Pininfarina catalog shots. Nobody in this price range offered disc brakes on all four corners, or Dual overhead cam, alloy head motors. Or a 5 speed.... Or 7 year rust warranty, the best rust warranty of any maker in it's day. Or the fairy dust of Ferrari. 

     Look ma it's a Pininfarina!

A quick glance at the mirrors sticking out of the quarter windows is the first "tell" is not Fiat made. The designers whole name Pininfarina is spelled out on a horizontal block. (not the small vertical "F" logo that's on Fiats) These features are easy to see from far away.

The engine sound is a song, the deep vroom bass of the cast iron block with the symphony of cams and valves chiming under the aluminum covers is worth the price of admission. Not like the hollow sewing machine noise many modern fours have. You begin looking for tunnels to drive add reverb. The Pinin engine compartment is different than any of the Fiats.

The unleaded only sticker at bottom of fuel door. If it's still there, might be original paint.​

The Fiat-->​

clip is small

  Pininfarina catalog shot.
 7 year rust warranty was the best of any brand in America! Fiats past rust issues had to be addressed. Rust? We don't rust.    ----->

I would love to find Pininfarina luggage.

Very rare.

Three Pininfarina photos: Leather seats, 2) new dash with added oil pressure gauge in binnacle, electric windows, digital stop watch, new 40 watt stereo in stack 3) carpeted back shelf replaces back seats. (an element missing in modern spiders)

  • Rust prevention.. if you read the "Fiat is out... " page you see why this is the 1st item mentioned. The new Pininfarina's offered 7 year rust thru warranty. Under coating and some have suggested new sheet metal.
  • 2 year unlimited mileage warranty. (in the UK the cars were sold as personal imports, warranty extra)
  • Remote side mirrors now coming out of the quarter windows ( these borrowed from Ferrari's 1970's parts bin. Same as used on a '70's 512BB model Ferrari)
  • Cromodora cast Aluminum 14" wheels (Cromodora was owned by Fiat but used on Fiat Dino's and Ferrari's, and Ferrari made Dino's.) These lighter wheels were 14' and now standard, not optional.
  • The new Dash. done to dress up the model but offered quite a few improvements in this one fairly noticable change. Your first clue it's a Pinin from 20 yards away.
  • better ventilation. finally front facing square vents, not just clam shells on the top of the dash.
  • digital clock (it was the 80's they just could not get over digital clocks yet.) plus this took the old clock off the drivers instrument panel and left room for the extra oil pressure gauge.
  • stop watch.. built into the clock.
  • Electric windows now standard and the controls are in the center of the new dash. When new, the Azzurra came with a little black turn crank in the glove compartment in case the electric windows stopped working. Simply pop out the round plastic inserts in the door to access the manual window gear and insert the "emergency"  crank if  / when needed. (see photo below)
  • courtesy lights in dash just under the dash logo + others.
  • Lights are now controlled with a small round switch on top of the steering column.             ---------------------------------------->
  • chimes to remind driver: keys still in ignition - when door is opened.
  • 40 watt Stereo for the "20 something" baby boomers who were raised on music. Clarion seemed to be the stereo of choice, there may be times when the dealer "upgraded" as well. Euro cars are shown with an added wood blank and no factory stereo... it was a dealer option.
  • The Fiat has an analog clock on the far right and the gas gauge on the far left.... On the Pinin the digital clock was moved into the center stack. Now there room for an extra gauge. (Oil pressure) So from the left the Veglia Boletti gauges are:  1) engine temp, 2) speedometer, 3) new Oil pressure in center,4)  rev counter, and far right is 5) gas gauge. (unleaded regular)              ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------>
  • Wiper is now 3 speed .......and kinda works now.
  • remote trunk release
  • Leather wrapped "sports"  steering wheel
  • Convertible top seals better and easier to secure.
  • rearranged trunk to get more room. with better upholstery and the battery and jack re-arranged. Now the battery is on the side not in the center.
  • better retractor for the seat belts.
  • Boot cover clip now on longer metal strip, harder to scratch paint (see photos far right) (warning: don't toss those boot covers on like a bed sheet or you might chip paint, take your time installing)
  • Crankshaft - I had to double check this but yes the Pinin Spiders (type DS) had a faster spinning crank shaft. A Fiat Shaft will not work. Pinin's rated at a top speed of 180km/h while the '79-82 fuel injected Fiats (type CSO) were rated at 175km per hour. And in european literature boost 3 extra horsepower at 105hp. Not a big deal but a slight improvement without making the engineers nuts. American specs were the same as the Euro cars it's just the American dealer brochures posted same specs as the out going Fiat spiders. 
  • Thats about 20 of the 100 improvements... but you get the idea, we'll ad more soon. There is many small details in the engine compartment as Pininfarina took over, like an extra black shield inside the belt cover adding extra protection for the rubber timing belt.

  • See the 85.5 link at bottom for the 40 or so MORE items added.

       Features found only on Pininfarinas:

                            In press releases Sergio Pininfarina claimed 100 new features not found on Fiat 124 Spider 
               Here are some Pininfarina Specs, the 85.5 model had another 70 added features, the 85.5 page for additional information.

Original junk in the trunk:  1) Pirelli Spare                   2) new Battery  ( moved to the right fender in the Pinins)    3) below the battery panel in the spare tire well is the jack. ​sourse of rattles! 

Look close, thats original carpet. (or just black) but no longer available.
​I wish modern Spiders had a shelf. Doesn't anybody carry groceries, play guitar or golf or do photography.... or have a briefcase?  Another reason to love the Pinin Spider.​ 

<------- Trunk Candy. Note original tool kit.
And factory original "Bertone" manual cover in lower right corner. 

Another small detail on factory original cars, a plug that hides the "emergency widow crank" if the electric window fails, pop this out and use the manual window crank supplied with the car. It's an odd black plastic handle with a gear sprocket at the end. Found also on Fiat made spiders with the electric window option installed. Many buyers loose this uncommon item. This is a clue to look for if you want to know if the interior is original.


Long tonneau cover clip ala Pininfarina->​

Close up of the remote mirrors coming out of the quarter windows.  No... it's not a Fiat.

  Looking more Ferrari, and in fact they were from the 80's  Ferrari parts bin. Plus - in truth - they were  more practical for the driver to adjust.

At a glance:  Pininfarina made Spiders have  "ears". Black  side mirrors  sticking out of the quarter windows.

The business end of many older Italian sports cars, electronics. Theses shots are of an untouched original car. USA made Azzurra's always had air conditioning..... not always true of European, or on the '85.5 

​Now 22 years later Fiat brings back the 124 Spider. Thank you Fiat!  The last year the '85 Fiat listed for $20K. Using an inflation calculator would be $47K in 2018 dollars.  But todays 124 Spider is not made in Italy by a famous designer but made in Japan by Mazda. Economy of scale will price it at $30K. Economy of scale may also give the new 124 a much more commonplace driving experience. I look forward to comparing but expect a more isolated driving experience with requisite creature comforts. 

This quote from a US catalog may be the most important thing to differentiate a 124 Pinin Spider from it's earlier sibling Fiat:  The Warranty

A very tidy re-built 5 speed transmission. Note the square badge Pinin sitting in background

It's rare to see Azzurra's even at Italian car shows. At this recent Italian car show there was 4 Ferrari 275 models and 20 Fiat or Alfa Romeo Spiders plus countless Lamborghini's, other Ferrari's, Maseratis, ISO's but alas... no Pininfarina Spiders to be seen. 

The Ferrari door handles cost Sergio over $70.00 each in '80... but ad style. These door handles can be found on earlier Spider 2000 models as well.

Never a better designed convertible top.   Simple one pull.. done. 

Below, an Original interior: 1) Stay in place straps are a factory detail in back shelf area. the manual claims is for holding the soft top in place when down.  In photo #2 is factory shift knob and 3 spoke steering wheel.    #3) note the silver trim on map pockets located on the kick panel, drivers side has this as well. . Only the floor mats are not original.

Gauge cluster expands with clock moved over to center

Do you see the engine stamp? Most likely the motor has not been scrubbed to death but is honestly original.

Ferrari 275GTS shown

These shots are from the American Azzurra one page catalog. The photos below are of the only color combo's offered by iAi.  The classic combo is the catalog shot. Red  with Tan Beige Italian leather.

​Looks good on Ferrari too​

The horn button is no longer F for Fiat. It's for the house of Farina.

This is what an original Pininfarina Azzurra motor looks like. This one has been cleaned but not tampered with. Note the aged original braided hoses and electrical connections .

It's Crazy to compare but...​

The Pininfarina 124 ​-vs- The Ferrari 275GTS

    Pininfarina       ---------------        Ferrari

 Wheelbase:  2280mm(89inch)   ------    2400mm (94inch)

Length:  4140mm (13.7Ft)    -------------- 4350mm (14.3ft)

 Height: 1220mm (48 .1inches) ------ 1250mm (49.7 inches)

Weight: 2358 pounds  ------------------    2539 pound

 Motor: 1995cc Straight 4 DOHC --------- 3286cc V-12 SOHC

Power: 107 bph @5000 RPM    ----------- 256 bhp @7000rpm

 Standing 1/4 mile:  18.0 Sec  ------------ 15.7 sec

 Max speed :  107 mph -------------------- 241 mph

 Steering:  worm & roller (until 85.5) ---- worm and roller

   Tires:  Pirelli- R14 ---------    same R14 but not same tire

         Brake diameter:  227mm     ---------   279 mm 

          Four Wheel disc brakes standard in both cars

       5 speed manual transmission standard in both cars


 Ferrari's were 4 times the money, new, as the 124 Spider in any given period..... the Pinin is just a simple pretty country  cousin.

Many enthusiasts  are unleashing the Lampredi motors with hotter cams and better airflow. This makes the little cousin muscle up a bit. Quite a treat to drive. Of course the Ferrari 275 was a direct  descendant of F1 racing, son of Le Mans if you will. The Pininfarina was just the pretty country cousin, simpler, less refined. But after some sprucing up A Pinin Spyder can be  a real knockout. There is a reason that Fiat sold 200,000 copies. A spirited sexy little number with Italian supermodel DNA.

 1960's Ferrari's designed by Pininfarina are the worlds most desirable automobile sculpture, millions of dollars paid each year and still rising. The restoration houses have been putting their children thru nice colleges by  transforming these illusive old racing machines, for hallucinatory buyers worldwide. With more on the way!

 The Azzurra's day in the sun is just beginning. Stay tuned, as more people realize they were a better car than the fiat by design.  These last of the 124 Spiders were sold - and loved - world wide. Read our "Fiat is out.... Pinin is in" below and notice some of the press releases of the day from Sergio Pininfarina and iAi distribution.  He was not just "taking over for Fiat"... he was clearly more serious given the family name on the hood badge. The dealers I've spoken to that sold the Pininfarina Azzurra's back in the day had all told me: what sold the cars was the Ferrari connection. The buyers - men and women - wanted a baby Ferrari... And they got it.