FIAT'S BELOVED

Fiat’s Beloved

The Fiat 124 Spider is as Italian as the Dolce Vita under the Southern sun.

Michael’s Fiat is the first original black 124 Spider that Fiat released, the oldest Fiat 124 Spider in Australia and the 13th oldest Fiat 124 Spider in the world! Not only did these rare stats appeal to Michael, but the fact that the car is designed by Pininfarina and had the same characteristics as early model Ferrari’s (Michael’s dream car) made it an easy choice to make the Fiat his back in 2003.

THE LITTLE CAR COMPANY

Stop thinking of Fiat as a little car company. It may make little cars but that’s different. And just because there was never an aggressive bolt in the body of any Fiat you’ve ever met doesn’t mean that the same applies to the parent company either. It just so happens that Fiat makes enough little cars to be the second largest manufacturer in the entire little-car producing world.

PININFARINA BEAUTY

The RS2000’s were designed by Ford’s Cologne styling department in Germany, which was home to the company’s high-performance European operation. However, it took Ford Australia quite some time to decide when the time would be right to introduce this car to the Aussie’s, despite not being a stranger to the enthusiasts.

Through its successes in motor racing, especially in events like the Hardie Ferodo 1000 and to an even greater extent in rallying, the RS2000 is a well-known and highly respected car.

The Australian version was not the pure-bred German RS2000. Instead, Aussie buyers had to make do with a compromise car.

The styling was the same, but because the RS2000 was made in Australia, Ford chose to use the standard 2.0-litre OHC Cortina engine. Although it was a nice suburban engine, quiet and moderately powerful, it was not anything like the more highly tuned European RS2000 engine. Despite this disadvantage, the Aussie RS2000 still proved itself to be an exceptional little car for drivers who wanted extra excitement to brighten mundane driving.

The RS2000 has become something of a legend in Ford circles and with its rally heritage, it was the Seventies equivalent of Subaru’s WRX and Mitsubishi’s Evo. Announced in ’79, the Australian RS2000 differed from its English counterpart in a number of ways and was available in both two and four-door guises, with a two-litre engine and short-shift four-speed gearbox.

Although Aussie production figures for the RS2000 aren’t well documented, there were approximately 2,400 produced and relatively few of these survive. With interest in the RS Escorts coming up all the time, it won’t be long before values on the Aussie RS 2000s begin to climb rapidly.

If you’re looking into something similar to Chris’ RS2000, now is definitely the time to start looking hard for good, low mileage examples.

SPIDER FACTS

The Fiat 124 Spider is considered to be one of the best looking roadsters designed with agile handling and fun driving characteristics. It was well known as an affordable roadster and started with a capacity of 1438 cc in 1966 progressively increasing to 1608 cc in 1970.

The main claim to fame is that it broke the English monopoly on the small convertible roadster designs and was the first to use a mass produced Double Overhead Cam (DOHC) engine. The DOHC version utilised reinforced rubber timing belts, an innovation that would come into nearly universal use in the decades after its introduction.

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