Fiat's 124 Spider was introduced to the world in 1966, that is, during the hey day of the Swinging Sixties when owning and being seen driving an Italian sports car was the In Thing to do. At the same time Fiat also introduced the 124 Coupe; both it and the Spider were based on the Fiat 124 sedan platform, a sedan that would be made for many years under many guises. The Sixties was a great time for sports cars from Europe and Japan. There were other niche sports cars but these were the mainstream cars. There was a certain brio about driving the Fiat that none of the others exuded with the exception of the Alfa Romeo, another Italian car. It must be in their genes. Under the pretty Pininfarina-designed body sat much the same mechanical components that made the Fiat 124 sedan, and its big brother the 125, such spirited performers. The engine was a twin overhead camshaft four of 1438cc that, despite a small capacity, was able to produce 90bhp and push the Spider to a little over 100mph. Road holding, too, was very good as the Spider had a double wishbone front coil spring suspension allied to a live rear axle sprung by coil springs with links to control its movement; braking was by four-wheel discs with a power boost; and the gearbox was a five-speed manual. For the time that was a very sporting specification. In many ways it mirrored what Alfa Romeo had on offer with their Spider, only the Fiat was considerably cheaper to own and run. As the years rolled on bythe Spider would remain in production for almost two decades. Fiat kept up a programme of continual improvements that involved regular engine capacity increases to 1608cc and 110bhp in 1970, then to 1756cc and 118bhp (only 87bhp in the de-smogged US version) and in 1978 to 1995cc and a mere 80bhp for the US market only. Bosch electronic fuel injection raised the power to 102bhp at which time Fiat re-introduced it onto the European market. Strange that. By 1982 Fiat had handed all production of the 124 Spider over to Pininfarina who rebadged it the Spidereuropa for the European market and the Spider Azzurra DS for the American market. The final roll of the dice came with the 1983 introduction of the Spider VX, the initials VX telling the world that its engine was boosted in power to 135bhp using a Volumex supercharger. Along the way there were only minor cosmetic changes to the styling of the 124 Spider, it remained as pure a design as any during a time of some turmoil in the world's automobile industry. Production ended in 1985. Like the MGB, the 124 Spider had no replacement ready in the wings to take over from it and keep the spirit alive which was all rather sad. Included are road & comparison tests, new model reports plus advice on acquiring a good pre-owned car. Models covered: 124 Spider 1400, 1600, 1800, 2000 Spider, Turbo Spider, Spidereuropa, Azzurra & Abarth 124 Rally.