elegant, comfortable… but not sporty
The story begins in 1966 when the Turin-based manufacturer replaced its 1500 saloon with the new 124, a square-shaped engine in keeping with the style of the time. The 124 is a well-thought-out product that uses proven solutions: front engine and propulsion with rigid axles.
The saloon was successful and was awarded the title of car of the year in 1967. Despite everything, the 124 was modest and Fiat management rejected the product as an estate, a coupé and a spider. The Spider was entrusted with the design of Pininfarina while the coupé was signed by the Centro Stile interior designed by Mario Boano.
Almost nothing in common with the sedan
A little over fifty years ago, car manufacturers could, in parallel ranges, produce cars that borrowed nothing from others. The 124 coupé had its own bodywork and retained only its wheelbase and suspensions from the saloon.
With its refined and stretched grille, its round headlights and its small indicators, the 124 coupé draws on stylistic ideas found on the Maranello side.
On the other hand, with its sleek lines and large polished surfaces, the 124 coupé appeals to fathers who see it as a sporty car capable of transporting the family with a clear conscience.
Rejected a coupe
In 1967, the coupé was an ingenious combination of elegance and sportiness. It is available in 3 series: AC, BC and CC types.
The first series, referenced under the VIN code: ZFA124AC, was launched at the Geneva Motor Show, alongside the station wagon. The 124, called the Sport Coupé, was immediately met with great commercial success culminating in 113,000 sales.
Ironically, the tight selling price (14,000 francs) and the great commercial success of this model make the owners consider it as a standard car and keep it for a very long time. This is now very rare.
A dream engine
The engine of the coupé (and the spider) has nothing to do with the sedan’s block and its 60 hp. Under the hood is a 1.4L 4-cylinder engine with a double overhead camshaft. It is mated to a 4-speed or five-speed gearbox as an option. Power is established at 90 hp.
It was the work of Aurelio Lampredi, a former Ferrari engineer. The engine is found specifically in the Lancia Delta Integrale. Among the coupé’s mechanical options were four disc brakes, two anti-roll bars and, from 1968, a Panhard bar to provide neutral handling.
New version in 1969
From 1969, at the Turin Motor Show, the coupe – which was successful – received a major restyling; for the sake of standardization in the Dino Coupé, the front end has been redesigned: four headlamps, two of which are iodine, are integrated into a radiator grille that runs the width of the car.
The rear receives wider lights but the revolution is under the hood: a 1.6 l block arrives to support the 1.4 l of 90 hp. It delivers 110 hp for a top speed of 180 km/h.
The dashboard, which accommodates the clock, has a matte color instead of faux wood to house the instruments; the seats are covered in fabric instead of leatherette.
Fiat targets families by targeting comfort at the expense of handling. With its 98,000 copies, this “BC” version is the most sought after in the collection today.
Third version in 1972
In August 1972, the third generation of the 124 Coupé called the CC was presented; it went on sale in January 1973. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the most elegant of developments.
If the body does not change, it is again the front face that receives a grille in three elements with a rectangular central part in relief.
The rear has also been revised with a lower trunk opening. The interior uses luxurious velvet upholstery of very high quality. No doubt, the move upmarket is assumed.
End of career with SEAT
The Fiat Coupe belongs to the category of luxury coupes. With 1.6 l and 1.8 l engines from the Fiat 132, the Coupé Sport was twice the price of the first series.
What is lost in charm is gained in modernity. In Spain, Fiat subsidiary SEAT produces the BC and CC series as the SEAT 124 Sport Coupé for the Spanish market.
In 1970, it was sold with 1.6 l of 110 hp then, in 1973, it was the CC series identical to the Italian original sold with 1.8 l of 118 hp. 23,611 copies will be sold. Total production reached 299,686 coupés.