The Fiat 500 is one of the most awarded cars on the road today. Here is a look at some of the accolades the 500 has won.
The Fiat 500X has an advanced All-Wheel-Drive system. See how it outperforms the competition.
A look at how the new Fiat 124 Spider stacks up against the original
Within its compact dimensions, the Fiat 500L has the room of a full-sized car. See how Fiat did it and the concept and goals of the design team
FIAT 500, FIAT 500L, Fiat 500X AND FIAT 500 ABARTH SPECS
Monday, December 21, 2015
While we are waiting for the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider to arrive at Fiat Studios next summer, here's a look back at the iconic original Spider with the help of some original period brochures.
I've owned two early 70s Fiat 124 Spiders and driven and worked on countless others. Sophisticated, comfortable and good looking, these were very refined cars in their day. Still are. They are a masculine car with a genuine performance heritage spelled A-B-A-R-T-H.
The Fiat 124 Abarth Rally is one of the most attractive cars ever produced. But more than just a beautiful car, it had a serious competition pedigree. Use the link below to read more
The original 1966 124 Sport Spider came with a revolutionary twin-overhead cam engine created by the legendary ex-Ferrari engineer Aurelio Lampredi. Car enthusiasts should note that before the Fiat Twin Cam engine, double-overhead camshaft engines were the exclusive domain of only expensive cars. Lampredi's design with its igneous yet simple valve actuation and economical belt drive camshafts enabled this high-performance engine architecture to be feasible in less expensive cars.
Lampredi's design with its ingenious yet simple valve actuation and economical belt drive camshafts paved the way for this high-performance engine architecture's use in nearly all modern cars. These Fiat engines could easily turn 7 - 8,000 rpm which totally surpassed their British competitors low revving, push-rod engines.
In addition, the adoption of a five-speed gearbox and four-wheel-disc brakes as standard equipment set the pattern for all sports cars that followed.
It is probably more accurate to say that the original Mazda Miata has more in common with the Fiat 124 Sport Spider than any British roadster of the day.
Road Test Magazine said of the original Fiat 124 Spider:
"What the Fiats offer is this: they take the roughness out of owning a sports car once and for all. They're quiet, comfortable smooth and easy to get in and out of. "
" ...A sense of extreme lightness comes when you drive the car....they don't tire you out so much as you might expect in a car in this class to. Here's one sports car you can jump in and take off cross country and know you're going to arrive relaxed and comfortable..."
"...Everything seems well thought out, neat, where it should be, with big round dials for speedometer and tachometer, handy switches and covered gear shift lever; it seems as if this car should be in a higher class..."
Specifications of the 1974 Fiat 124 Spider show it had a 1756 cc twin overhead cam engine, 5-speed gearbox, and four-wheel disc brakes. This car outclassed the antiquated British roadsters competition in every way.
In 1975, Fiat changed the elegant chrome bumpers to these much larger ones to meet US bumper specs. No matter, the 124 Spider's design was strong enough to pull it off.
The 124 Spider elegant interior features genuine wood, comfortable reclining bucket seats, and sexy Veglia Borletti instruments.
The Fiat 124 Sport Spider was never a cheap car. In 1977, it cost $6,250 or more than twice that of a base Fiat 128. For perspective, an average car was about $4,300 and a Corvette was around $9,000.
Designed by Pininfarina and debuting in 1966, the Fiat 124 Spider looked good then and still looks good now, some fifty years later.
One handed convertible top operation was a revelation in 1966. This car set the standard for convertible top operation we use today.
In 1978 Fiat upped the engine size from 1756cc to 1995cc and the Spider 2000 was born. While the exterior looks nearly the same, Fiat significantly upgraded and enhanced the trim, functionality, and performance of the Spider for the next decade.
The Fiat Spider 2000 featured many upgraded systems like a modernized electrical, and available electronic fuel injection. An automatic transmission was also offered as well as power windows.
The larger 2-liter engine of the Spider 2000 changed the character of the Spider from a lean athletic sportscar to a more mature and torquey grand tourer.
The 1981 Fiat Spider 2000 brochure highlights the available creature comforts such as power windows, leather upholstery, and automatic transmission.
In 1983 Fiat, the third-largest car company in the world at the time pulled out of the United States. However, the Fiat Spider 2000 would continue to be sold. The design company Pininfarina, who had previously built the body and shipped them to Fiat for final assembly, eventually took over the complete manufacturing of the Spider in 1981 and worked out a deal to continue selling the Spider under the name Pininfarina Spider Azzura. These were manufactured and sold until 1985 when Pininfarina switched its assembly line over to manufacture the Cadillac Allante.
The 1981 Fiat Spider 2000 Turbo was the first turbocharged convertible available in the United States.
All told, nearly 200,000 Fiat 124 Spiders were made between 1966 - 1985. More than 170,000 Spiders were sold in the United States between 1968 and 1985 of which approximately 8,000 remain on the road.
Images: Abarth image courtesy FCA NV, Brochures from author's collection
Thursday, December 10, 2015
The Fiat 500X features an available ZF Friedrichshafen nine-speed automatic transmission. Designated the 948TE, the sophisticated transmission boasts excellent start-up acceleration and an outstanding up to 16 % improvement in highway fuel efficient compared to a conventional 6-speed automatic transmission. Reduced overall noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels are also hallmarks of the 948TE, and the transmission is used by numerous car companies ranging from Honda to Jaguar/Land Rover.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has been steadily tweaking and refining the performance of this impressive transmission with a series of software updates or reflashes. These are usually automatically applied to customer cars when brought into routine service while under warranty coverage or if a concern is expressed. The latest software update dated December 5, 2015, offers improved transmission shift enhancements for sand and snow mode.*
In addition there are other tweaks and refinements included in the update.
- Reduced harshness of 1-2 upshifts.
- Improved accelerator pedal response in Sport and TractionPlus modes.
- Reduction in RPM flare at engine start.
- Improved idle performance when shifting into DRIVE or REVERSE following
- a cold start.
Some of these improvements may have been included in previous updates, and some owners may not even notice any difference in performance at all depending on how they drive and their driving conditions, but it is always a smart idea to run the latest software. It is another good reason to stop by your Fiat Studio. While you are there, go to the parts department and check out the latest accessories and swag, and maybe have a cappuccino!
Contact your Fiat Studio for more information and to see if this software update applies to your car or if you have any questions or concerns. Use the following Technical Service Bulletin for reference:
Fiat 500X Transmission Shift And Drivability EnhancementsFiat Technical Service Bulletin 21-024-15 REV. C
2016 Fiat 500X
NOTE: This Fiat technical service bulletin applies to vehicles built on or before October 24, 2015 (MDH 1024XX) equipped with a 2.4L Engine (Sales Code ED6), 948TE Automatic Transmission (Sales Code DFH) and **3.734 Final Drive Ratio (Sales Code DME)
This bulletin involves reprogramming the Transmission Control Module (TCM) with the latest available software.
*This information is provided for discussion purposes only. You should always contact your dealer for up to date information and to answer any questions. The dealer will be able to tell you what if any bulletins are applicable to your car.
Images courtesy of FCA NV.
Monday, December 7, 2015
2017 Fiat 124 Spider full feature list, including option packages and color availability.
Thursday, December 3, 2015
Seduced by the dark side or drawn to the light? That is the question in the latest Fiat commercial. Fiat has teamed up with Lucas Films to cross promote the Fiat Year End Blockbuster Sales Event and the latest Star Wars movie debuting December 18.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is highly anticipated, just like a Fiat year end sale. The Year End Blockbuster Event gives 0% financing for 75 months+ on 2015 Fiat 500 hatchback and Abarth models. Other Fiat models are also on sale, plus, Fiat Studios have their own special deals going on. This is a great time of year to buy, but hurry because the offers only last until 01/04/2016, so see your dealer now.
Contact these Fiat Studios for more info:
Criswell FIAT of Gaithersburg, Maryland - 1-888-878-2488
FIAT of Austin, Texas - 1-877-908-3428
Palmen FIAT of Kenosha, Wisconsin - 1-888-379-0295
Benson FIAT, South Carolina - 1-888-380-1716
FIAT of Larchmont, New York - 1-888-405-2249
Wednesday, December 2, 2015
Going by the numbers, overall Fiat brand sales were down 2.6 percent in November compared to the same month last year. However, if you factor in that November 2015 had two fewer selling days than November 2014, and using the average daily selling rate, results in Fiat's November's sales actually being up around 6 percent.
Fiat 500 and 500L sales have been impacted by the subcompact market tanking due in part by low gas prices and consumers flocking to crossover utility vehicles. A lack of 2016 models while Fiat clears out 2015 inventory may also be a factor. Still overall year-to-date sales of the Fiat 500 have beat many of its competitors:
Fiat 500 YTD sales: 23,583
Hyundai Veloster sales: 21,999
Mitsubishi Mirage sales: 20,253
Scion Tc sales: 15,483
Toyota Yaris sales: 16,402
Volkswagen Beetle sales: 21,356
The Fiat 500X crossover recorded 1,833 sales in November, its second best month ever since its arrival on the market in late May. Available with a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system, it will be interesting to see how 500X sales do this winter.
November Fiat News
Fiat's debut of the fantastic new 124 Spider easily tops the news this month. Fiat introduced the new roadster to a standing room only crowd at the 2015 LA Auto Show, and it was easily one of the most anticipated debuts of the show (along with he new Alfa Romeo Giulia).
Styled in Italy by a design team led by a former Pininfarina designer, the new Fiat 124 Spider pays homage to the iconic Spider of the 1960s. It is the modern interpretation of the classic Italian roadster, which melds ultra-fun driving characteristics with sophisticated styling.
And speaking of anticipated debuts, the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio reveal was easily the most exciting event at the LA show. Alfa pulled out all stops with a display of legendary classics culminating in an exhaust serenade by a $10 million Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale during the Giulia QV's unveiling.
Along with the 124 Spider unveil at the LA Show, Fiat displayed the new 2016 model range including the 500X Mobe show car.
The Fiat 500 also reached an impressive milestone in November: The 1.5 millionth Fiat 500 rolled off the European assembly line last month. The Fiat 500 also earned a Best Buy designation from Consumers Digest for the fifth time in the Subcompact category. Additionally both the 500 and the fully-electric 500e made Strategic Vision’s “Most Loved Vehicles in America” list.
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Images: Spider in Bianco Gelato courtesy of FCA US LLC. All others are from author
Sources: FCA US LLC and Automotive News