The 1972 Fiat 124 Sports Spider

The platform for the 124 Fiat Spider was the 124 Sedan. The 1972 Fiat 124 Spider such as the one featured in this article was styled by Pininfarina, a style seen on many Alfa Romeo's as well. I think you'll see a lot of similarities between the Fiat Spider and Alfa Romeo Spider.

1974 fiat spider

1974 Fiat Spider

The Fiat 124 also came as a coupe which was a bit longer ( 5.5 inches) than the Spider. The Fiat 124 Spider was first introduced in 1966 and they would go on to be the most successful of the Fiat sports cars.

When the first Spiders were imported into the U.S. the new safety law legislation did not exist. Starting in the 1970's these new regulations, while covering all vehicles in the U.S., mandated changes for all cars imported into the U.S. The ball officially got rolling in 1970 with the creation of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

For the Fiat Spider this new law affected primarily safety bumpers. All small roadsters were affected by the new safety regulations, some more than others. Safety law modifications to the Fiat Spider were not nearly as extensive as those necessary to the MG.

fiat sport 124

1974 Fiat Sport 124

The Fiat Spider Racer

The Fiat 124 Spider started road rallying during the 1968-69 period after the creation of the Fiat Rally Service over the previous years. In 1967 the Fiat Rally service was greatly expanded which opened up the channel to overseas competition.

In 1971 an official Fiat factory team was entered in the National Rallies. In 1971 Fiat also bought out Abarth, a racing car maker from Turin Italy, which had been associated with Fiat since 1952. When Fiat completed this buyout they had their own official racing department. The Abarth name was used extensively by Fiat during the 1980's with their performance car offerings. There are some similarities with Abarth and Fiat and the Shelby and Ford Motor Company association although Ford Motor never bought out Shelby's business.

fiat spider 124 dash

1974 Fiat 124 Spider dashboard

Fiat Spider Dino

The Fiat Spider Dino has to be mentioned in any discussion of the Spider. The Fiat Spider Dino was a collaboration between Fiat and Ferrari. This partnership connected the famous Ferrari brand with Fiat and Ferrari gained the Fiat engine which allowed them to qualify for Formula Two competition. The Spider Dino was a mass production vehicle for Ferrari and a limited model for Fiat.

The Fiat Spider Dino came with a V-6 engine putting out 180 horsepower during the 1969 through 1973 model years. A smaller V-6 delivered 160 horsepower during the 1967 through 1968 model years. The Fiat Spider Dino was built as a two seat convertible and a four seat coupe.

Pros and Cons for the Fiat Spider Series

Fiat Spiders had great styling, good performance and relatively simple engineering. The car was not costly to buy and the trunk space was excellent. On the minus side the car was considered to be rust prone and the mechanics could at times be questionable.

1974 fiat sport spider

1974 Fiat Sport Spider

1974 Fiat 124 Spider Specifications

The 1974 Fiat 124 Spider was built with a Fiat designed 1.8 liter straight four cylinder engine delivering 116 horsepower. The car was officially rated with a top speed of 115 MPH. The original Fiat Spider engine from 1966 was a 1.4 liter design.

The transmission on the Fiat 124 was a four speed manual. A five speed manual would be added in later models.

Front suspension was independent coil springs with rear suspension of a longitudinal axle and coil springs. Brakes were disc.

Dimensions for the 1972 Fiat Spider included a 89.8 inch wheelbase, an overall length of 156.3 inches, a width of 63.4 inches and a height of 49.2 inches. The car's weight average about 2,100 lbs.

You may want to compare the 1972 Fiat 124 Spider to the cars featured on our articles linked below...

1974 MG BGT V-8

1971 Mercedes 280 SL

1973 Porsche 911T

The 1972 Fiat Spider 124 Collector Car

The Fiat 124 Spider as well as the Alfa Romeo Spider are excellent cars for people desiring Italian classic cars. Both of these automobiles have excellent designs and for the most part are very reasonably priced. As mentioned above, performance was considered good and the cars were economical to operate. The Spider convertibles were also known to have a convenient top mechanism.

fiat spider 124 convertible

Fiat Spider 124

The Fiat Spider was manufactured from 1966 to 1985. During this production run there were about 200,000 of these models built. North America was Fiat's largest market for the Spider where about three quarters of all produced were sent. Germany received the second largest amount of the Spiders. A small amount of right hand steering wheel Spiders were built for the United Kingdom and much more rarer there.

Values for Fiat 124 Spiders will vary a lot depending on overall condition, restoration, mileage and any degree of rust that may be on the vehicle. With that said, as of this writing the prices asked for 1974 Fiat 124 Spiders range from about $5,000 to the mid teens. You'll likely find a good number priced at about $8,000 to $10,000. These kind of prices make this an excellent entry level car for those wanting to collect Italian sports cars with popular Pininfarina styling.

(Article and photos copyright 2013 AutoMuseumOnline)

 

 

The 1974 Porsche 914 / A Porsche-VW Collaboration

The Porsche 914 as featured in this article was among the 914 models built from 1970 through 1976. The car was first unveiled in 1969 at the Frankfurt Auto Show.

1974 Porsche 914

1974 Porsche 914

This model was to replace the Porsche 912 and was an effort to appeal to the mass car market. Not that Porsche was ever thought of as an automobile for the masses but this was their intent with the 914. The 1974 Porsche also represents a close collaboration with Volkswagen as the automaker had done once before.

A Low Priced Sports Car

The Porsche 914 was meant to be a light weight sports car with rear wheel drive that was intended to be affordable to many. The collaboration between Porsche and Volkswagen would also allow for fewer manufacturing costs. When the Porsche 914 was first introduced in 1970 the car was priced at about $3,500. Not a bad price at all even in 1974 with a sports car fashioning a Porsche emblem.

Porsche 914 Styling

The Porsche 914 was without a grille but did feature flip-up headlights. One body style was offered and that was the notchback coupe with a lift off roof panel. Some of the car's interior resembled the Porsche 911 but a good deal of VW hardware was also used. This Porsche model also featured two trunks. Not bad at all for a sports car.

porsche 914 front end

Porsche 914 flip-up headloghts

The Porsche 914 engine was placed behind the cabin.

Porsche 914 Sales and Marketing

Volkswagen's interest in this car was that the automaker needed something different than it's Beetle. A sports car would fit the bill but they needed the experience of Porsche to enter the field. Make no mistake however, while VW was a partner in this project and they were the one's who marketed the car, the Porsche 914, regardless of it being called at the time in Europe, a VW-Porsche, the sports car was considered a Porsche by the American car buying public.

The arrangement by the two European automakers certainly was different. The Porsche 914 was the only Porsche model that the automaker gave up it's own rights to market. The agreement between the two automakers was even more complicated when the chairman of VW passed away in 1968 prior to actual production.

porsche 914 dash

1974 Porsche 914 dash

Quite a lot has been written about how disappointing the Porsche 914 was, especially in sales. The fact is that the Porsche 914 was received pretty well in the U.S. Better than it was overseas but still not to what was hoped for. Some design flaws were uncovered with the first models. They were remedied by Porsche but as often happens, bad press has a habit of snowballing and this did hurt sales.

The press at the time seemed to fixate on the VW / Porsche collaboration as a negative without giving the car excellent grades on engineering. The car structurally was built very well.

One drawback pointed out however was that the Porsche 914 was equipped with a 1.7 liter VW flat four engine and this wasn't thought by many to be what sports cars are about. There were also problems with the transmission linkage which hurt engine performance even more. Some also suggested that access to the engine was difficult and that the cabin space was limited. The cabin space had good width but the length/ leg area was a bit short. On the plus side the removable targa top was made to easily store in one of the trunk compartments.

porsche wheels

Classic Porsche wheels

A New Engine and a New Price

By the 1973 model year, things changed for the better. The 1973 Porsche 914 came out with a 2.0 liter six cylinder engine. The transmission issue was also fixed and the remainder of the car was pretty much the same. The new six cylinder engine was very well received and seemed to change many perceptions regarding the 914. Press reviews of the car also changed entirely simply with adding the new engine. Also changed was the price tag. The 1973 911 had a price tag north of $5,000. Prices in the U.S. also shot up in part because of the exchange rate at the time.

1974 Porsche 911 Specifications

As mentioned above, the Porsche 914 introduced in 1970 had a 1.7 liter VW air cooled flat-four engine. A flat-four has two banks of two cylinders each arranged horizontally. Beginning in 1973 the Porsche 914 sported a 2.0 liter six. This change appeared to satisfy both car buyers and auto critics. All engines had cast-aluminum cylinder heads and Bosch electronic fuel injection.

targa top on Porsche 914

Porsche 914 targa top

Transmission was a five speed manual.

The Porsche 914 had independent suspension with a front torsion bar which was a duplicate of the 911's.

The Porsche 914 came with front disc brakes.

Porsche 914 dimensions included a 96.5 inch wheelbase, a length of 158.0 inches, a height of 48.0 inches and a weight of about 2,100 lbs. The 914 was lower than the 911 Porsche by four inches.

One production figure seen for the Porsche 914 was 115,596 cars. This was the total over the entire production run. 1974 Porsche 914 production was 21,370 vehicles.

Compare the 1974 Porsche 914 to the cars on the AutoMuseumOnline articles linked below...

The 1974 MG BGT V-8

The 1973 Porsche 911T

The 1971 Triumph Spitfire

A Restored 1971 Datsun 240 Z

porsche 914 rear

1974 Porsche 914 rear

The Porsche 914 Makes a Good Collector Car

It took awhile but the Porsche 914 has become a popular sports car among collectors. Since they are not the easiest automobiles to find because of the relatively low production number, they have had rising value. The lowest production year was the model's last, 1976. Even these low numbers however are more than total Porsche 911 production. If you're looking for a Porsche 914 to restore your challenge will be to find one without rust or without bad rust. The cars did gain a reputation of above average rusting.

Two well known Porsche car clubs which are always good resources for owners and prospective owners include the Porsche Club of America at www.pca.org and the Porsche 914 Owners Association at www.porsche914.org

One of the more popular Porsche 914's you'll want is the 1973 or 1974 model with the 2.0 liter six cylinder engine. These were the models that had the original problems ironed out.

As of this date, price tags on mint conditioned Porsche 914's range from the mid teens upward. The asking prices today cover a wide range. Low mileage obviously helps as does a rust free chassis. Originality is also important to price. You'll also find showroom condition restored 914's in the $30,000 range upwards.

(Article and photos copyright 2013 AutoMuseumOnline)

1929 Buick Seven Passenger Four Door Sedan

Here is a 1929 Buick Series 129 Sedan that really gives you good glimpse of a luxury car prior to the 1930's. The year 1929 was special for Buick as it was the marquees Silver Anniversary. Not only was the first Buick for sale manufactured in 1904 but the marquee is considered the oldest American car brand still in production today. After all the car brands discontinued over the decades, this is significant.

1929 buick

1929 Buick 129 Series

The Buick 129 Series

In 1929 there were three series of cars offered by Buick. These were the 116, 121 and 129 Series. Each one of these series reflected the wheelbase length. The 129 Series, which includes the featured automobile in this article, came in a variety of models. These included the Sedan, Convertible Coupe, Standard Coupe, Phaeton, Limousine, both five and seven passenger Sedans and Touring models.

1929 Buick Styling

Buick was positioned by General Motors to be a luxury car ranked under the Cadillac and above the Pontiac. Chevrolet the the lowest and least costly brand.

The style of the 1929 Buick is a story in itself and takes us back to the early days of Harley Earl, one of the most well known of the twentieth century auto designers. Essentially, it was a difference of opinion between Earl and the Fisher Body people. Harley Earl designed a Buick which in 1929 meant mostly a lot of straight lines.

1929 buick dash

1929 Buick dash

When Fisher Body got a hold of the design they made a few alterations that resulted in a slight bulge just below the middle. The car was thus referred to as the "pregnant Buick" although noticing this difference from Earl's design was not easily seen by the average observer.

The end result of this dust up was that Harley Earl obtained the support of Alfred Sloan, GM President, and in the future Earl's design team would be consulted of any design changes prior to them being implemented. This was a big victory for Earl and helped his career quite a bit.

Many collectors know that Harley Earl has been called the father of the Chevrolet Corvette. From the 1920's Buick to the introduction of the Corvette and beyond gives you a good idea of Earl's career.

1929 buick silver anniversary

1929 Buick Silver Anniversary

1929 Buick Series 129 Sedan Specifications

The 129 Series Buick, the long model, was available with a choice of two engines. These were either a 239 or 308 cubic inch inline six cylinder engine. The 239 delivered 74 horsepower and the 308 delivered 91. Both engines employed a single downdraft carburetor.

As a comparison of engines in 1929, Henry Ford's Tudor Model A had a four cylinder 200 cubic inch engine, the Chevrolet Sedan had a 171 cubic inch inline six and the 1929 Plymouth Sedan had a four cylinder 175 cubic inch power plant. The two six cylinder 1929 Buick engines packed good power for the era.

Transmissions for all three 1929 Buick models was a three speed manual.

All 1929 Buick models featured four wheel mechanical brakes.

buick 129 series

Buick 129 Series front end

The 1929 Series 129 had a 129 inch wheelbase as mentioned above. vehicle weight averaged about 3,800 lbs.

Front suspension were semi-elliptic leaf springs with the rear having cantilever springs.

The original base price of the 1929 Buick Series 129 Sedan was about $1,900.

1929 Buick 129 Series production totals were 26,390. The highest selling model was the smallest 116 Series with 84,119 produced. This was not surprising. Phaetons and Limousines were builtĀ  but a relatively few were built. Phaetons totaled about 1,400 and Limousines just under 1,000.

If you're inspecting an original 1929 Buick and searching for the engine number it will be stamped on the engine block. This is the number generally used for registration in many states. The 1929 Buick Serial Number should be either a six or seven digit serial number depending on the model. Since many of these cars had engines switched over the years identifying the serial number and indexing it with the manufacturer's records is important.

Links below are to additional AutoMuseumOnline articles featuring cars from the late 1920's...

The 1927 Nash Sedan

The 1929 Nash Advanced Six Rumble Seat Coupe

The 1927 Studebaker

A Restored 1937 Ford Club Coupe

1929 buick engine

1929 Buick Sedan modified Chevy engine

1929 Buick Collector Cars

Any vintage automobiles from this era are collectible. The 1929 Buick was a milestone car commemorating Buick's Silver Anniversary which is a plus. There are also several Buick clubs which work to preserve these vintage vehicles. They include the Buick Club of America with several chapters, the 1929 Silver Anniversary Buick Club, the Buick Car Club of Australia, the Buick Club of Norway and the Buick Club of Germany.

If you are planning on restoring a 1929 Buick I would check out the Buick Club of America forums where you can get a lot of questions answered by vintage Buick owners and possibly find sources for old parts. Bill McLaughlin's Newsletter from the 1929 Silver Anniversary Buick Club is also an excellent source of information.

1929 buick sedan

1929 Buick Sedan two tone fenders

As of this writing, 1929 Buick auction prices for fully restored models range in the mid to high $20,000 range. These would be for 129 Series four door sedans however don't be surprised to see some come on the market below $20,000. We've also seen a Buick 121 Series coupe with an asking price in the high twenties. Also a 1929 Buick Business Coupe with the smaller engine with a $15,000 price tag.

(Article and photos copyright 2013 AutoMuseumOnline)