The Car Corner2019-11-27T13:33:33-05:00



Fiat 124 Spider, 1979

The Fiat 124 Spider is beloved among Euro roadster enthusiasts. Offering more mechanically sound engineering than their British counterparts of the same time period, the 124 Spider is chic, comfortable and fun to drive. The current models are produced by the now Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles and known as the Fiat 124 Spider “Abarth”. But as any fan of Italian sports cars will tell you, we look to the original models for true inspiration.

Although often considered a gateway drug into other Italian cars of far reaching price points, 124 Spider are easy to come by affordably, and not a drain to maintain. The 124 Spider was in production from 1966-1982 and designed by notable American-born auto designer Tom Tjaarda. The Spider was created with the American market in mind, and about 75% of the roughly 200,000 produced were exported to North America.

For true motorheads, the 124 Spider’s real boasting points come from its twin-cam four cylinder engine and rev-happy five speed manual transmission. Spider coasts like a dream, sailing around corners with a certain glide not found in modern automobiles. The Fiat moniker of “Fix-It-Again-Tony” is not entirely deserved in this model, as even today parts for the 124 are relatively easy to come by and not complicated to install.

The later years saw a problematic introduction of a Turbo model, which are best avoided for overall unreliability. The biggest issue will of course be rust, the prime crucifier of any older car. Still, with a little persistence, a motivated buyer should be able to find a sound example for < $10,000, although prices are on the uptick. This is a car for cruising, perfect for country northwest corner roads.

The Car of the Week is sponsored by Ruge’s.




When it comes time to purchase a new vehicle, it has become easier than ever before to gather information before even stepping foot into a dealership. This can be both helpful and overwhelming. It may seem like there are hundreds of cars, trucks, SUVs, and crossovers to choose from – and that’s because there are! There are also hundreds of websites that will claim to be the authority on what’s best. The recipe for success, however, is a combination of doing some online homework and going to a dealer and driving one for yourself.

Let’s say you think you might want a Chevy Silverado pickup. I’d suggest the following: and YouTube will have plenty of photos, videos, and spec sheets. This will help you get familiar with what’s available and what might meet your needs. Websites like and will show you both new and used vehicles near you, so you can get all of your options in one place. Kelley Blue Book is a good place to get an idea on trade-in value if you are considering trading in your current vehicle. Keep in mind the dealer will evaluate your trade based on condition and the local market at the time, but it’s a great point of reference. Then, head on over to your local dealer’s website to see what they have. You can even use their payment calculators to get a buy or lease payment range. You should also look at their reviews on social media to make sure you’ll be well taken care of. You’re ready to look at real trucks, walk around them, sit in them, and drive them! Now you’re an educated buyer which helps you and the dealer to get you where you want to be. Congratulations!

Patrick Downes
Ruge’s Chevrolet, Millbrook, NY.

August 10th, 2019|Car Advice|