1969 Fiat 124 Sport SpiderEnlarge Photo
Upon confirmation that Fiat-Abarth had taken over Alfa Romeo's place in Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' [NYSE:FCAU] deal with Mazda to share the Japanese automaker’s platform and production line for the latest MX-5 Miata, speculation abruptly turned toward what the planned "specialty" car would be badged.
FCA boss Sergio Marchionne has now confirmed at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show that the rear-wheel-drive sports will in fact wear a Fiat badge, and that the car will be called the “124 Spider”. The confirmation ends speculation that we might see a standalone model from Abarth or perhaps even a dark horse play to expand the long-suffering Lancia brand.
Given FCA filed trademarks on the "124" and "124 Spider" late last year, a revival of Fiat's lightweight rear-wheel-drive roadster is now locked in. Fiat’s last 124 Spider, officially a “Sport Spider”, was last built back in 1985. A version of the car was even used for rallying in the early '70s, when Abarth became involved in its development.
Perhaps we’ll even seen an Abarth version of the modern 124 Spider—á la the 500 Abarth—which could tip the scales at around 2,200 pounds and sport as much as 200 horsepower from Fiat's 1.4-liter Multi-Air turbo.
A roadster will prove an important step for the Fiat brand, both in the eyes of consumers seeking a traditional sports car, and dealers—some of whom expected Alfa Romeos in their showrooms—who've been constrained to selling versions of the 500 since the brand's reintroduction to the U.S. in 2011.
Given how great the 2016 MX-5 looks, we're expecting fireworks when we see the first pics of its Italian cousin.
For more from the Geneva Motor Show, head to our dedicated hub.
2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata_______________________________________
2016 Mazda MX-5 MiataEnlarge Photo