WITH a large part of the European popular car market safely in the bag, Fiat now bid boldly for a slice of the luxury car business with this beautifully finished discreetly styled five-seater of highly original design. The V6 engine has two overhead camshafts belt driven, automatic transmission or five-speed. Strut type suspension all round gives excellent ride and roadholding.
London Show report
On the sales front Fiat's main news was the success of the front wheel drive 128 and its smaller stablemate from the Autobianchi subsidiary, the A112. But with the 500 still the best selling domestic model and the baby NSU the most popular single imported model (57% of registrations are under 900 c.c.), they have still some way to go in turning the market away from two-cylinder air-cooled cars. Both the 128 and the A112, incidentally, sell in Italy for around 900,000 lire, about £620.
On the technical side, apart from an estate version of the 128 with nearly as much room as a 124, all the emphasis was on the sports cars, with larger engines for the Dino and 124S. The Dino is a replacement model with capacity increased from the 1,987 c.c. of the Ferrari-designed alloy block to 2,418 c.c. with a Fiat-designed iron block of larger bore and stroke. A power of 180 b.h.p. (Din) is claimed giving the Spider a top speed of over 130 m.p.h. The live rear axle is replaced by a semi-trailing independent on the lines of the 130, with self-freeing limited slip differential, the gearbox, replaced by a stronger ZF unit and there are larger brakes with dual circuit operation and an electric pump to maintain constant vacuum in the servo under severe use. The Ferrari Dino also now uses the big engine.
The option of the 1,608 c.c. 125 engine for the 124 Sport and Spider is a logical development which should prove popular, particularly as the large engine includes the five-speed gearbox as standard. Compared with the 125S, power is up 10 b.h.p. to 110 b.h.p. (Din) by raising compression to 9.8 to 1, fitting new manifolds and two dual Weber carburetters of new type. The cooling system incorporates an electrically operated vent, the brakes have dual circuit operation and there are minor styling changes including revised grille, bonnet and bumpers plus four halogen headlights.
Turin Show report