Fiat 124 - Best Euro Buys #4

By: Unique Cars magazine

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With Alfa Romeo and Lancia both having elegant sports coupes in their armouries, Italy’s most prolific car-maker needed to get involved as well

Appearing in 1966, the very modern 124 sedan gave Fiat the platform it needed for a sequence of coupes and these in turn bred the open-top cars.

Australia saw its first Fiat 124AC coupes in early 1968 but sales didn’t start until the following year. The Fiat with its fresh lines and huge glass-house cost $3648 – money that would buy an MGB or GTS Monaro with change left over. By 1976 that price would leap past $7000 and shortly afterwards the 124’s reign ended.

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Get a good one and they’re a fun and responsive drive..

The Fiat came with a five-speed gearbox, four-wheel disc brakes and a twin-cam engine. Media tests confirmed it would deliver a genuine 163km/h top speed, at which point the optimistic speedometer was hovering around 170km/h but the engine wasn’t nudging the fifth gear redline.

| Reader Resto: 1967 Fiat 124 Spider

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In 1971 and accompanied by a slight price increase the Coupe acquired a 1608cc DOHC engine from Fiat’s 125 sedan. Power reached 81kW and top speed was listed at 180km/h.

Two years further into the Coupe’s life-span, Fiat uprated the design for a second and final time.

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Under the bonnet a 1.8-litre engine from the heavier 132 sedan should have provided a solid power boost but emission-controls strangled them to 84kW.

Coupes tend to be priced around the mid-teens to $20k, while soft-tops seem to command as much as an extra $5k. As a drive they’re light, responsive and just simple fun. You won’t break any land speed records, but that’s not the point.

Our top 4 Best Euro Buys:

#1 - BMW E36 M3

#2 - Porsche 911 996

#3 - Peugeot 205 GTi

#4 - Fiat 124

#5 - Mercedes-Benz W124 E280/300/320

 

From Unique Cars issue #442, July 2020

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