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Would this be a good buy?

I heard many things good and bad about the Fiat Spider. What shoud I look for if I decide to purchase this car?


If you want to buy a project/money pit car and you like this flavor go for it. Nothing practical about this kind of purchase.

Price is good, a little on the low side if anything.

Rust is your big red flag on these, check everything thoroughly and make sure you can inspect underneath the car. Spiders were built for California and the Cote D’Azur not North Raleigh. Original body parts are hard to come by and complex to fit, particularly rear fenders.

Engines are bomb proof provided oil changes are kept up, transmissions are always a little notchy even when new, second gear synchro is the primary failure point, but they don’t fail dramatically.

I’ve had a couple of these and they are great cars and great fun. But do be careful when inspecting this, the low price and ‘rust repair’ are 2 alerts to me. It depends what rust repair was done and how well. Take a magnet along to check for large volumes of bondo in the lower ‘A’ and ‘B’ posts.

Be nice if it was just a good honest car, but beware of anything with a hint of rot.

There were fun cars. But they were not all that well put together and now it will be an old not well put together car. Unless you are ready to do some restoration or really really want it, I would pass.

I used to work for a multi-line dealer back in the 80s that took on a Fiat franchise.
The cars themselves were not that bad and the majority of problems we saw were owner inflicted; generally due to that sports car/top down/banging gears mentality.

My view of them at the time was pretty dim due to a total lack of support from the distributor. They would not honor warranty claims, no technical help, and near zero policy of shipping any repair parts. We were an authorized franchise and could not even get an air filter from them so you can see where the bad attitude comes in.

I agree about inspecting for rust. Anything mechanical that crops up can be gotten around. If the car checks out fine then it may not be a bad deal at all. Memory is fuzzy on this but the MSRP on those cars used to be around 17 grand when I worked on them and that was a shade over 20 years ago

Go for it! These cars are great fun, especially in the sunny south. I restored one myself for my son to use throughout his four college years. (And I hear from all those other parents demanding safe cars for their cherubs!)

Years later I still am mailed Fiat parts catalogs from a place in Georgia so I know parts are still available. What surprises me is the asking price – these things have really appreciated over time. Anyways, it is an expensive toy but if money isn’t holding you back, then go buy it. You’ll have a lot of fun cruisin’ and displaying it at car shows.

Definitely a toy, but it looks pretty nice for the price. I would make sure to have a good source of parts and have it checked out completely by someone who specializes in them. I test drove one of those when they were new (almost lost it on a highway exit during the test drive), but I’ve never owned one.