The first car that I bought as a teenager that wasn’t an ex-family set of wheels was a metallic blue Fiat 124 Sport Coupe, with an oh-so-Seventies white vinyl interior. I bought it because it was the closest thing I could find on the market to a Lancia Fulvia. I knew of that car because of a diecast that my Dad had brought back from Europe, covered in simulated snow, with rally tires fitted and a roof rack that carried a set of slicks. My own 124 wore its own roof rack, although this one was typically used to carry skis. It was only with me for a short period of time, in which I learned how to change a lower ball joint at the side of the road, among other neat tricks. Like most Italian cars of the era on Canadian roads during that time, rust had had its way with my Coupe and the left rear trailing arm pulled out of the floor while exiting an off ramp at speed and sending me spinning into a field. So much for my experience with foreign sports cars!
A neighbour had a super cool Fiat x/19 and years later I would crew for a team that raced a Fiat 124 Special, becoming rather adept at rebuilding twin cam cylinder heads along the way. These days, I have friends who vintage race a variety of twin-cam Fiats. You might say that while I have never owned another, old Italian cars have made their impact.
Brit Jamie Martin, has a similar obsession, except that he has made the restoration and sale of old Fiat and Lancia rally cars his trade, after buying and selling a Fulvia Group 4 rally car. Our friends at /DRIVE recently visited with Martin at his shop in the U.K. to check out a few of his creations, including a crazy X/19 Group 4 tribute car that looks simply evil.
This guy would fit in our circle of friends!