This is pretty awesome news from the motorsport spies in Italy. Fiat really is developing a GT4 version of the Fiat 124 Spider.
SportsCar365 says so
And so does Daily Sports Car:
This was either just picked up from a translation of a French fan site of Italian machinery. Or reporting of further sightings of the car being tested.
I’m really happy to see this.
I’m a huge fan already of the Fiat Abarth Rally car that came out a while ago:
The GT4 which apparently will be seen racing in a single-make Italian series, would be an amazing addition to the American version of the Global MX-5 Cup as well as the Japanese Miata series and European MAX5 series.
First, forgive me for being a selfish prick and not sharing the news of the event sooner. I forgot to remember until… and of course the actual date (today) got rained out! So see you all next week…
The peeps behind this event seem to focus on two major events per year… the season opening meet and end of season meet like this one. Not sure if anything happens during the summer but I’m really glad they organize these ones. Often with prizes given away from vendors that support Miata events around the country like Moss Miata and Flyin’ Miata. (possibly others)
Anyway, I’m especially happy to see Modern Fiata’s invited to attend, and really hope to see one at the next one.
For me it’s going to be a crazy day next Sunday. I was scheduled to pick up a rental car at LaGuardia Airport in NYC and drive down to Florida for the Historics (HSR) races at Daytona International. But I don’t want to miss out on this little gathering. So I’ve re-booked my rental car for 8pm… which should give me enough time to chill down the shore, go home to park my Miata. Take public transport to the city, a shuttle bus to Hertz, and bring the rental home before leaving for the thousand mile journey first thing Monday morning.
Taking advantage of the opportunity of being in Detroit for the Grand Prix I figured it would be a good chance to spy the pre-release Miata-based Fiat 124 Spider in the wild… friends I talked to claimed they were roaming around and you could spot them everywhere, so when I failed to see one within the first few days of being in Michigan I started obsessing about it, making it my mission to see the Fiata in the flesh before I leave Detroit to go home.
Although at a cost. The cost of fuel that is… trying to spy a Fiata on Detroit suburbs streets was nothing more than a fuel burning exercise with very limited success.
The most obvious place to look for the new Fiata that I could think of was driving through the FCA HQ at Auburn Hills. Being a big SRT fan I’ve visited the place before and knew it was possible to visit as “general public” driving around Chrysler Dr. I did this heading out to Detroit to register for the Grand Prix with SCCA but failed to see one on the first day. Getting a little antsy I reached out to a few Chrysler people I knew, including my host for the weekend, to pick their brain on where would be the most likely place to spy a Fiata without getting into trouble. And both said that since the embargo has been lifted as the car was presented at various auto shows, it shouldn’t be an issue… hell one of the guys said they should be hitting dealer lots in the next month or so, so I’m sure they’re stamped by huge quantities already in production form.
But I haven’t seen one yet, so I was eager for a chance. The most likely scenario of spying one at the HQ was being at the right place and at the right time… so to optimize I chances I did a drive-by right around lunch time and then once again at quiting time, at the end of the day…. the success came just after 11am… I saw a beautiful red model that I caught just out of the corner of my eye leaving the parking lot as I drove past… I had to slow way down for that car to catch up to me and took a few snaps:
FCA HQ has it’s own Interstate 75 exit/entrance ramps, and the gray haired big wig driving this thing hopped on and took off. I thought it would be weird following him, so I went the other way hoping I would spot a parked version of this car so I could take some much better still shots. But I failed in locating one.
First impressions of the car: I feel like I’ve seen it before! I realize it’s a new model and all, but it has a familiar look to it, something ordinary something that’s already on the market. I realize people would say: well, it’s based on the Miata and that’s already out. But that’s now what I mean. It looks nothing like a Miata. The ND MX-5 is unique with it’s looks, it looks like nothing else on the market. While the Fiat 124 Spider that has yet to hit the dealer lots already looks like a slightly squared NB Miata that’s been sold for a decade.
I don’t know how I feel about it yet…. I guess it’ll grow on me.
Jalopnik has published photos of the 2017 production version of the Fiat 124 Spider based on the Mazda MX-5 Miata Roadster, or as everyone is calling it on the forums: Fiata Miata. And the production version looks completely different from what all the speculative renderings were. It’s dramatically different from the 2016 Mazda Miata that it is based on. And at this point I’m not sure if I like it or not. Initial impressions of the Fiata Spider is that it looks more like the NB version of the Miata while the car it’s based on pays more homage to the NA model. The obvious differences between the Fiata and the Miata based on the pictures seem to be a longer nose on the Fiat, and a more square trunk, which will probably have more storage capacity, even if ever so slightly. The interiors look identical. Check out this Jalopnik article for more pictures of the Fiat 124: jalopnik.com/2017-fiat-124-spider-this-is-it-all-official-and-stuf
Since I am not at all likely to get rid of my NC Miata any time soon, the only likelihood of me driving a Fiata Miata is if I rent one, most likely in Europe as I doubt they’ll be very representative of the American rental car fleets… I certainly have not been able to find any Mazda MX-5 ND rental cars around in my recent travels.
I am looking forward to test driving one just to compare how it feels to my car.
PS. Hopefully the promised Abarth version looks even more aggressive ( I think I secretly wanted the Fiat 124 Spider to look more like the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider than a vintage Fiat or NB Miata for that matter ).
This is a purely speculative post about the news of the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider / Abarth model based on the Mazda MX-5 Miata / Roadster. One of the support series for the Spa 24h event I’m about to embark on is the Trofeo Abarth Europe series which I’m a huge fan of so it’s fresh on my mind to write a few thoughts down.
Why do I care about this model?
Because with my latest purchase of an NC Miata I’m interested in all things to do with the MX-5 model. I think the latest pictures from my marshaling, road trips and foodie tours could attest to that. In 2017 there will be Fiats rolling off the same assembly line as the Miata, and that’s really cool. I’m especially interested in the Abarth model. Perhaps by that time in 2017 on I’ll actually be able to upgrade my personal Miata to it’s replacement, which might as well be an Abarth… or not. It would be cool to look back on the speculation and compare it to reality.
First I wanted to share some renderings of a Fiata out there online:
Kind of important to remember that none of the 2016 Miata renderings were terribly close to the real thing, the ND MX-5. But it’s nice to speculate, and to actually compare what the two cars share in common and what bits could be used from one car on another.
Just because the two cars would roll off the same assembly line doesn’t necessarily mean they’d be identical. It’s important to note that the Ford Mustang and the Mazda 6 rolled off the same Auto Alliance assembly line and the two are quite different vehicles. However, during my recent Cars & Coffee conversation with a Lotus Elise owner it was interesting to hear him talk about the interchangeable parts between his car and the Tesla Roadster (the center console in particular… a much desired part by Lotus owners).
For one the Abarth version of the Fiata will be significantly more powerful than the 155hp Miata, so that’s something to look forward to. Although I’m pretty content with the amount of power my current NC Miata has.
So much like the Toyobaru union for the Toyota 86 GT / Scion FR-S / Subaru BRZ I think this will be a huge hit with the two door roadster owner community in the US but more importantly around the world. One of my favorite things is to see the same exact Miata in pictures posted by their owners from North America, Europe, Asia, the Pacific, etc. It’s truly amazing!
Let’s wait and see how this develops.
Check out this post from Lime Rock Park where I got to marshal a historics event with a number of classic Abarth race cars well represented: Abarth Fiats at Lime Rock
UPDATE: So as per the September 28th Jalopnik article, this is what it’ll actually look like… (very similar to the MX-5 especially the interior except the exterior a bit less rounded and larger proportion)