Table of Contents
August 20, 2003: It's Alive!
13-December-2002: Project Introduction
I'm getting all primed to head down to my parents house in Medford to get my new project car! A few months back, my mother traded her Subie Wagon in on a new Miata, leaving the family roadster up for grabs. She kindly gave it to me, knowing I would continue to enjoy it. This particular car has a special attachment to our family, as it was originally sold new in 1968 by my stepdad - Jack Ashcraft - back when he owned Pacific Motor Imports, a Saab, Fiat, Citroen dealership in San Luis Obispo, CA. The car was originally painted a baby blue, and was repainted a slightly lighter shade of the same color some time ago. About 10 or 12 years ago my mom was itching to get a small, fun convertible. We began the hunt for a Fiat 124 Spider, and came across this car. Sure enough, the original paper work showed that this was one of the first 124 Spiders Jack sold. Pretty amazing. It has been a summer-only car since then, but was parked this past summer due to some lower-end engine sounds.
Well, knowing that I don't really need another normal daily driver (I already have the Subie 2.5RS, CRX Si, my hot rod Yugo, and the little Dodge Rampage pickup) I decided I wanted to do more than simply rebuild an engine and get it running again. I kicked around the idea of doing some bodywork and painting the car, to bring it back up to respectable condition. In addition, I thought it would be a blast to do a few hot rod tricks and autocross the car at local Eugene, OR EESCC events. So, I'm carefully planning to build the car to fit the CSP ruleset.
To start off with, I researched what would be the best engine to use. I had my choice of several 1,438cc engines, one 1,608cc engine, and a couple 1,995cc engines. Since you can't change the cams in street prepared, I thought the 1,608cc would provide the best combintation of power and torque. The later engines have more torque, but are saddled by the U.S. spec cams, which are pretty mild.
I'm going to start hunting around for some hot rod parts this winter. To keep things simple, I intend to run a bigger 2-bbl Weber and concentrate on getting the suspension sorted. I would like to find some stiffer springs, some Konis, and perhaps a larger front anti-roll bar. I'll also be trying to source some wider Fiat-specific - 4x98mm bolt pattern 13-inch wheels so I can fit some decent autocross tires on it. a cheap solution may be just to install some used 205/60-13 Kumho on the 2000 Spider aluminum wheels mounted on the car. Anyways, here a few photos of the car from several years back:
|Early 124 Spiders are a rare find these days. You can tell this is an early car by its small chrome bumpers, smooth hood - later cars had twin bumps on the hood to clear the taller engines - and the small, round marker lamps.|
|Overall the car is very good shape, with no rust. The convertible top was replaced just before we got the car, and it has been garaged since then. There is a small dent in the leading edge of the hood, and it looks like the left rear fender flare has had a few altercations.|
|We added the luggage rack to the trunk lid, which I'll probably remove. The tail lights are also smaller on the early cars. I have not decided if I'm going to paint it the original baby blue color, or do something fun with it. I was thinking of painting it white and doing a fun Italian Red/Green racing stripe and number circle arangement. I'll have plenty of time to decide when I'm spending countless hours in the garage sanding!|