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First car help - - 1976 Fiat Spider

Offer $4000 and see what they say.
Learn from experience. Learn that sometimes a dream car is best left in your dreams.

My first car was a 1971 Fiat Spyder that my Dad bought for $40 when I was 15 (This was in 1975!). After 4 short years on the road the car was trash and I basically had to rebuild it. I spent an entire year getting it back into driving condition.

The old saying that “FIAT” was an acronym for “Fix It Again, Tony” was pretty accurate. A week didn’t go by that something didn’t go awry with that car. It finally gave up the ghost in 1978 when the front suspension basically detached from the rest of the car due to rust.

Unless you have all the time in the world and love working on cars, RUN don’t walk away from this car!

Two high school friends of mine bought them as cheap first cars and regretted it ever after. It was only the late seventies and the cars were already collapsing into rusty heaps, even in LA. I always did like their style, and had plenty of time to admire their lines since they hardly ever ran. However, my true love was reserved for the gorgeous X1/9, an even worse car, just as unreliable and harder to work on. Do yourself a big favor and fall in love with a car that doesn’t spit oil in your face. They do exist.

Get yourself a used Miata for the same price, or less, and spend the summer driving it and having fun, instead of working all summer on a parked Fiat and not going anywhere :frowning:

Thanks all for the help and advice.
I just found out that my grandparents are giving me their 2001 Buick Century so now I have no reason to shop for cars. It seems like there was a resounding “No!” to my purchasing this car anyway. =P

Thanks again!

Sounds like a wonderful college car,dont dog it to death and learn by doing the maintenence on .it should get pretty good fuel economy too,good luck -Kevin

Thank your grandparents profusely…take care of it and it will take care of you…paint number 12 on the doors if you like…

Hey, good for you. Those Fiat Spiders are pretty cool looking cars.

But should you go for it? That’s another question entirely. This car is going to have a lot of maintenance work needed to keep it on the road. It’s old in the first place. Everything in, on, and under the car is in the process of failing. Plus it wasn’t ever known to be a super-reliable car in the first place. Even when new. And it’s a pretty unsafe car, being small, a soft-top, and having none of the current safety devices like modern brakes, air bags, anti-lock braking, and stability control. It has none of those. You’ll lose in pretty much any collision you have with a newer car. Or with a telephone pole.

But it is fun to drive. And it’s fast and has a pretty good suspension system so it corners well. I drove one for a few months back in the 70’s.

If you are just goofing for the summer and want a car to do it with, I say go for it. But back it up with some money in the bank you are prepared to spend to keep it on the road. And I mean a lot of money.

And this isn’t a car for long trips, freeway driving, or winter weather driving. Or a car that can be kept on the road for cheap. If that’s really what you need in a car, a Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla or Ford Focus, something like that, rated “reliable” and “good value” by Consumers Reports, that is the way to go.

If you can live with the above limitations tho, first off, get a good life insurance policy, then pony up the dough for the purchase, and prepare to have some fun.

‘Down the road’ (so to speak) when you want to get a fun Italian 2-seater, get an Alfa, not the Fiat. It’s a much better-made car, lots around (they hold together better) and there’s lots of parts available, from the right sources.

'Down the road' (so to speak) when you want to get a fun Italian 2-seater, get an Alfa, not the Fiat. It's a much better-made car,

“That’s like saying syphilis is a better STD to have than gonorrhea.”
/Jeremy Clarkson

@bscar2 - nah, the Alfa’s actually a pretty decent car, much better than the equivalent Brit cars of the time…OK more ‘that’s like saying …’ comments…

I don’t have a serious answer. My tthought was that somebody went to a lot of trouble to restore it and now is trying to get rid of it. The Car Talk calendar has a lot of Fiat jokes on it so Fiats aren’t taken too seriously by the Majorca boys, Tom and Ray. Don’t buy that car.

I am 63 years old, fifty ear shade tree wrench, and have been around long enough to know that FIAT stands for FIX IT AGAIN TONY! True they are fun cars but the insurance will destroy an 18 year old male’s bank account. That and the maintenance will kill you. Buy a Miata, an old Z, or some other Japanese sporty car. Save the foray into the Italian motoring world when you have one reliable vehicle and just want a toy.

I have done engine swaps on dozens of cars over the years (1956 to present), and I would recommend a Mazda Miata engine and transmission for the 124. These engines are “bullet proof” and readily available at reasonable prices. Be sure to get ALL the electrical/electronic parts associated with the engine, and the drive shaft, if you try this. Good luck! Tony (I assume you know that FIAT means “Fix It Again Tony”…well, I’m that Tony:).

Unless you have plenty of disposable money, or know how to repair it yourself. I would advise you to steer clear of an old Fiat. They can be a blast, if you can fix it yourself, if not it will drive you into the poor house.

One thing I don’t think has been discussed yet is the cost of insurance for a Miata, or even the Spyder.

I imagine it wouldn’t be all that cheap to insure for an 18 year old; doubly so if OP is male.