1968 Fiat 124 AC Coupe: Affordable Italians Pt.2

By: Adam Davis, Photography by: Cristian Brunelli

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1968 Fiat 124 AC Coupe 1968 Fiat 124 AC Coupe 1968 Fiat 124 AC Coupe
1968 Fiat 124 AC Coupe 1968 Fiat 124 AC Coupe 1968 Fiat 124 AC Coupe
1968 Fiat 124 AC Coupe 1968 Fiat 124 AC Coupe 1968 Fiat 124 AC Coupe
1968 Fiat 124 AC Coupe 1968 Fiat 124 AC Coupe 1968 Fiat 124 AC Coupe
1968 Fiat 124 AC Coupe 1968 Fiat 124 AC Coupe 1968 Fiat 124 AC Coupe
Harvey Richards Harvey Richards Harvey Richards
Affordable Italians: Fiat, Lancia, Alfa Romeo Affordable Italians: Fiat, Lancia, Alfa Romeo Affordable Italians: Fiat, Lancia, Alfa Romeo

In part 2 of our 'Affordable Italian Cars', we look at Harvey Richards' 1968 Fiat 124 AC Coupe

1968 Fiat 124 AC Coupe: Affordable Italians Pt.2
1968 Fiat 124 AC Coupe

We've rounded up an accessible trio of junior Italian classics that won't short-change you of authentic Latin allure...

1968 Fiat 124 AC Coupe

In crisp white with luscious, contrasting red leather and woodgrain trim, Harvey Richards’ 1968 Fiat 124 AC coupe is the earliest of the assembled trio. First introduced in 1967, the 124 coupe was a three-box design by Fiat Centro Stile head Felice Mario Boano, former owner of Carrozzerria Ghia. It clothed a chassis which debuted with the previous year’s 124 sedan and was initially powered by a 66kW, 1438cc all-alloy four-pot designed by former Ferrari Formula One engine guru Aurelio Lampredi. Initial 124s used a four-speed manual gearbox to drive the rear wheels; a five-speed option became available from mid-1967 before becoming standard fit by 1969.

Also part of the AC’s year by year updates was the abandonment of the relatively unsophisticated ‘torque tube’ rear axle design in mid-1968, in favour of a four-link system with a Panhard Rod providing lateral location.

Purists generally consider the AC the stylistically cleanest of the 124s, with its prominently upright single headlights, simple grille and taillights shared with the Lamborghini Espada. In the flesh it is easy to understand this thought process, especially when riding – as Harvey’s is – on gorgeous Dino-style Cromodora alloy wheels.

The BC, introduced in 1970, initially carried over the 1438cc motor but soon gained a twin-carb 1608cc option, which generated 81kW. The BC’s grille housed the twin headlights, smoothing off the raised front wings of the original, while the taillights were also changed. They still retained a link to the exotic though, being used on the Lamborghini Jarama. The BC’s softer suspension was, however, seen as less desirable than the AC’s racier setup.

Finally, the 124 coupe became the CC in 1973, a busy front-end and squared-off rear bringing the original’s suave Sixties vibe firmly into the Seventies. It initially carried over the 1608cc twin-cam before making way for an updated 1592cc, 79kW version which sat under the 1600cc class in its local market, which levied taxes based on cubic capacity. The updated 1.6 was joined by a 1756cc unit that generated 88kW, for a 185km/h top speed. It was produced until 1975.

HARVEY RICHARDS' FIAT 124

"Harvey’s 124 was originally purchased as a joint project with his son, though he soon bought out the youngster and embarked on a bare metal respray.

"It wasn’t too bad, really… it just needed a clean-up," he says. "I remember seeing them around as an 18 year old and thinking they looked pretty good on the road."

It runs the later ‘1800’ motor from a CC for "lazy power", headrests from a BC and twin circuit braking for safety. Small touches such as the red-painted Koni shocks complete a cohesive look, one that won a trophy for Best Coupe at the Fiat Autobella Concours, but is still enjoyed regularly on the road.

 

SPECIFICATIONS

1968 Fiat 124

Body: 2-door coupe
Engine: 1438cc inline four-cylinder, DOHC, 8v (standard)
Power: 66kW @ 6500rpm
Torque: 108Nm @ 4000rpm
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Suspension: Independent via wishbones and coil springs (f); Independent via wishbones and coil springs, radius arms (r)
Brakes: Discs (f/r), power assisted
Weight: 980kg
0-100km/h: 12.9sec
Top speed: 170km/h
Year built: 1967-1975 (all coupes)

 

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