Despite the popularity of Italian supercars such as Ferrari and Lamborghini, and countless others, these cars amount for a tiny proportion of sales of sports cars, generally speaking. The most popular, and best-selling Italian sports car in history is none other than the relatively humble 1966 Fiat 124 Spider and its successors. Styled by Pininfarina, the Fiat 124 Spider offered everything one could want in a sports car, without going over the top and without being outrageously expensive. It was convertible – always a good start – and boasted a pretty refined suspension. Its all-around disc brakes, right from the start, put it in a different class than its British or American competitors.
The Fiat 124 Spider was always powered by a four-cylinder engine, which ranged in displacement from 1.4 liters all the way to 2-liters, as Fiat increased the displacement to make up for power-robbing emissions standards. The most powerful version, 2-liter supercharged version, produced 135 horsepower, and propelled the car to a top speed of 120 miles per hour.
The 1966 Fiat 124 Spider and its successors proved to be remarkably durable, particularly in design. It is always surprising to see how little the model changed from its early days until 1985, when it was cancelled. Pininfarina continued producing the car afterwards, putting its own name on it.