world.
Friday, April 25, 2014
Tjaarda got restless after four years at Fiat, one reason being that the design center suffered from weak management which resulted mostly in all the important vehicles not being designed in-house but rather outside at Italdesign, Bertone and Pininfarina.
A new challenge came along to set up a design center for a group located outside Torino in the historic town of CHERASCO. Gulio Malvino, who was married to the daughter of the famed coach building family Fissore, had created a small factory to design and fabricate prototypes and small production armored cars and trucks.
Also involved in this business was GIANMARIO ROSSIGNOLO, who was the president and managing director of Lancia for many years and a friend of Tom Tjaarda.
Many interesting projects resulted from this new company. The Spanish company of SEAT AUTO had recently split with Fiat and were on their own now, looking for design expertise.
Tjaarda's relationship with Ford and Mr. LEE IACOCCA, who was now CEO at Chrysler, resulted in a number of prototypes being designed and built in the town of Cherasco. Also personal armored cars were built for Lancia, a very special jazzed up truck tractor called "cowboy" produced for Iveco, and then the now famous RAYTON FISSORE 4X4 MAGNUM, considered to be the very first SUV type vehicle, was then produced for the following eighteen years!
Following is a complete list of the vehicles which Tjaarda designed while working at Rayton Fissore:
SEAT RONDA production 1981
SEAT GUAPPA COUPÉ show car 1981
CHRYSLER LEBARON concept prototype 1982
CHRYSLER IMPERIAL concept prototype 1982
SAAB VIKING SHOW CAR 1982
TORINO TAXI prototype 1983
RAYTON FISSORE MAGNUM PRODUCTION 1984
Saturday, April 19, 2014
The job offer from Fiat came about in the winter of 1978, and turned out to be an interesting proposition in that it was a managing position for the Fiat Advanced Design Studio.
Working for such a big organization was a bit different form Tjaarda's previous experience but it was here that he was able to learn the techniques of industrial giants internal methods of management.
It was a difficult period regarding automotive design, especially at Fiat with many strikes and adverse political conditions. On the other hand many interesting developments were applied to car design such as the use of the wind tunnel for aerodynamic efficiency and the use of color-coded plastics for integrated bumpers.
Working in a design office together with 15 designers and modelers, the four years at Fiat resulted in a number of interesting prototypes with Tjaarda working this time not as an individual designer but as group manager. Following are a few of the projects which resulted in prototypes and styling demonstration models.
TIPO 4 - LANCIA / FIAT - 4 door styling models 1979
FIAT POLAND - off-road vehicle prototype 1979
FIAT BRAZIL prototype 1980
FIAT BRAZIL - small car styling model 1980
FIAT 124 - restyling prototype 1980
LANCIA Y-10 PROTOTYPE 1981
Sunday, April 13, 2014
While still working at Ghia, Tjaarda teamed up with a friend, Peter Giacobbi, to design and build a running prototype. Called the SINTHESIS, this concept vehicle was hand built over a two year period. Using the power and suspension unit of the LANCIA FLAVIA placed in a mid-ship position, a new chassis was designed by Giacobbi and a coupé sports car body designed by Tjaarda to complete this hobby project.
The car was shown in the TURIN AUTO SHOW in 1972. The public showing of this one-off prototype turned out to be shocking and created dramatic speculation as to who did it, where did it come from and what was its purpose. Even DeTomaso called his friends at Fiat to find out if they had engaged Tjaarda to work for them !
The ashes settled when both Giacobbi and Tjaarda produced all the evidence that it was indeed - a hobby project.
The SINTHESIS was awarded the PEOPLES CHOICE AWARD in the 2011 LA QUINTA DESERT CLASSIC CONCOURS d'ELEGANCE (scroll furter down), in the 1992 CONCORSO ITALIANO and was also displayed at the 1997 PEBBLE BEACH CONCOURS d'ELEGANCE. The car is now in permanent display in a Automobile Museum in southern California.
PETER GIACOBBI'S AND TOM TJAARDA'S ONE-OFF AUTOMOTIVE DREAM
The divided circle selected as THE LOGO for Giacobbi's and Tjaarda's one-off GT coupe, Sinthesis, tells the whole story: "The Yin and Yang of it", to use the owner's words.
Giacobbi and Tjaarda have accomplished an ambition that most of us have merely fantasized....they have had a car built to their own specifications. By that, we don't mean anything so prosaic as ordering from some manufacturer's lengthy list of options, powertrains and colors. Anyone could have done that, at least up until a few decades or so ago. Engineer Giacobbi and designer Tjaarda spent two years creating a one-off GT solely for their own personal gratification, a car they intended to drive daily as his "beater". Built in 1970, Synthesis was the first car to be fitted with air bags - for both driver and passenger.
Thursday, April 3, 2014
THE CROATIAN INITIATOR
As mentioned in my previous post, the initiator of the tour in Croatia along the Adriatic Coast is Sany Antonio and can easily be recognized by one of his 8 (eight!) Fiat Spiders as you may see HERE.
And a number of his Spiders HERE.
Sany wrote earlier about his passion for the 124 Spider:
Myself, I am an Italian sportscar collector. My 'Spider-connection' and involvement with the 124 Spiders started 40 years ago. I had and enjoyed many of them. In the late 60' I lived in Bavaria, when I bought my 1st 124 Spider, a 1400 ccm AS model. I remember driving my Spiders even during the winter, when going skiing in the Alps!
From the late 70' I lived for 7 years in South Africa and there, I have found and also bought the only 2 Spiders available (in the whole country). Of course, I did restore them too, and drove them all over. I made few long trips in South Africa and several times I visited even the Cape of Good Hope with my black 1968 AS Spider.
In 1984 I moved to California and of course, soon I have found new Spiders and drove them all along the Pacific coast from Mexico to Oregon and all across the USA.
In an 1983 DS Spider I drove from Los Angeles, along the Route 66, all the way to Chicago and Detroit. I was close to the Niagara falls, have crossed America from North to South, to Georgia and Florida. And at all times I had at least a few Fiat 124 Spiders in my garage.
Then in 1996 I did move my vintage car collection back to Europe. There were 11 cars, those that I 'could not' leave behind and 'had' to ship from Los Angeles to Bremen. Later, one by one, I drove them down to the Mediterranean, back to the roots, to Croatia. Since then, I have sold a few of them, as the storage/ parking space has become a problem here.
Soon after I moved here, in 1997 I founded our Spider Club Croatia.
THE DAY-TO-DAY ROUND TRIP PROGRAM
Details about the day-to-day Adriatic Coast / Croatia round trip program you find HERE.
About the approximate costs of lodging during the tour Sany Antonio reports:
If you would choose an accommodation in a private apartment you would have to spend Euro 80- for a very good & clean apartment per night for 2 persons. That does not include breakfast, as one can get things in a nearby store and prepare breakfast in the apartment or just have in a nearby café a coffee, tea, juice & a croissant for just a few Euros.
And those are the prices in the SELCE region (in the North on the Croatian coast) and in Split we have a nice lodging in a little private hotel right by the water for about 45- Euros per person, including a nice breakfast too. In Dubrovnik I have also found good , nice and clean rooms for Euro 50- per night for 2, included breakfast. This lodging is right down by the water, in a little beautiful bay , just 5 km in front of Dubrovnik.
Anyhow, if you prefer individual lodging in hotels...then there are many in Selce, Split, Dubrovnik and all over the coast...and you can find and book them on the internet in advance.
Friday, March 28, 2014
A UNIQUE FIAT 124 SPIDER & ROADSTER TOUR FROM JUNE 10 TO JUNE 25, 2014
Mr. SANY ANTONIO from Croatia (click his name to read more about him and his passion for the 124 Spider) is the initiator of a magnificent 15-days tour next June when the roads are not that full and the weather is NOT TOO HOT yet. A perfect period in which hotels and good private accomodations are still available.
Two years ago Sany Antonio wrote: It would be nice to meet some new Spider enthusiasts / friends, and for sure it will be an unforgettable Spider tour, with the top down along the ADRIATIC COAST, over to the Islands, then to DUBROVNIK and back to Split and in the mountains to PLITVICE LAKES NATIONAL PARK.
If needed, I can arrange accommodation during the roundtrip, here on the Northern coast where I am at, or in Dubrovnik where one other Spider Club Croatia member has rooms/apartments too to rent, right down on the water.
In my own Spider collection today, I have a 1970 BS1, 1971 BS1 USA Racing, 1975 CS1, 1983 DS Pininfarina Azzurra, 1958 1200 TV Pininfarina Spider, 1957 1200 Pininfarina Spider (in restoration process), 1986 Maserati Spider 2500 Zagato, 1976 A.R Alfetta GT Sprint Veloce 2000 Injezione and a 1968 Fiat Dino Spider (in restoration process).
CROATIA - THE MEDITERRANEAN AS IT ONCE WAS . . . .
Now - Spring 2014 - Sany Antonio repeated his unique offer and wrote:
I hope to hear from you and meet you and some of your Spider enthusiasts from Northern Europe (Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, United Kingdom) here in Croatia for a magnificent long Spider round trip along the Adriatic coast .... with the top down. Also other open roadsters are more than welcome !
Anyhow, I seized this new opportunity right away and booked meanwhile a motorail train that will bring me and my Fiat 124 Spider in one night from Düsseldorf (Germany) to Villach (Austria) close to the Slovenian border to avoid driving boring highways southwards. From there it is only 250 kilometres to SELCE (near Rijeka) where Sany Antonio will start his unique Croation Adriatic round trip.
Total length of the 15 days trip in Croatia about 2000 kilometres.
Needless to say, that your Spider (or Roadster) should be mechanically in top condition.
INTERESTED TO JOIN WITH YOUR FIAT SPIDER OR OPEN ROADSTER?
Let me know and send a message to email@example.com
Participants must be registered before May 1. 2014
Details about the day-to-day Adriatic Coast / Croatia round trip program you find HERE.
Information about motorail trains to Villach you'll find HERE.
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Two of the frequently visited pages of my former web site were the pages with the electrical schemes. Because these pages were still on my external hard disk, I repost these pages with pleasure on my blog again.
Click HERE to open the complete electrical schemes of the 124 Spider - USA versions 1970 in four parts that can be downloaded and printed.
And subsquently click HERE (or below) to get a compilation of 46 (!) electrical circuit schemes according to the below-mentioned specifications. These files can be downloaded and printed as well, to use it as you wish.
• Relay Location
• Key to 1976 124 Spider Wiring Diagram
• Fuse A and Unprotected Circuits
• Fuse B
• Fuses C, D, E, F, G and H
• Fuse 1 and Inline fuse
• Fuse 1
• Inline fuse and Unprotected Circuits
Sunday, March 9, 2014
In the spring of 1967, ALEJANDRO DETOMASO gave a call to Tjaarda asking if he was interested to rejoin Ghia. Even if having a reputation of being rather difficult and demanding, DeTomaso was full of ideas and had many projects in mind. In fact, the ten years Tjaarda spent at Ghia the number of prototypes and production cars which emerged was startling, to say the least.
GIORGETTI GIUGIARO had worked at Ghia before Tjaarda's arrival and had started to rebuild their reputation with such cars as the MANGUSTA, the MASERATI GHIBLI and a number of show cars.
LEE IACOCCA, then at Ford, came along to work with DeTomaso to produce the Pantera, the Deauville, the Longchamp and a long list of prototype study models used as incentives for Ford production vehicles, the most famous being the FORD FIESTA, being produced in great quantity.
By 1975 the reputation of Ghia had grown to the point that Ford bought the Ghia company outright. De Tomaso left in 1976 to set up his own small empire with Maserati, Innocenti and the Guzzi and Benelli motorcycle companies, however Ghia continued on as the Ford European Design and Prototype Center for many years until closing down for good, in the year 2000.
Sunday, March 2, 2014
At the HAGERTY web pages - see my former blog - I learned, that the auction price of the unique and extremely rare 1966-1967 Ferrari 365 California Spyder, designed by Tom Tjaarda, moved up exceptionally in the last 7 to 8 years. Just have a look at its spectacular rise HERE and HERE.
To be exact: it quadrupled in a period of 7 years !
On Hagerty's web pages you'll find valuation tools which are designed to empower enthusiasts who are buying, selling, or simply becoming familiar with a classic.
They provide vital details on a vehicle’s value in a variety of formats, and strive to deliver a meaningful visual representation of not only a car’s present value, but how it has performed in the past and where it might be headed in the future.
They do this all in an effort to make you a smarter enthusiast, and they strongly believe that greater information and transparency in the marketplace lead to more satisfied owners and a healthier hobby overall.
Traverse City, Michigan USA
In 1983, Frank and Louise Hagerty realized that appropriate insurance coverage for their collector wooden boats didn't exist. So — armed with years of general-lines insurance experience — the Hagertys launched a revolutionary agreed value policy for collector boats. Within a few years, half of the vintage boat owners in the country were Hagerty clients.
In 1991, HAGERTY created a similar product for collector cars.
And in 1995 two of Frank and Louise's three children, Kim and McKeel, came home to run the family business - despite their vows to never make a career of insurance!
Together they've overseen the company's tremendous growth, which has been supported by a great product, exceptional client service, cutting-edge technology, creative marketing and, of course, intelligent, forward-thinking and hard-working employees.
In 25 years, Hagerty has grown from a small agency headquartered in the Hagerty family basement to the leading provider of collector car and boat insurance in the world !
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Am surprised that the Italian mail system is now functioning very well and you have already received the material which I sent. Actually I sent this to you thinking that it would be usefull for your archives and to use it as you wish, when the need comes up, since you are interested in many forms of art, design and architecture.
Interesting that you are a jewelry designer. Where I live in the hills of Torino, my neighbor is married to the nephew of Pietro Frua, the famous Torinese auto designer. He is a well known jewelry designer himself and also owner of the entire Frua archives which is housed on the property where I live.
I am sure that you learned patience from your profession.
Let me know if you need something more concerning my work or if I can be usefull in some way. Someday I will have to create a new website, more complete and up to date and so may call in on your expertise on this project if you can spare the time and naturally accept being paid for this service.
But for now I have enough to think about concerning the new PSV vehicle we are reading for production and also a new sports car which should be ready for next years Geneva show.
All the best for now
Saturday, February 15, 2014
After the hectic and exciting period of Italy 61, things settled down a bit when moving on to the Pininfarina design studios.
Deadlines were an important factor, but first of all the design mock-ups had to be absolutely perfect before being given the OK by Battista Pininfarina to be made into running metal prototypes. This was an important aspect, every line, surface and form had to be dead on, even the angle of the exhaust pipe.
Wooden bucks would be first covered in hammered out aluminum panels, taken out into the sunlight and covered with oil to detect any imperfections. Striving for such perfection sometimes took a lot of time, but also put Pininfarina on the international map of automotive design.
The first model designed by Tjaarda was the FERRARI 330 2 PLUS 2. This occurred after almost a year with the firm but after that, many more started to emerge. FRANCO MARTINENGO (right, with Tom Tjaarda left) was the director of design and encouraged and supported Tjaarda in working together on the numerous vehicles coming out of the Carrozzeria Farina design studios.
Following is the list of cars designed by Tjaarda while working there from 1961 until 1966.
Thursday, February 13, 2014
In the winter of 1960 Tjaarda was offered a job at Pininfarina, known then as simply Carrozzeria Farina. Before going directly to work for them however, he was put on special assignment with a group of architects which were planning a huge exhibition known as the
EXHIBITION OF STYLE, DESIGN AND CUSTOMS.
The maestro himself, BATTISTA FARINA, was the director of this exhibition which was part of the overall international fair being planned for Torino during the summer of 1961 called ITALIA 61.
Click HERE to see more pictures of this unique Tjaarda monorail train.
ITALIA 61 was a huge success and took place during an important phase of Italy's emerging from the bleak period after the Second World War into a new and positive attitude and economic prosperity. "The Economic Boom" as they called it, and everyone seemed happy and full of enthusiasm for the future.
Sunday, February 9, 2014
Coming to Italy in the late summer of 1958, Tjaarda was fortunate in that he was fresh from studies in college, for he had to learn Italian and pick up the techniques of designing automobiles, both as quickly as possible.
LUIGI SEGRE was a very charismatic type and had friends everywhere, especially in the States which resulted in many projects being done for Chrysler and Ford. Special coupé's were built for the famous Hollywood actors Frank Sinatra, Peter Lawford, Sammy Davis Jr. and Dean Martin - known as the RATPACK. And along with the KARMANN GHIA, a delightful little coupé, really put Ghia on the map.
Click here for more detailed information about the Karmann-Ghia Coupé and Convertible.
Ghia had many important clients such as KARMANN (Wilhelm Karmann right, Luigi Segre left) and HERE (Mr. and Mrs. Karmann and Ghia's Luigi Segre with the Karmann Ghia cabriolet), Renault, Chrysler, Fiat and even a company from Poland, called Polinez. They also made limited numbers of the FIAT 500 JOLLY BEACH CAR.
The first car Tjaarda designed was the INNOCENTI 950 SPYDER, which was then put into production from 1960 until 1965.
Saturday, February 8, 2014
Greatly surprised and honoured, I found my name in the most detailed international (English) PININFARINA PAGE at Wikipedia, all the more I never had anything to do with this worldwide internet encyclopedia. The original author of this report calls himself "Grugliasco" and added the address of my Fiat 124 Spider blog to the "References" part of this page on May 17. last year.
I really feel flattered and it feels like a compliment for my efforts in this specific automotive world.
The detailed and extensive Pininfarina page can be found HERE.
All the more confronting with the narrow-minded local Dutch Fiat 124 Sport Spider Register, ignoring my bilingual Fiat 124 Spider website and blog during more than 10 years, except at the moment of closure and funeral of my Spidersweb.nl last month. Nevertheless I felt happy with other FANS AND ADMIRERS from every part of the world during all those years.
BTW: The username of the author is "Grugliasco", which is the name of a commune in the Province of Turin, where a part of the Pininfarina plants was situated, opened in 1958. Our Fiat 124 Spiders were built in the Mirafiori and Lingotto premises in Turin and in Rivalta di Torino.
Thursday, February 6, 2014
Illustrated above is a 1:10 scale model of a vehicle which Tjaarda designed during his last semester at the UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN.
Preparing for a degree in architecture, there were enough credits to take an elective on the side. His professor, AARRE KOTIVALO LAHTI, was a Professor of Art from Finland and made it clear that this elective was not a fun course. In other words Tjaarda could not design a sports car as was his desire!
So, to get around these limits placed by his professor, Tjaarda came up with an idea for a family car which he called a - SPORT WAGON.
As it turned out, Lahti had been on a sabbatical in Europe during the summer of 1967, had visited all the well known design oriented manufacturers like Philips, Olivetti, Mercedes as well as the now famous carrozzeria's in the Turin area as Bertone, Farina and - Ghia.
The designer of our Fiat 124 Spider, Mr. Tom Tjaarda, sent me in Februari/March 2004 a portfolio with a summary of his experiences, his automotive designs and industrial design projects as well as wonderful series of corresponding photographs.
This volume is dedicated to the professional work and experiences of TOM TJAARDA from the time he arrived in Italy in the summer of 1958 up to 2003.
A brief description of the way in which he was able to come to Italy to work as an automotive stylist will be followed by the professional experiences which Tjaarda participated in while working with some of Torino's exclusive design houses and world automotive manufactures.
From correspondence that I carried on a few years ago with the German automobile historian Dr. Stefan Dierkes appeared, that Tom Tjaarda for the benefit of a scientific archiving of his immense amount of produced work, the publicity rights of all his sketches, drawings, designs and photo archives from his very productive automotive life was handed over to the mentioned German automobile historian in July 2004.
I , Anthony Westen, still have contact with Tom Tjaarda, who is living in Turin and still runs his Design Studio there. He was among many other things design consultant for the exclusive automobile builders Spyker in Zeewolde (Netherlands) and is invited regularly by automobile builders in Detroit, Germany, Korea, Japan and China. He is still worldwide a celebrated and favorite designer and design consultant.
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
I made a magnificent tour with my 124 Spider to the Eifel and Mosel area in Germany last October and took a lot of pictures.
Playing with some photographic software, I drew up a short story of just eight simple still pictures that is giving an impression of a moving animation or video movie.
Nonetheless.....it only consists of 8 simple motionless pictures!
A suggestion for an animation of your Spider or your holiday trip? See more HERE.
Friday, January 24, 2014
Now that I was forced to close my site Spidersweb.nl and Fiat124Spider.com involuntarily, I will re-continue my newsletters and bulletins about my precious 124 Spider again through this Spider related blog: fiat124spidersweb.blogspot.nl .
Background: my site Spidersweb was hacked completely twice in the last week of december 2013 and in the following first week of january 2014 and hundreds of files were infected by malware intentionally, sent by outside sick morons so that I hardly had any control over my heavily infected site.
It was my one and only argument to remove all my files, photos, images, videos and music, and to close my site instantaneously after consultation with my hosting company, when the site was hacked for the second time last January 10. 2014.
For more 124 Spider-related information and news notes, I herewith welcome all my loyal international Fiat 124 Spider friends, visitors and interested persons to my (again well-attended) Fiat 124 Spider blog !
Monday, January 20, 2014
According to WIKIPEDIA a coincidence (often stated as a mere coincidence) is a collection of two or more events or conditions, closely related by time, space, form, or other associations which appear unlikely to bear a relationship as either cause to effect or effects of a shared cause, within the observer's or observers' understanding of what cause can produce what effects.
Read about my definition of this word HERE and the role my Fiat 124 Spider played in this story.
Saturday, January 18, 2014
Although not an automotive issue whatsoever (if you allow me once a year), I would like to redirect you to a few pages of mine that I sent to my relatives and friends at the beginning of this new year.
And now through my 124 Spider blog to ALL OF YOU SPIDER FRIENDS ! Read and view more HERE.
After more than 10 years designing, creating, writing, translating, illustrating and - last but not least - financing privately, I decided to close my personal websites Spiderweb.nl and Fiat124Spider.com as from January 14, 2014.
I intend to revitalize my Fiat 124 Spider blog - La Bella Macchina - again this year.
Sunday, September 30, 2012
THE DIARY OF A FIAT 124 SPIDER
Already during many years I am following a magnificent shaped diary with about 70 entries and wonderful clear ( technical ) pictures from the passionate Spider-lover Eduardo ( Eddie ) Relvas and his muse ( he calls her tenderly ' Betty ' ) from Portalegre, Portugal under the compelling title:
A QUEST FOR BEAUTY .
Today ( September 30. 2012 ) Eduardo writes in his diary:
'Reading back on my previous posts, it seems I've acquired the routine of apologising at the beginning of every post for not writing more often. So no more apologies.
No, the irregular post frequency does not mean the car has not been in use. Far from it.
In fact, it continues at its peak. But let's not get ahead of ourselves, and get the story up to date.
Sunday, September 23, 2012
About ten years ago I stumbled over a thrilling picture of a quite UNUSUAL MOTORCYCLE .
Because of my unremitting curious nature, I wanted to know who designed and created this
WONDERFUL VEHICLE and found out on a Russian ( ! ) website, that it was created by the Italian engineer, automobile and motorcycle designer ( Francesco Zefferino ) FRANCO SBARRO , living and working in Neuchâtel, Switzerland.
And . . . . on these completely unexpected Russian pages a fascinating new world opened in front of me. I lost all my consciousness of time and was dreaming in a fantasy world for many, many, many hours.
I found myself on the website of CARDESIGN.RU which was at that time only in the Russian language. Because of the widespread international interest in the site, a part of it was separated later in the English language with the address CARDESIGNCOMMUNITY.COM
CarDesignCommunity.com describe themselves as: a professional informative online service and online community aimed mainly at professionals in the automotive industry, design students and transportation design devotees.
Friday, September 21, 2012
TRAVEL TIPS FOR COUPLES ON A ROLL
Maybe it's built into us, or maybe it's the influence of literature and the movie screen, but few would try to deny the romantic appeal of A HAPPY COUPLE riding off together into the sunset. It's the honeymoon ideal, the inspiration for a thousand song lyrics, the fantasy of untold legions of Cupid-struck lovers. Even if the mode of transportation is a trusty Toyota instead of a red convertible or a black stallion, many lovebirds find the call of the open road irresistible.
For every couple that returns from a maiden road trip in dream-come-true mode, however, there's another that comes home thinking: "Never again!" The gap between fantasy and reality hits many road trip dreamers like four simultaneous blowouts at speed. "This is nothing like we imagined!" blindsided travelers wail as a simple decision like where to eat turns into a full-blown civil war.
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Volkswagen presented last February its new platform called MODULAR TRANSVERSE MATRIX - the German acronym is MQB ( MODULAR QUER BAUKASTEN ) - for the Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda and Seat brands. This platform will be shared by a larger number of models within the Volkswagen's group in relation to current platforms.
It's an important enhancement in automotive production representing a turning point in the design and production of future automobiles. VW expects to cut costs, production time and cars weight with the MQB platform. This platform represents a major step forward in VW's strategy to become the world's largest auto manufacturer by 2018.
VOLKSWAGEN GROUP OVERVIEW
The Volkswagen Group is based in Germany and is one of the world's leading automobile manufacturers and the largest in Europe. The Group is made up of ten brands: Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT, Skoda, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, VW Commercial Vehicles, Scania and MAN. Each brand has its own character and operates as an independent entity on the market. The product spectrum extends from low-consumption small cars to luxury class vehicles. It also has a stake in Porsche AG, which is expected to fully integrate the VW Group in the short-term.
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Shortly after the last FERRARI 500 SUPERFAST was made in 1967, the Ferrari 365 California Spyder was announced as the model's successor. It was the continuation of a series of limited production cars which included the 410 AND 400 SUPERAMERICA'S.
These cars were marketed to attract premium customers who demanded a MORE UNIQUE COACHWORK on their grand touring machines. To keep costs down, but exclusivity high, the 365 California was only offered to select VIP clients of Ferrari.
To much success, the California title had been already been associated with the earlier 250 GT SERIES . Around one hundred 250 California Spyders were built with some light alloy competizione examples actually racing Le Mans and Sebring. Drawing on this rich heritage, Ferrari decided that the NEW 365 SPYDER would be marketed as the next California model.
Sunday, September 9, 2012
5: LEAKING FLUID
Leaking transmission fluid is probably one of the easiest ways to identify that your transmission needs attention. Automatic transmission fluid is vital to your car's shifting capabilities, so a little fluid on your driveway can quickly turn into a major problem. Automatic transmission fluid is bright red, clear and a little sweet-smelling when everything is working correctly.
When you check your automatic transmission fluid, make sure it's not a dark color and that it doesn't have a burnt smell. If it is, you'll need to take it to a mechanic and have it replaced. Unlike your car's motor oil, the transmission doesn't really consume or burn up any fluid during use, so if you notice you're running low on fluid, then it's definitely leaking out somewhere.
If you have a manual transmission, checking the fluid levels may not be as easy as simply lifting the hood and reading a dipstick. Manual transmission fluid has to be checked right at the transmission case -- usually through the fill plug. Again, if you suspect your transmission is losing fluid, have a mechanic locate the leak and have it fixed.
If your fluid level is good, there's another easy way to know if there's something wrong with the transmission: go on to the next item to see how you can find out if your transmission is having problems -- without even having to pop the hood.
Diagnosing car problems yourself may seem like an impossible task, but try to think of it in terms of your own body. For instance, if your stomach begins to hurt without warning, you'll probably start thinking of the last thing you ate in order to figure out why you're having the pain.
A similar type of thinking goes into diagnosing car trouble. The moment you start noticing something out of the ordinary, it's time to start considering the problem and finding a way to fix it.
Mechanical auto problems, as opposed to electrical auto problems, are usually coupled with distinct sounds and sensations that are key indicators that something isn't functioning the way it was designed to. Transmissions take a lot of use over the years, and after a while, they're bound to start having some problems. Transmission repairs can be expensive, so it's worthwhile to pay attention to anything that seems unusual.
If you think you may be having some car trouble or if you're just looking to learn more about potential transmission problems, check out these 10 signs of transmission trouble and stay one step ahead of your car.
Saturday, September 8, 2012
General Motors unveiled at Auto China Motor Show 2012 Chevrolet conceptual vision of the EN-V 2.0. This is another version of an innovative electric vehicle, which debuted at the Expo 2010 in Shanghai.
The original EN-V or ELECTRIC NETWORKED-VEHICLE was presented in SAIC-GM Pavilion at World Expo 2010 in Shanghai and became famous as one of the most interesting concepts in the history of GM. This two-seat electric vehicle that redefined the concept of the car due to the convergence of electrification and connectivity. The concept was designed to solve the problems of traffic congestion, parking availability, air quality and affordability in cities.
THE NEW MODEL EN-V 2.0 uses extra features desired by customers, such as air conditioning and practical storage space. The car also gained the possibility of movement in all weather and road conditions in the city.
Saturday, September 1, 2012
Nice to observe that my Spiderblog pages are also followed in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and in
"The Grand Canyon State" Arizona through the American forum pages of FIATSPIDER.COM as well as in a few OTHER COUNTRIES ( number of page views in 1 day: August 31. 2012 ).
Thanks "Europa", "SunnySideUp" and "azruss" for your appreciated comment. Spread the word !
The California based FIATSPIDER.COM FORUM has been online since 1996 and has become - as described by themselves: "home to some of the most knowledgeable people on the planet when it comes to fixing-up this classic sports car".
Within the contents of their forum you can find answers on:
- Fiat Spider tuning and performance
- Fiat Spider trouble shooting
- Fiat Spider wiring help
- Fiat Spider parts
- Fiat Spiders for sale
- And just about anything else you can think of about Fiat Spider automobiles.
Saturday, August 25, 2012
The Calendar is the icon of Pirelli's communication. A symbol that for over forty years not only celebrates female beauty, but also celebrates the complexity of an art that has been able to transform itself over time. With constantly changing styles and authors, this art always manages to express a new aspect of history.
A PERSONAL IMPRESSION OF THE 2012 PIRELLI CALENDAR MODELS ( wait while loading ).
The Pirelli Calendar's photographers have always immortalised a very sophisticated concept of beauty, mid-way between fashion and glamour. And every year the Cal offers a collection of images that interpret the concept of beauty in an original way, different to the previous year.
The locations are sometimes far-away and exotic, like the Bahamas, the Seychelles, Majorca and Tunisia. This year it was the Corse turn. At other times it is simply the lights of the photographer's studio that illuminate the scene.
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Tom Tjaarda continues in his letter:
" Thus the idea for the 124 spyder was born from this Corvette. My next assignment was to take this theme and prepare full size drawings to construct the WOODEN MODEL - PIC 2 - PIC 3 - PIC 4
( these are wooden models of the Ferrari 500, 365 and 330 just to give an impression how these models look like ).
To prepare these drawings was not an easy job for the simple reason that the Fiat chassis was much shorter than the Sting Ray, smaller also were the overhangings both front and rear. Thus to adapt the lines of the Rondine, which were rather long and flowing, to these shorter proportions was a real challenge.
It took me days just to plot the first profile of the car, it just did not seem to work, and it took no end of time to come up with something satisfactory. SIGNORE MARTINENGO ( left, Tjaarda - right ) could see that I was having trouble coming up with a solution and above all that it no longer looked like the Rondine. That is where he kind of saved my day, or month in this case.
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
In 2004 Tom Tjaarda - the designer of the Fiat 124 Spider - wrote me in a personal letter:
"The design of the Fiat 124 spyder has a somewhat interesting aspect in that the theme for this car is derived from a Chevrolet Corvette concept proposal from Pininfarina. It was wintertime in 1963 when I was handed a drawing of the CORVETTE STING RAY chassis and began making idea sketches including a 1:4 scale model of a concept car to be shown in the Paris Auto Salon that October. My design was the one selected and the full size running prototype completed for the show.
Every so often Battista Pininfarina ( the name had been officially changed now ) would come to the factory to check on things. He was somewhat retired but still followed every aspect of the business, also because he still had that "eye" for proportions, forms and everything else which made his name so important all over the world.
It so happened that one time he asked the modelers to slim down the sides of a wood buck however being such a slight change was left as is and so happens that it went undetected by the "maiestro". The prototype was then built and before the final painting Pininfarina painfully said that he had made a mistake that it needed to be slimmed down just a bit more - this time they did just that!! He had a fantastic eye and so did Martinengo and so being in this kind of company was learning very quickly.
Sunday, August 19, 2012
It was hot, muggy and steamy all over Europe, especially in Northern-Europe where temperatures raised to unusual tropical levels this memorable August 19/20, 2012 weekend.
How did I keep myself cool and enjoy a treat without suffering a chocolate meltdown? Well, I just indulged in a refreshing chocolate Italian ice.
Italian ices are well known all over the western hemisphere. They are smoother than granitas, softer than sorbets and just generally different. They are also incredibly refreshing.
Although I love Italian ices, I really didn’t know much about them and not at all about the difference between an Italian ice and an Italian water ice. Some sources use both terms interchangeably, others say there is a difference.
An Italian ice is flavored, then frozen and shaved for serving. An Italian water ice is plain ice that is flavored after it has been shaved into soft, snowy mounds, except when it is not and then it is the same as an Italian ice.
Regional differences among Italian immigrants and European cities probably account for the differences in technique and nomenclature. Italian immigrants to our country brought with them a long tradition of frozen desserts including granita (made by freezing water, fruit juices or other flavoring ingredients and sugar in a pan and periodically flaking and scraping the ice as it forms to break up the ice crystals) and sorbet (made by freezing similar ingredients in a ice cream freezer).
Saturday, August 18, 2012
Here is what I think is an excellent overview of the Fiat 124 Spider in the US from Hemmings Sport and Exotic Car ( the world's largest collector car marketplace ). It is from 2006 so figures quoted
( included is a list of various parts with prices attached ) need to be adjusted, but it is a very nice overview.
Over 18 years, Fiat--and then, later Pininfarina--sold somewhere around 120,000 124 Spiders in the United States, the lion's share of cars the manufacturer ever built. It's a testament to the Pininfarina-designed car that it still looks as fresh and sporty today as it did when it was introduced in 1966.
But for one reason or another, whenever Americans ready themselves to purchase a sports roadster, the Fiat 124 Spider falls to the bottom of the list. Some claim it's due to the bad reputation Fiat had in the 1970s for turning out pretty cars that ran every third Tuesday. Others blame demon rust, which seems to have a particularly ravenous appetite for Italian machines. Or maybe it's the fact that there were so darned many of them that they've fallen off the radar of many sports car fans here.
Whatever the reason, it's time to rethink our attitude toward the 124 Spider. These cars have been on the road long enough to dispel any urban myths about their longevity and original build quality, and there are plenty of parts suppliers, experts and club advisors around to sort through any common problems these cars have had over the years. According to Dwight Varnes, a past vice-president and co-founder of Fiat-Lancia Unlimited (FLU), and the co-founder of that group's Fiat Freak Out annual meet (July 14-16, 2006), the biggest problem with a Fiat 124 Spider was often not the manufacturer, but the dealer. "An awful lot of dealers took on the Fiat franchises as a second or third line," he says. "Lots of the dealers specialized in American cars, and they took on Fiat as a cheap import. The service departments just didn't want to understand them."