L.A. Auto Show: Fiat Unveils New 124 Spider

Michael Walker
Fiat 124 Spider

The revamp of Fiat classic's Spider, discontinued 30 years ago, could herald the return of European roadsters to the American market.

Fiat's revamped 124 Spider debuted at the L.A. Auto Show on Wednesday amid a wave of nostalgia for classic 1960s auto designs at a moment when the auto industry is convulsed by change, from autonomous cars to electric vehicles.

Fiat's chief marketing officer Olivier Francois invoked the original 124 Spider, one of Italian coachbuilder Pininfarina's most beautiful designs, while introducing the car on Wednesday at a standing-room-only press conference at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

The new Spider, Olivier said, "starts with the winning formula of the '60s: rear-wheel drive, great power-to-weight ratio, short-throw shifting and the wind in your hair."

Although based largely on the Mazda Miata's architecture, the new Spider is powered by the same Italian-made 1.4-liter, 160-horsepower, turbo-charged, four-cylinder engine that powers Fiat's athletic 500 Abarth.

The new Spider's design affectionately borrows from the Pininfarina original, right down the dimples on the hood, meant to emphasize the dual overhead cam engine found in earlier Spiders. 

The new Spider will debut next summer. Pricing wasn't announced.