The result of a partnership with Mazda, the Fiat 124 Spider takes the basic ingredients of the now-iconic Mazda MX5/Miata, and creates a retro-inspired nod to the 1966 Pininfarina-designed Spider.
Enter a caption (optional)
1) The materials want to convey that this is a glamorous boulevard cruiser: brushed Aluminum on the windshield and seat-backs, and rich tan leather, differentiate it from its more sport-focused Mazda sibling, and the Abarth version.
2) Front face graphics reference the original car with almond-headlamps and additional light features cut into the fender; the result perhaps lacks the slim elegance of the early car but look fresh, contemporary.
3) Rear-end is higher-set than the original car, likely due to crash regulations and the requirement of improved aerodynamics.
4) Classic 124 character lines abound: the kick-up around the door handles, the twin hood-bulges for example, give the 124a generous proportion and make the car appear bigger, more mature than its Mazda twin.
5) Slightly crude lower sill additions do their best to add weight to the Fiat's lower body. A shame, as the original car had a characteristic chrome sill strip that lifted the visual mass.
It's a difficult brief to take an existing platform and design a suitably modern take on a much-loved classic, but Fiat have successfully given the 124 a very different character to the Mazda Miata. It feels grown up, a more mature design than the Mazda—whether that's what the market wants from a compact sports-car will be a key question.
Ed Stubbs is a Senior Lecturer in Automotive + Transport Design in the UK tasked with nurturing tomorrow's superstar-designers to embrace the challenge of future mobility. He was previously employed at Nissan/Infiniti European Design studio, Ford in Design + Product Innovation, Bertrandt and Cooper Standard Auto. You can read more from Ed on his blog at faced.wordpress.com