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I think I'm in love with a car....

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16 replies to this topic

#1 of 17 OFFLINE   Dave Poehlman

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Posted November 29 2005 - 03:18 AM

Okay.. let me preface by saying it's my goal to own a convertible at some point in my life. So, on a whim, I did a little internet search while bored at work about 4 months ago and found this 1979 Fiat Spider 2000. It was originally around $5k. I've been checking on it every few weeks. It looks like the dealer is looking to cut his losses.

Now, I realize there's no practical reason I should buy this car. I have a perfectly good joe-suburban, fuel efficient, compact in my garage with plenty of life left in it. Couple that with the fact that Spiders are notorious for being problematic and expensive to maintain. Not to mention my dwindling garage space.

>sigh< But something about this car appeals to me. I think it's the classic look to it... or maybe the fact that you don't see one on the road every day. Modern convertibles don't do it for me. Save for maybe the Miatas.. but you see those all over the place.

I can't get a bluebook value for it.. it's too old. Can anyone at least tell me if it's a good deal? It appears to be in great shape. And, if any HTF'ers in the Chicago area wind up jumping on it... could you at least come and take me for a ride? Posted Image

#2 of 17 OFFLINE   Philip_G



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Posted November 29 2005 - 03:22 AM

I guess all I can ask is.. how handy are you with a wrench? it seems well worth 3500 bucks as long as it's well sorted, maybe check google for some FIAT bulletin boards and see what they're going for on there, the people into the cars will know what they're worth. I'd also add that 4k will buy you a nice 90-94 miata that will handle better and be less trouble, but might not have the same appeal. (it'll also take a turbocharger with glee)

#3 of 17 OFFLINE   Chu Gai

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Posted November 29 2005 - 03:40 AM

They were very problematical which led to the saying that FIAT stands for Fix It Again Tony.

#4 of 17 OFFLINE   Philip Hamm

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Posted November 29 2005 - 03:50 AM

You either should be a mechanic yourself or have a good mechanic handy and get ready to pay pay pay pay..... I had a friend whose dad had one back in the day. Very cool car. A Mazda Miata will do the same thing and not leave you stranded at the side of the road.
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#5 of 17 OFFLINE   Dean Cooper

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Posted November 29 2005 - 03:53 AM

I say go for it man. My friend had one exactly like it and loved the heck out of it. For that price you could easily enjoy it for a few years and then turn around and make a profit on it. Life is too short to not go after what you want. Good car to fall in love with by the way. Look them up on ebay and pay attention to what the average going rate is for them, its usually a good way to estimate what a blue book would be.

#6 of 17 OFFLINE   Francois Caron

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Posted November 29 2005 - 04:10 AM

I actually considered bying one for myself many years ago, but didn't have the money to spend on such a venture. But one day, I will most likely get one.

They are cool cars. I once saw a baby blue one on the highway between Montreal and Ottawa. The guy appeared to really enjoy his car, especially with his dog by his side. It almost looked like a cool car commercial without the reckless driving! Posted Image

#7 of 17 OFFLINE   Joe Szott

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Posted November 29 2005 - 04:24 AM

Check the VIN out at carfax. If it has ever been in a serious accident, submerged, or had an engine fire - you don't want it. Otherwise, why the heck not? If you have a realistic expectation of the repair fees this car will require, then you know what you are getting into and can enjoy it. Or you can keep both cars in case the Fiat is a lemon.

#8 of 17 OFFLINE   Dave Poehlman

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Posted November 29 2005 - 04:33 AM

Lol... you guys sound about as conflicted as I am.

Doing a few searches around the web tells me $3500 is a pretty good price for a '79 with only 63K miles. (provided the structure is in good shape) I'm a handy guy.. although I don't really work on cars.. but I can read a manual and fix most things given proper diagrams... and I have a few brothers who spent their 70's rennovating VW bugs and MG's and aren't afraid to take out an engine or two for a few beers. Posted Image

www.spidercenter.com has a good "buying guide" on what to look for when considering a spider.

If I were to buy this car.. it would mainly be a "fun car" for me and the wife to tool around in during fair weather. Living in Wisconsin limits that to about 3 months out of the year. Posted Image

This is all probably a pipe dream anyway.

I think I tried that and it didn't come through as a valid VIN (not enough digits).. possibly because it's an import.. or too old.

#9 of 17 OFFLINE   Philip_G



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Posted November 29 2005 - 04:47 AM

I really think the miata would be just as fun and a lot less headache! Did I mention the turbo?

#10 of 17 OFFLINE   Dennis Nicholls

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Posted November 29 2005 - 06:30 AM

Dave, what is your comfort level of fixing cars? You don't want to have to pay someone else to keep up a 26 year old car like this. Note the Fiat has an interference design valvetrain: if the rubber timing belt breaks you have to buy a new engine.

I've restored/built various Austin Healey and Lotus cars over the years. I now own a Miata instead (my current one is a 2004 LS with Flyin' Miata turbo system). That speaks for itself. :b Posted Image
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#11 of 17 OFFLINE   Garrett Lundy

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Posted November 29 2005 - 10:52 AM

"She wa sa bad joke. and what Arnie saw in her that day I'll never know. The left side of her windshield was a snarled spiderweb of cracks. The right rear deck was bashed in, and an ugly nest of rust had grown in the paint-scraped valley. The back bumper was askew, the trunk lid was ajar, and upholstery was bleeding out through several long tears in the seat covers, both front and back. It looked as if someone had worked on the uphostery with a knife. One tire was flat, The others were bald enough to show the canvas cording. Worst of all, there was a dark puddle of oil under the engine block. Arnie had falen in love with a 1958 Plymouth Fury, one of the long ones with the big fins." Falling in love with a used car you've never driven is sure sign that it is haunted, and will try to kill you at some point. :P)
"Did you know that more people are murdered at 92 degrees Fahrenheit than any other temperature? I read an article once. Lower temperatures, people are easy-going, over 92 and it's too hot to move, but just 92, people get irritable."

#12 of 17 OFFLINE   BrianW



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Posted November 29 2005 - 02:35 PM

You may be able to sell just the hood and make a profit. Those double-bubble Spider hoods go for a LOT of money in junkyards. It's a VERY fun car, it's in beautiful condition (meaning you can begin enjoying it immediately without a lot of restoration work up front), and the price is right. You can always sell it if it tries to kill you. Enjoy your ride!
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#13 of 17 OFFLINE   Inspector Hammer!

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Posted November 29 2005 - 03:06 PM

And you guy's gave me a hard time for being in love with Anne Hathaway.

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#14 of 17 OFFLINE   Christ Reynolds

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Posted November 29 2005 - 04:06 PM

at least dave has a decent chance of driving the car Posted Image

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#15 of 17 OFFLINE   Scott L

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Posted November 29 2005 - 04:19 PM

^ bahaha good'n! :wink: Anyway as fun as a miata is, I have to say that Spyder just looks 10x cooler. I'd still forget it though. It's too old and will give you headaches, probably in some cold or wet weather too.

#16 of 17 OFFLINE   gene c

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Posted November 30 2005 - 11:24 AM

I have owned a '70 Fiat 124 Spyder for more than 10 years and love it. Pro's: Cute as a button. Easy to work on and parts are cheap and easy to get. Great suspension and steering for a 40 year old design. Over 30 mpg. Over 40 Posted Image per gallon. 5 spd standard. 4 wheel disc's. Double overhead cams. And the best designed convertible top on any car more than 10 years old. Oh, and it's a blast to drive! (did I just say "blast"?) Con's: Strange driving position (but you get used to it). Fit and finish not the best (but what car was built good in the '70's). Poor electrical system and rust, rust, rust. The Italians "fun while it lasts" attitude means a good one is a pleasure and a bad a headache. They're advice when it broke down or started to rust? Buy another one! BTW, I also have a '72 Mercedes 450sl and prefer to drive the 124. Only wish it were built better.
"Everyday room": Panasonic 58" Plasma, Dish HD DVR, Pioneer Elite vsx-23, BDP-23 BR, dv58avi universal dvd player, Paradigm Studio 20 V1, CC-450, Dayton HSU-10 subwoofer.

"Movie/Music room": Toshiba 65" DLP, Dish HD receiver, Marantz 7005, CC-4003, BD-7006, Polk LSI25's-LSi7's-LSiC, 2 original Dayton 10" "Mighty-Mites" subwoofers. (subject to change without notice).
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#17 of 17 OFFLINE   David McGough

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Posted November 30 2005 - 12:29 PM

Get it as LONG as you PAY CASH.. Everyman needs a hobby and a fantasy. Some are woman and some are cars. You pump either one..

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