The Staff of Motorsport Marketing
The Staff of Motorsport Marketing Writer
9/6/19 10:34 a.m.

By Rich Taylor • Photography by Jean Constantine

In November of 1966, Fiat unveiled two new sports cars at Salone dell’automobile di Torino. Virtually identical in size and superficial specifications, both machines were designed and built by Pininfarina—and they couldn’t be more different. 

The 124 Sport Spider is an entry-level two-seater based on mechanical bits from the boxy little 124 Sedan and aimed at the MGB. The Dino Spider, the other release, is a limited-production exotic aimed at Porsche’s 911 and powered by a landmark DOHC V6 shared with Ferrari’s mid-engined Dino, which was introduced at the same 1966 Turin Auto Show.

Prices and production tell the story. The Fiat 124 Spider was made from 1966 through 1985 in nine slightly different models. Nearly 200,000 were built, and in 1973—when the car in our photos was purchased—the price was an economical $3259. 

The Fiat Dino Spider was produced from 1966 through 1973 in two versions. Only 1587 were built, and when the car in our photos was purchased in 1972, the price was a steep $7830. Just for the sake of comparison, from 1971 to 1973, Ferrari sold 1274 mid-engined 246 GT Spyders—priced $2000 more than a Fiat Dino Spider powered by the same engine.

Thanks to an unprecedented rise in Ferrari values, today’s 246 GTS prices range from $125,000 for a beater to $500,000 for a concours winner with “chairs and flares”—that’s slang for the optional sport seats and rear fender add-ons. Fiat Dino Spiders are much rarer, though prices range from around $50,000 to $200,000. 

Fiat 124 Spiders, on the other hand, are everywhere. The cheapest one currently available online is listed for $800, and you can snap up a concours winner for $15,000.

Conveniently, on the 2012 Mountain Mille, Malcolm Barksdale brought his perfectly restored Fiat Dino 2400 from San Diego, and Bernard Seneway drove his equally clean Fiat 124 Sport Spider from Highland, Maryland. Both cars completed the 1000-mile event in Virginia and West Virginia with no troubles. Even better, the Mountain Mille tour group spent one afternoon at Virginia International Raceway, where we were able to test drive and photograph both cars on track. Talk about a lucky break.

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Coupefan
Coupefan Reader
9/7/19 9:47 a.m.

although “rust-free Fiat” is admittedly an oxymoron

Once.  Just once, it is possible for a journalist not to fall back on old cliches and half truths when writing an article on vintage Fiats?

wspohn
wspohn Dork
9/7/19 3:39 p.m.

I found a Fiat Dino coupe that I wasn't interested in so passed on to a friend. Should probably have kept it given subsequent prices.  Sadly, quite a few engines were scavenged to replace the later Dino (not ever called Ferrari!) 246s, which IIRC had the cast iton block 2.4 version of the engines.

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