Toyota GR86 Forum - GT86 Forum, Subaru BRZ Forum, Scion ... banner
1 - 20 of 39 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
406 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Still waiting for my BRZ to arrive in April, but in the meantime I have my Fiat 124 Spider to keep me entertained!

The temperatures rose to an unseasonable 58° F / 14° C this afternoon, so out came the Spider from its winter lair for some spirited driving along ridgetops and creeks here in rural northern Kentucky. The trip started and ended a little west of Butler Kentucky.

Stopped at an abandoned filling station near Lennoxburg for a photo op. Still had the top up at this point since temperatures around noon were still in the low 50s Fahrenheit / low teens Celsius.

Out in these rural areas of Kentucky, amenities and services are few and far between. There's a general depopulation with the collapse of the farming economy, with the younger and the more ambitious moving on to find better opportunities. Thankfully there's a gas station / small grocery store in Mt. Olivet that has a small deli for selling sliced, packaged meats and cheese, but if you ask nicely they will make you a sandwich.

Coming out of Mt. Olivet, I found this iconic painted barn advertisement. Once upon a time, these "See Rock City" barns were as common around the southern Appalachian Region as "Chew Mail Pouch Tobacco" barns.

You'll find plenty of sycamore trees when running along low-lying areas and creeks. At this time of year, their distinctive white bark is particularly evident.

Traffic is rarely if ever an issue on these roads.





 

·
Registered
Joined
·
406 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The unsung miata stepchild.
Very cool car. 👍
Fiat got it right the first time with the 1.4L Multiair turbo. Mazda had to take a Mulligan and come back with the ND2. :)
 

·
Registered
2022 GR86 Track Bred Premium MT
Joined
·
772 Posts
Unfortunately, all the car writers compared it to the Miata because they were built together. And then they wrote about what a bargain sports car it is. I like its looks better than the Miata. Fiat blew it because they didn’t advertise it. They thought social media was enough.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
499 Posts
I think the idea of a 124 Spider was great but flawed. Once you are in the torque range you have decent but relaxed cruising power. I own a Fiat 500 Abarth. It has the same engine. However, there is definite turbo lag until you get into that torque range roughly 3500 RPM to 5500 RPM. Power comes in fairly high and drops off fairly low below red line. Unlike the 500 Abarth the standard 124 Spider has a fairly quiet exhaust unless you have the "Record Monza" exhaust or an aftermarket one. Had Fiat developed the Spider engine offering more power and torque(perhaps say 200 HP and torque), it might still be on sale in the states. However, the multiair fuel injection system is prone to issues. At 10,000 miles I had to replace my Multiar actuator as the original went bad. I have later found out that this is a weak part of that engine with that unit known to be failure prone. That is why I decided to get out of my Abarth and buy a BRZ. If Fiat still sold the 124 Spider in the US I might have still considered it as it is RWD and I prefer its styling over the Miata.
It also has a slightly larger trunk then the ND Miata. It has flatter handling and the steering is not as darty.
Its truly a shame that Fiat did not develop it more, including offering a coupe version. However, for typical Fiat this does not seem to be their MO in the the US. So its the BRZ for me. Supposedly it is due into my dealer next week.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
406 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Unfortunately, all the car writers compared it to the Miata because they were built together.
Writers are lazy.

I like its looks better than the Miata.
"After four attempts spanning 28 years, Mazda finally asks the Italians to perfect the looks of their MX-5."
- Ameridan

Fiat blew it because they didn’t advertise it. They thought social media was enough.
Agreed. I only discovered it while researching Miatas to which aforementioned writers compared it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Chips

·
Registered
2022 GR86 Track Bred Premium MT
Joined
·
772 Posts
Writers are lazy.


"After four attempts spanning 28 years, Mazda finally asks the Italians to perfect the looks of their MX-5."
- Ameridan



Agreed. I only discovered it while researching Miatas to which aforementioned writers compared it.
I live in San Diego and I would have thought they’d sell well here. I only ever saw 2. I didn’t know about it until it had been on the market for a year.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
499 Posts
In my eyes it was a better looking car. Had Fiat bothered to put a little money into it simply to give it more power and make it a bit more reliable(engine) it would have been a winner for them. It should have put out no less than 200HP. the Monza exhaust should have been standard. Fiat made a rally version with the Alfa 4C engine. It made something like 250 HP. Fiat simply did not want to invest in it making it doomed to failure. Really a shame. Another reasonably inexpensive RWD sports car being forced into retirement. Thank god we still have the BRZ and GR86 as well as the Miata. Everyone else has abandoned the reasonably priced RWD sportscar.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
406 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
However, there is definite turbo lag until you get into that torque range roughly 3500 RPM to 5500 RPM.
That's not a proper understanding of turbo lag. What you are describing is being in the wrong gear. There can be no "turbo lag" if you are not operating in an rpm range where there is turbo boost. If the turbo isn't spinning, it's incapable of lagging.

The correct understanding of turbo lag is when you are in an rpm range with boost, i.e. have the proper gear selected, and then add additional throttle. Turbo lag is the time between adding throttle and the development of additional boost. In the 1.4L Multiair, this time is virtually imperceptible in real-world driving conditions.

Power comes in fairly high and drops off fairly low below red line.
This engine - like all turbo engines - is not about power; it's about torque. Torque comes on at 2800 rpm and remains flat and above 180 ft-lbs until about 5500 rpm. With the gearing this car has, you can sweep 3k to 5k all day long in third gear. It's the perfect engine for canyon carving. "If the clothes make the man, the engine makes the car."

Unlike the 500 Abarth the standard 124 Spider has a fairly quiet exhaust unless you have the "Record Monza" exhaust or an aftermarket one.
Not a problem. I don't care about loud exhaust. I can do without brapping and droning and crackling and burbling and popping and farting. I care about induction sound and otherwise the exhaust should be relatively muffled. I find loud exhaust to be obnoxious to the driver and to the community at large. Loud exhaust is like a person at a restaurant loudly talking above everyone else at the table or even in the restaurant.

Had Fiat developed the Spider engine offering more power and torque(perhaps say 200 HP and torque), it might still be on sale in the states.
It had more torque than the ND1 Miata. Nobody didn't buy a 124 Spider because it didn't have enough "power". They didn't buy it either because they never heard of it or they didn't trust the Fiat brand.

However, the multiair fuel injection system is prone to issues. At 10,000 miles I had to replace my Multiar actuator as the original went bad. I have later found out that this is a weak part of that engine with that unit known to be failure prone.
Every vehicle is prone to issues. My car has 20k miles and there have been zero Multiair issues. Regular oil and filter changes are required. Failure to do so may result in...failure.

It has flatter handling and the steering is not as darty.
Fiat did a better job tuning the Miata suspension than Mazda.

Its truly a shame that Fiat did not develop it more, including offering a coupe version.
Agreed, would have been brilliant!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
406 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
In my eyes it was a better looking car.
Objectively, it is.

Had Fiat bothered to put a little money into it simply to give it more power and make it a bit more reliable(engine) it would have been a winner for them.
Doubtful. The engine makes sufficient torque and power for spirited canyon driving, and the engine is entirely reliable; more reliable than many of the engines proffered by the German, American, or British brands.
"Straight roads are for fast cars; turns are for fast drivers." - Colin McRae
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
499 Posts
Well it looks like we can agree on some issue's. This is my second 500 Abarth. I had a 2013 that a traded in for a 500X. A big mistake. I do not have confidence in the Multiair 1.4 turbo engine over the long term. I see the BRZ as a logical alternative and hopefully more reliability.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
406 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The unsung miata stepchild.
Very cool car. 👍
The "Fiata" :sneaky:

One time I pulled into a bourbon distillery parking lot and there was a Mazda club already there on a group run. They said, "Do you know that's basically a Miata, built on the same production line in Hiroshima, Japan?" I said, "Yes I do! That's why I bought it!" :giggle:
 
  • Like
Reactions: Stephenm

·
Registered
Joined
·
406 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
I do not have confidence in the Multiair 1.4 turbo engine over the long term. I see the BRZ as a logical alternative and hopefully more reliability.
Throughout the model run of the modern 124 Spider, there were no recalls on the 1.4L Multiair turbo engine. It’s been a brilliant engine in that application. It was less robust in the 1000-lbs heavier Dodge Dart, indicating that car could have used more displacement to haul it around. But there’s no basis for skepticism about the engine’s reliability in the 124 Spider.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
406 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Well-The Multiair Actuator went bad in my 500 Abarth at 9900 miles. I hear that is a weak part of the engine.
That's unfortunate of course. Would definitely be a warranty item. But I don't think it could be extrapolated that therefore all of the 1.4L Multiair engines are lemons.

But enough about the engine: how did you like my drive report? :D
 
  • Like
Reactions: Funcarday

·
Registered
Joined
·
406 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Beauty is obviously in the eye of the beholder. The Miata gorgeous, and the fiata is well ......not.

Does sound good though.
Ugly is also in the eye, and keyboard, of the beholder.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Stephenm

·
Registered
2022 GR86 Track Bred Premium MT
Joined
·
772 Posts
😆.
Did you pay extra for a PT cruiser? Or maybe a Nissan Juke?

Joking aside the Fiata wasn't ugly but it definitely didn't look better than the car it copied.
I disagree. I liked the look of the Fiat more.
I bought an MR2 Spider in 2001 because everyone has a Miata and I didn’t want a cookie cutter car. The MR2 was the MOST fun I’ve ever had with a car.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
176 Posts
Well it looks like we can agree on some issue's. This is my second 500 Abarth. I had a 2013 that a traded in for a 500X. A big mistake. I do not have confidence in the Multiair 1.4 turbo engine over the long term. I see the BRZ as a logical alternative and hopefully more reliability.
That's unfortunate of course. Would definitely be a warranty item. But I don't think it could extrapolated that therefore all of the 1.4L Multiair engines are lemons.

But enough about the engine: how did you like my drive report? :D
I love drive stories like yours. And I always liked the look of the Spider over the Miata, front end, tail, and the fact that they look more unique in a good way. It seems like the Miata always has a design that makes it look smaller than it should be. Looks is 70% of what I go for. I don’t think corvettes would sell well if they didn’t always have a beefy presence in person. Which is why the new 86/BRZ looks better than a Miata. Back to your story…. That’s what sport driving is all about vs chewing up components on a track. But to each…..
 
1 - 20 of 39 Posts
Top