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New sports car brings back old name

by Bill Cawthon on

What was once to be an Alfa Romeo will now be a Fiat — the Fiat 124, according to Alfa CEO Harald Wester and filings with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office.

Two trademark applications, one for “Fiat 124” and one for “Fiat 124 Spider” were filed by Fiat Group Marketing and Corporate Communication S.p.A. of Turin, Italy.


According to Italian financial newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, Wester said the new front-engined, rear-wheel-drive sports car that was to be jointly developed for Mazda and Alfa Romeo wasn’t going to be an Alfa any more, confirming rumors that had been making the rounds for several months. The original rumors around the car had it pegged as a Fiat, as well. A version of the car will also be the next-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata.

Based on the trademark filings, there will be two versions, a coupe and a roadster (“Spider”).

The Mario Boano-styled 124 Coupe and the Tom Tjaarda (Pininfarina)-styled 124 Spider were sold from the late 1960s to the early 1980s, first by Fiat, and then, briefly, by Pininfarina.

The new 124s won’t be built in Turin; following the original plan, both the coupe and the roadster will be built by Mazda in Hiroshima, Japan.

While the Fiats and Mazdas will share a platform, they will have distinct styling, and each car will use its own company’s powertrains. This will help keep the two well distinguished from each other, and may presage other partnerships between the companies.

What goes to Fiat can also go to Abarth, for more power and tighter tuning.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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