Mk4 v THe Fiat 124 Spider

Which do you think is the better car? The MX5 or the Fiat Spider?

Paul Roddison knows a lot about the MK4 ( and is currently considering entering the Guinness World Record Book for breaking the most MK4 gear boxes in one year !!) he will put a Spider on his ramps and compare and contrast the two cars.

Tea, Coffee and Buscuits at 6pm for a 6:30 kick off

Tables have been booked at The Indus Restaurant on Attercliffe Road after the event, they do an excellent ‘all you can eat buffet’ for £10.00.

The event is open to all, members, non members, MX5 Owners, Fiat Spider Owners, MX5Nutz members

My thanks to Greg Winter the AC from Lincs who has kindly volunteered to bring his Spider across

Who is up for it?

PS I have just checked the long distance weather forcast Keith, snow is not likely that night !!

I can confirm the same team who miss all the bits on the MX5 stonechip application miss the same areas on the Fiat/Abrath.

OTOH Paul advised that he thought the underside of the Mk4 was reasonably well protected.

Better car?

If anything, I’d prefer that we didn’t even go there.

Both are the same core car underneath.  The key differences are the looks (always a personal thing) and the choice of whether you’d prefer naturally aspirated or turbocharged.

Strikes me that we should applaud the fact that we get the choice.  After all, there’s no many other cars that give us such options.

I agree, but I didn’t get the impression that is the purpose.  Although the Fiat’s gearbox might be stronger!

As far as I’m concerned, it’s an MX-5; but in addition to engine, overall reduction ratios, and cosmetic differences I believe the suspension set up is different too and even on paper, looking at in-gear acceleration, it looks a very different car to drive.

I took a view last year that I preferred the non-turbo engine of the 1.5 and a bit more cog-swapping, but that might change in future.  I also quite like the retro looks of the Fiat, despite the daft ‘spectacle’ DRLs.

One big plus for the Fiat is the much bigger range of colours and options. Just for fun I configured one in Magnetic Bronze with Tobacco leather interior. Looks the dog’s to me and I’d take that over Soulless Red. But hey, that’s just my personal, very subjective view…

Sounds like some people don’t want to fine out which car is the best!!! #headinsand

On looks alone i would definitely go for the fiat 

as for the rest im sure an update after said event would hopefully find its way on to this thread 

I remember someone (?) saying about the ND 2.0l - “would I let my wife drive one…I sold my road car” and the 1.5l - “better things to spend my money on” so a totally unbiased result is a sure thing then.

There is an option of an auto gearbox on the Fiat 124 convertable which the Mazda does not have unless you buy an RF which I do not like. 

There is a really nice 124 auto for sale at Barnes Guildford 

strange how many mk 3 owners don’t like the mk 4 !! Mmmmm not green eyed syndrome ?

Well ,here’s my take . The biggest problem I have with the 124 is that it is yet another example of the recent tendency of manufacturers to act as tribute acts to themselves by (retch ) 're-imagining ’ (retch again ) ‘iconic ’ models from its back catalogue . It’s lazy , it’s cynical and it doesn’t work - look at the exquisite lines of an original 124 Spider (and the coupe was even better ) and compare it to the lardarse current version. It isn’t just Fiat- see also Ford GT (the GT40 which ate all the pies) and recent reworks of Dodge Charger and Ford Mustang - both huge , and both looking like escapees from a kids’ cartoon.

Add in a turbo engine - so just like every shopping car then- an absurd exhaust note that sounds like farting in the bath and 3 exhaust pipes too many and no, I ain’t a fan.

At least Mazda had the corporate cojones to make a smaller , lighter car than its predecessor , they kept a revvy n/a engine and they styled the car so it doesn’t even remotely resemble its earlier iterations. There might be a hint of BMW Z , Jaguar F Type and (most of all ) TVR Tamora, and the view from the driving seat gives and echo of a '68 C3 Corvette - or maybe even a Fiat Dino Spider. But that’s no disgrace …

I forget the percentages but I seem to remember that something like 4/5 of UK NC are PRHT.  The ND (as yet) is not, and the beautiful RF still has the bits sticking up when the panel is hid.  One of the reasons SWMBO definitely did not want an ND was the lack of PRHT, even though she very much liked the look of the ND and RF.  This could be one of the factors for so many others staying with the NC.

I very much preferred the way the 2l ND drove to the 1.5l, the power was always there when I needed it, it was great!  And the extra gear higher than top in my NC made the motorway a relaxed pleasure.  Around the same hilly twisty route the 1.5 occasionally caught me out and I found I needed to drop not one gear but two or three, but again returning on the motorway it was just as good.

Alas, the cramped cabin in the ND did not fit me (rapid back ache), especially with the roof closed (rubbing the thin patch thinner), and it did not have the PRHT, and it did not have the right colours for SWMBO.

I only did about twenty-five miles in each (with the young salesman encouraging me to give it the welly), but it was enough to appreciate what a superb little car the ND is, and also that it was not for me. 

We bought a Mazda3 instead, and kept the NC.

Add lightness - complex folding roofs do the opposite !

Quite right!  I agree.

But how many people consider the absolute limits of lightness (apart from a few like Colin Chapman) when also thinking about security, ease of use (just push a couple of buttons), and ease of cleaning?

There is one main reason I’ve not even thought about test driving the new 124; it has a turbo. 

And then if it has the ND cabin and similar seats, it will probably not fit me.


I never did until I owned a Caterham; mine was far from the lightest Seven around as I normally carried a spare wheel , and had screen , heater etc but the difference even a lightweight passenger made was staggering - braking distances increased very noticeably and the general feel was dulled from one up. It was an instructive lesson in physics . As Colin Chapman said - 'more power makes you faster down the straights but less weight makes you faster everywhere '.

Which is the best? This is so subjective. One mans cup of tea etc. etc. If you need to know, try them both and decide which suits you the best, in which case it probably is the best for you . We have different styles of driving, different aesthetic tastes, different budgets etc. but we all like lightweight 2 seater sports cars.

So if I buy a 124 will I still be welcome at the national rally or will I have to park away  from the action likewise can I still go to regional events.

Possibly not