A 1970 Fiat 124 Spider worn down by time and four weeks to restore its original beauty: this was the challenge undertaken by Head of FCA Heritage Roberto Giolito and the Classic FCA Workshops specialists, resulting in a fascinating restoration project.
Legends never fade: they reinvent themselves and endure for years thanks to their timeless appeal.
One such example of ageless beauty is the Fiat 124 Spider: an icon from the 60s, 70s and 80s that has never ceased appealing to later generations.
Fiat decided to resurrect this motoring gem by restoring a quintessential Spider model from the second series.
The mission was entrusted to an exceptional team of specialists led by Roberto Giolito, head of the FCA Heritage department and a master of car design.
The principle that inspired this recovery operation was the key to its success: combining tradition and innovation by using advanced technology to recondition more rudimentary mechanics.
This was the directive that the team followed throughout the job, which comprised four stages: research on the car; disassembly and in-depth study of the specimen, actual restoration work; and reassembly and finishing.
De la découverte d'un exemplaire de 1970 dans la province d'Asti aux finitions fidèles à l'original, l'équipe Heritage a soigné avec passion chaque détail de la restauration, de la recherche historique dans les archives de la Maison Mère au Centre historique de Fiat, au travail des mécaniciens dans les Officine Classiche.
Everything started with a classified advert published online, which led to the town of Montegrosso d'Asti and the discovery of a white 1970 model 124 Spider. Registered in Rome and still with its original licence plates, the car was striking even at first glance. Apart from some minor deterioration on the exterior, the car seemed to be in good condition. The only question mark was its age: was it a first or second series?
There was only one way to find out, by returning to the Classical Officine workshops and opening the Spider’s bonnet. The engine was a 1600 belonging to the second series, with a single dual-barrel carburettor.
Following this discovery and thorough historic research into the car’s components among the archives at Centro Storico Fiat, the actual restoration work got under way. It was an exciting process, particularly during the disassembly stage, which was marked by a number of discoveries: it turned out that the engine was an 8V and the bodywork was not originally white, but Colorado yellow. These two peculiarities made the specimen truly unique.
The third step was the “nitty-gritty” of the job and the most exciting moment of the project, which involved refurbishing every single component to its original state. This operation was preceded by a painstaking process of logging and classifying the parts, which helped to form a detailed overview before the actual repairs commenced.
The crucial stage was stripping the car down and reverse engineering it step by step: this firstly involved reupholstering the seats,repadding them to their original volume and then resealing them without seams, before reshaping the car by planing down the geometries and the edges of the bodywork.
The last procedure was the most problematic.
Reassembly, painting and restoring the chrome details, and reconstructing the dashboard by recovering the woods to achieve the right colour and sheen: these were all operations that demanded the utmost attention, precision and craftsmanship from the FCA Heritage specialists. Nothing, however, was as laborious as fitting the newly restored engine back into the engine compartment. It marked the end of a delicate job, but also signalled a rebirth: the team had restored a 1970 model 124 Spider to its original beauty and, in doing so, had brought a legend back to life.