Sunday, May 10, 2020

My 124 Spider's history

The first owners of my elegant white 124 convertible were  GERTRUDE and MANFORD WETZEL  who lived in 1979 at the time of their 124 Spider purchase at  1760 Avenida del Mundo #803  in Coronado, a luxurious  suburb of San Diego  California.  
From  their wonderful apartment  right at the beach, they had a  spectacular view  over the  Pacific Ocean .   

According to the "Fiat Owners Service Book 1979",   an additional all inclusive note  and  the radio warranty,  the car was bought by the Wetzel couple on February 19, 1979 at  Harrison Motor Inc.  located at 141 Broadway in Chula Vista ( San Diego ).

Manford - graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at  West Point  -  had as a  U.S. Air Force Colonel  an impressive Air Force career.  As a bomber pilot in WWII  he got seriously injured and became in later years a 'Disabled American Veteran', witnessing  a decal  that is still on my Spider's side window. 
Due to cardiac problems he died on October 29, 1980, so he drove his beloved Spider only for one and a half year.  After his death,  Manford was reburied in the sacred military grounds of West Point as a token of recognition of his great Air Force career. 

For pure sentimental reasons,  Gertrude  kept "his" car in  her luxurious apartment house  with a climatological conditioned garage for about 16 years.  And ... she did not drive the car for 1 single mile in all those years !

When Gertrude died in 1992, her daughter Patricia sold ( most probably in 1995 ) the Spider from the Wetzel family to Jonathan Young Lee, living at that time at 11355, Affinity Court #184 in North-San Diego.  And he sold the car on February 9, 1996 ( through car dealer  Mossy Nissan Inc.  at Escondido, Cal. ) and  Neil Motors ( now Automaxx )  located at 905 Hoover Avenue in National City, San Diego to  Joseph Motor Imports (non existent anymore)  at 1531 National City Boulevard, also in National City, San Diego.  

Short after this last event, the Fiat Spider was discovered by mere accident by a  Dutch friend of mine  who was driving around and visiting a large number of car dealers in and around San Diego in search of some Ford Mustangs for export to Europe. 
His attention was drawn by a sharp flash of sunlight on a white convertible while he was driving along one of the uncountable number of car dealers in and around San Diego. 

After a curious, closer look and inspection he could not deny nor resist  the perfect state  of the convertible and decided to buy it  ( paid cash at the backseat of his rental car )  and have it shipped to Holland, because my friend knew that this convertible would be just the convertible I was looking for. 

However, before lading by the  shipping company AFL  a number of  registration documents and  formalities  needed to be complied with.  AFL made for insurance reasons a report  before entering the ship in a large wooden crate. Here  in front of the shipping company waiting for embarkation to Rotterdam at  the Chula Vista harbor wharf.

As the last person in this line, I bought the car from my friend short after it arrived in the harbor of Rotterdam, Holland.

Because the first owner's name was Manford ( an Americanization of the name Manfred ) Wetzel, I went in search on the internet of the family name Wetzel in and around San Diego. To my great astonishment I found hundreds equal family names !
On the basis of zip codes of the many cities and suburbs around San Diego, and quarters swallowed down by the metropolis  (like the outskirts Coronado, Chula Vista and National City)  I filtered these addresses on their postal codes and left over about 24 Wetzel addresses that appeared to be presumable that there were living persons, who possibly could tell me something more about the subjects of my search: Manford and Gertrude Wetzel.

In a letter stating who I am and what the reason was of my letter and to whom I was in search of, I wrote to these 24 Wetzels in the San Diego area by post. Subsequently I received three replies ( all others were indifferent to my letter and did not react ): two did not know the existence of any Manford Wetzel and one was positive.

The positive reaction was from a man called Tony Wetzel , who wrote that Manford and Gertrude were his uncle and aunt, but regrettably both passed away some years ago.
Through a central registration office of the California Death Records I actually found online the death certificates with some additional personal data of the deceased  Manford  and Gertrude. 

Tony Wetzel informed me also, that Manford had a son Robert who was killed in an aircraft accident in 1959 and a daughter Pat ( or Patricia ), who lives in San Antonio, Texas, where her husband, Major David G. Wood, is stationed with the U.S. Air Force as well.

Together with Tony Wetzel's letter was a reprint of  Manford Wetzel's obituary  written by Manford's brother,  Lieutenant General Emery S. Wetzel,  United States Air Force, informing me about more details of the very first owner of my 124 Spider. 

My Spider is still   looking very good  with her ( ! ) original first white car lacquer !

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Still frequented.....

Despite the closing of my Fiat 124 Spider website, I observe every week an increasing (triple and quadruple) number of visits and visitors to my site notably, from the US and from Italy. Thank you for your much appreciated support at all time.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

End of my Fiat 124 Spider wanderings

My dear Fiat 124 Spider enthusiasts and readers worldwide !
After setting up the Fiat 124 Spider website in 2003
and this blog in July 2012, I am ending my activities 
referring to this blog, to the unique Fiat 124 Spider and to its designer.
Thanks for your frequent visits and attention over all those years.
With my best regards,

I will try to safeguard online all information on this blog to serve as a 124 Spider 
consulting and information source for present day and future Fiat 124 Spider lovers.
Concerned information will be announced here in due time.


Mijn beste Fiat 124 Spider enthousiastelingen en lezers wereldwijd ! 

Na het opzetten van de Fiat124 Spider website in 2003 
en deze blog in juli 2012, beëindig ik mijn activiteiten 
met betrekking tot deze blog, tot de unieke Fiat 124 Spider en tot zijn ontwerper. 

Dank voor jullie vele bezoeken en de genoten aandacht gedurende al die jaren. 
Met hartelijke groet, 

Ik zal proberen  online alle informatie van deze blog als een 124 Spider informatie-

bron veilig te stellen voor hedendaagse en toekomstige Fiat 124 Spider liefhebbers.
Desbetreffende informatie zal te zijner tijd hier worden vermeld.


Sunday, August 19, 2018

Pininfarina Study: A Super Yacht For The Road

As customers of high-end cars continue to demand more exclusivity, more performance and greater luxury, car makers and design firms are being forced to break free from the traditional mold and explore new niches.

 Mercedes-Maybach did just that last year by releasing the 6 Concept, a ginormous two-door coupe fit for a Russian oligarch. While we don’t yet know if that car will reach production, it has inspired artist Jinwook Jeong to render a similar vehicle but this time from famed Italian design house Pininfarina.

 Essentially a super yacht for the road, the Pininfarina Vision Concept has a similar shape to the Maybach courtesy of its impossibly-long hood, short front overhang, streamlined roof and elongated rear. However, unlike the Maybach which prioritizes a simple design fitting for a German company, the Pininfarina’s design is more complex and plays host to many curves, character lines and intakes that are purely there for aesthetics.

As impressive as the design is, such a vehicle from Pininfarina is unlikely to ever reach the market. However, we might get to see what a Pininfarina-designed all-electric Mahindra supercar could look like in the not too distant future.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Gort across the ( Italian ) border

After award-winning wines from his own French vineyard, various books about life in France and television programs about La Douce France, the Dutchman Ilja Gort leaves his beloved France and tests his luck across the border. In a series of television programs and/or YouTube movies (in Dutch), Ilja goes in search of the secret of 'La dolce vita', the sweet life. With his cream-colored open Fiat 124 Spider he takes the viewer to a number of beautiful and surprising places in Italy.

Ilja Gort in Italy    11 mei 2018    18 mei 2018    18 mei 2018    25 mei 2018    1 juni 2018    8 juni 2018    8 juni 2018


Na prijswinnende wijnen van zijn eigen Franse wijngaard, diverse boeken over het leven in Frankrijk en televisieprogramma's over La Douce France, verlaat Ilja Gort zijn geliefde Frankrijk en beproeft zijn geluk over de grens. In een serie televisieprogramma in 2017 en 2018 en YouTube filmpjes (in het Nederlands) gaat Ilja Gort op zoek naar het geheim van 'La dolce vita', het zoete leven. Met zijn open crème-kleurige Fiat 124 Spider neemt hij de kijker mee naar een aantal mooie en verrassende plekjes van Italië.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Tips for a flawless road trip

1. A road trip without final destination requires an absolute minimum of organization. You do not want to drive on busy four-lane highways for days, so use a good road map on which you can search for a direction and smaller, more scenic roads. An end goal can safely be snowed under by what happens to be on your way.

2. A GPS or Waze navigation is out of the question. GPS's have the annoying feature of always finding the fastest and therefore often the most boring route. The most beautiful routes usually require a detour. Or as Michelin puts it: vaut le detour. So: always use road maps. The Michelin cards always indicate scenic drives in green print.

3. Use the right vehicle. Those who say road trip immediately think of a red Mustang or shiny Harley. Looks great, of course, but be realistic about your means of transport. Riding more than 5,000 km on a chopper is not easy even for experienced motorcyclists, in the first place because they are not the most comfortable engines for long journeys, but it also requires a very different concentration on the road. The weather can be a serious spoiler and you are very limited in your baggage options, unless you do not mind spending a few hours in a laundry. The ideal car for a road trip is comfortable, and certainly had a check or maintenance before the trip.

4. Be realistic. Do not plan trips of more than 450 kilometers per day. That is the absolute maximum. Finally, you want to see and experience something on the road and after three days you do not want to crawl out of your car with a completely blocked back. Avoid big cities during rush hours. If you want to make long road trips, build in rest days: days when you do everything except driving.

5. What should not be missed on every road trip: the correct road maps, (international) driving license, mouth stock (nuts, fruit, energy bars ...), sufficient water, flashlight, suntan cream, sunglasses, rain clothing, toilet paper, possibly camping equipment, plastic bag keep track of your trash and your mobile with the emergency numbers and a number of the regional car emergency service.

6. You can choose to add a goal to your road trip. Take an iconic route along olive- and vineyards, characteristic small villages or a historical route. A trip with your son or daughter who turned 18. Or send your partner on an all-inclusive vacation to Greece or Turkey and make the road trip just on your own. Traveling as a couple, people hardly will make contact with you. You'll be surprised how many contacts with locals you'll have when you travel just on your own. 

7. Provide music. On Spotify you find great road song playlists that provide your road trip with the right soundtracks. A stack of CDs or even cassette tapes in an oldtimer can of course also be used.

Enjoy your trip ! 


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Remarkably undiscovered destinations

It's perhaps no great shock that an Italian region has been named the most exciting European destination for 2018. But the region in question may well come as a surprise.

Sidestepping the likes of Tuscany, Campania and The Veneto, Emilia-Romagna took first place on Lonely Planet's Best in Europe 2018 list.
While Lonely Planet's annual list is usually made up of exciting and underrated European destinations, the issue of "mass tourism" has been taken into account this time, meaning the spotlight is focused on lesser-visited regions and hidden gems around the continent.

"Whether you're looking for a cultural city break, spectacular scenery or a buzzing foodie destination, there is something for every taste.
"You can find all of these things in Italy's Emilia-Romagna region, which flies under the radar compared to some of Italy's bigger hitting destinations, while the other picks showcase some of the places that in-the-know European travelers are excited about right now."

The Spanish region of Cantabria and Friesland in the Netherlands are also featured in this list, which has been compiled by Lonely Planet's European experts in an effort to inspire travelers to discover some of the lesser-visited regions and alternative city breaks beyond the usual suspects in Europe.

Lonely Planet's Best in Europe 2018:
1. Emilia-Romagna, Italy
2. Cantabria, Spain
3. Friesland, the Netherlands  (  find my favorite Friesland driving roads  here  )
4. Kosovo
5. Provence, France
6. Dundee, Scotland
7. Small Cyclades, Greece
8. Vilnius, Lithuania
9. Vipava Valley, Slovenia
10. Tirana, Albania

Source: Tamara Hardingham-Gill, CNN

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

"Find us ( nice! ) on Facebook"

Saw a workshop ad in a well-known Fiat Spider magazine recently with the additional text:
"Find us nice on Facebook" !  What first crossed my mind when I read this? Pathetic !

Judge me on my performance, my achievements, my merit, my craftmanship, my professional skill and my expertise!
Why should I find you nice.....?

A sad victim of social media, hysteric social media madness.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Favorite driving roads - part 3 - b

A few years ago I returned to this wonderful Moselle region again with my Spider and made during this tour a lot of pictures.

Back home I played with some photographic software and drew up a small picture story of just 5 simple still pictures of three adjacent castles in the region ( Cochem Castle, Thurant Castle and Eltz Castle ) that is giving the impression of a moving animation or video movie. only consists of 5 simple still pictures ! A suggestion for a nice animation of your Spider?

Click  here  and see what can be made of a few simple photos.


Een aantal jaren geleden ben ik opnieuw naar dit prachtige gebied met mijn Spider gereden. En tijdens die trip maakte ik veel foto's.
Gewoon simpele plaatjes....

Eenmaal thuis en spelend met wat software maakte ik van 5 hele gewone stilstaande foto's van drie bij elkaar in de buurt liggende burchten uit mijn foto-serie ( Burg Cochem, Burg Thurant en Burg Eltz ) een kort beeldverhaaltje dat de indruk geeft van een "bewegende" animatie of een video-filmpje. 'n Idee voor een fraaie animatie van je Spider?

Klik  hier  en bekijk hoe deze simpele foto's tot leven komen.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Favorite driving roads - part 3 - a

There’s a special joy that comes from driving a topless convertible, but the right road can take the experience to a whole new level. Whether you are into the lifestyle for the sake of driving, wrenching, or restoration, this time I highlight a wonderful pavement I daydream of experiencing in the car I love.

Where? Germany.
Region? A region worthwhile discovering in an open convertible, located in the wonderful and by car most accessible vineyard landscape along the banks of the Moselle river, located in the triangle Cochem, Trier and Sankt Goar (Loreley at the Rhine).

Far? No, not too far: 370 kilometres from Utrecht from the centre of our country.

A most recommendable 124-Spider-drive crossing all the way through the east part of Belgium, along the city of Wittlich ending at the small, romantic wine village of Enkirch, where time has stood still.

Click  here  for a sweet memory tour that I organised in 2005 in this wonderful vineyard landscape with all these great panoramas.  

This video presentation is NOT accessible or visible publicly, only through this Spidersweb channel.  Subtitle text in Dutch.


Rijden in een open cabrio geeft een geweldige kick, maar een mooie route en de juiste weg kunnen dat gevoel enorm versterken. Of je nu in een blits-auto rijdt, in een "sleutelaar" of in een restauratie-project, dat doet er niet zoveel toe wanneer ik je "meeneem" op een paar prachtige ritten en routes in jouw eigen droomauto.

Waar? Duitsland.
Streek? Een gebied dat zeer de moeite waard is om in je open cabrio op je eigen wijze te ontdekken: gelegen in het prachtige, met de auto zeer bereikbare landschap langs de oevers van de rivier de Moezel, gelegen in de driehoek Cochem, Trier en Sankt Goar ( bij de Lorelei aan de Rijn ).

Ver? Nee, niet zo ver: 370 kilometer van Utrecht, vanaf het centrum van ons land.

Een bijzonder aanbevelenswaardige 124-Spider-route dat je door het oostelijk deel van België voert, langs de stad Wittlich en eindigt in het kleine romantische dorp Enkirch, waar de tijd heeft stilgestaan.
Enkirch is een schilderachtig wijnstadje met historisch centrum, romantische vakwerkhuizen en eeuwenoude wijn-landgoederen bekend als "Schatzkammer rheinischer Baukunst".
De hellingen rond dit plaatsje werden al door de Kelten en Romeinen bewoond. De oude Romeinen noemden het "Anchiriacum" welke naam voor 't eerst in oude oorkondes van 733 A.D. werd vermeld. Tegenwoordig telt 't stadje 1850 inwoners en leeft nog steeds volledig van de wijnbouw.

Klik  hier  voor een sweet menory toer dat ik in 2005 organiseerde in dit landschap van wijngaarden en grootse vergezichten. 

Deze video presentatie is NIET publiekelijk toegankelijk of zichtbaar op YouTube, uitsluitend via dit Spidersweb kanaal. Ondertiteling in 't Nederlands.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Favorite driving roads - part 2

There’s a special joy that comes from driving a topless convertible, but the right road can take the experience to a whole new level. Whether you are into the lifestyle for the sake of driving, wrenching, or restoration, this time I highlight a wonderful pavement I daydream of experiencing in the car I love.

Where? The Netherlands.
Region? A region worthwhile discovering in an open convertible, located in the wonderful and by car most accessible national landscape of Southwest Fryslân, situated between Sneek and the IJsselmeer, located in the triangle Sneek, Stavoren, Lemmer.

Far? No, not too far: The starting point of this tour is close to Lemmer, only 100 kilometres from Utrecht.

A most recommendable 124-Spider-drive crossing all the way through Southwest Fryslân, wellknown from he Frisian lakes situated in this region, where water has played a central role in shaping the landscape throughout the centuries. You can find three different landscapes in this part of Friesland: peat bog landscapes, hilly landscapes with forests, and the IJsselmeer coastal area. Nevertheless, almost all of Southwest Fryslân is dominated by agriculture.
Click  here  for ( a personally tested )  magnificent trip through this wonderful marschland with all these great Dutch skies and panoramas.


Rijden in een open cabrio geeft een geweldige kick, maar een mooie route en de juiste weg kunnen dat gevoel enorm versterken. Of je nu in een blits-auto rijdt, in een "sleutelaar" of in een restauratie-project, dat doet er niet zoveel toe wanneer ik je "meeneem" op een paar prachtige ritten en routes in jouw eigen droomauto.

Waar? Nederland.
Streek? Een gebied dat zeer de moeite waard is om in je open cabrio op je eigen wijze te ontdekken: gelegen in het prachtige, met de auto zeer bereikbare nationale landschap van Zuidwest Fryslân, gelegen tussen Sneek en het IJsselmeer, in de driehoek Sneek, Stavoren, Lemmer.

Ver? Nee, niet zo ver: het beginpunt van de toer is vlakbij Lemmer, 'n uurtje rijden vanaf Utrecht.

Een bijzonder aanbevelenswaardige 124-Spider-route dwars door Zuidwest Fryslân dat bekend is vanwege de Friese meren in dit gebied en waar door de eeuwen heen water de centrale rol speelde in de vormgeving van het landschap.
En je vindt er drie verschillende soorten landschap in dit deel van Friesland: veengrond, heuvelachtige gebieden met bossen en het kustgebied rond het IJsselmeer. Niettemin wordt vrijwel het gehele gebied van Zuidwest Friesland gedomineerd door landbouwgrond.

Klik  hier  voor een ( persoonlijk door mij meermaals gereden ) prachtige rit door dit bijzondere waterland met al zijn schitterende 'Friese' luchten en grootse vergezichten.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Dutch drivers know sending texts is dangerous
but many do it anyway, still...

One out of 10 motorists sends smartphone messages while driving without having a hands-free set, the national statistics office CBS ( Dutch Central Bureau of Statistics ) stated recently. 

Drivers aged 18 to 35 are most likely to send messages while driving – one in four say they have done this at some point. Men are also more likely than women to send texts while driving. At the same time, almost all the drivers questioned for the CBS survey said they thought the practice was dangerous, and almost nine in 10 said they thought talking on the phone was dangerous as well. 

People who use mobile phones while driving without a hands-free set can be fined and around 600 fatal or serious incidents a year are linked to people making calls or using social media behind the wheel.

Because most people don't like to read long warning texts and dramatic statistics, just watch this small movie to convince you from the horrible risks  here
After watching this movie for the first time back in 2012, I never used my mobile phone again while driving.


Nederlandse automobilisten weten dat mobiele app-berichtjes sturen gevaarlijk is
maar velen doen het desondanks, nog steeds.....

Een op de tien automobilisten sturen smartphone berichtjes rijdend achter het stuur zonder gebruik van 'n hands-free set, zo heeft het nationale CBS bureau onlangs bericht.
Automobilisten tussen de 18 en 35 jaar worden daarbij het meest genoemd, een op de vier geeft dat ook toe. Mannen zijn daarbij vaker betrokken dan vrouwen. Tegelijkertijd gaven bijna alle door het CBS ondervraagde automobilisten toe, dat zij wel dachten dat het gevaarlijk was en bijna 9 op de 10 ondervraagden vonden dat via je mobiel met anderen praten evenzeer gevaarlijk is.

Mensen die hun mobieltje in de auto gebruiken zonder hands-free set, kunnen een dikke boete verwachten en rond de 600 fatale ongelukken per jaar worden rechtstreeks in verband gebracht met mensen die bellen of bezig zijn met social media achter het stuur.

Omdat de meeste mensen tekst en grafieken over dit belangrijke onderwerp liever uit de weg gaan, bekijk dan eens dit korte filmpje om je te overtuigen van de gruwelijke risico's ervan  hier
Sinds ik voor de eerste keer in 2012 dit filmpje zag, heb ik mijn mobiele telefoon nooit meer aangeraakt terwijl ik rijd.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Favorite driving roads - part 1

There’s a special joy that comes from driving a topless convertible, but the right road can take the experience to a whole new level. Whether you are into the lifestyle for the sake of driving, wrenching, or restoration, this time I highlight a wonderful pavement I daydream of experiencing in the car I love.

Where? Germany. 
Region? A region worthwhile discovering in an open convertible, located in a grand and panoramic hilly country area with magnificent wide views, the wonderful and by car most accessible Weserbergland, located in the triangle Bielefeld, Kassel, Hannover. 

Far? No, not too far: 215 kilometres from Hengelo, near the Dutch border.

A most recommendable 124-Spider-drive crossing all the way through the Weserbergland, wellknown from the imaginative legend of the Pied Piper and his musical rats of Hameln and from The Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchhausen from the city of Bodenwerder, who had the astounding abilities to ride cannonballs and travel to the moon.

Click  here  for ( a personally tested )  magnificent trip through these 'landscape-paintings' with all these great panoramas. 


Rijden in een open cabrio geeft een geweldige kick, maar een mooie route en de juiste weg kunnen dat gevoel enorm versterken. Of je nu in een blits-auto rijdt, in een "sleutelaar" of in een restauratie-project, dat doet er niet zoveel toe wanneer ik je "meeneem" op een paar prachtige ritten en routes in jouw eigen droomauto.

Waar? Duitsland.
Streek? Een gebied dat zeer de moeite waard is om in je open cabrio op je eigen wijze te ontdekken: gelegen in een wijds en panoramisch heuvelland met schitterende vergezichten in het met de auto zeer bereikbare Weserbergland, gelegen in de driehoek Bielefeld, Kassel, Hannover.

Ver? Nee, niet zo ver: 215 kilometer vanaf Hengelo vlakbij de Duitse grens.

Een bijzonder aanbevelenswaardige 124-Spider-route dwars door het Weserbergland, dat bekend is van de fantastische verhalen van de Rattenvanger van Hamelen en van Baron von Münchausen uit het stadje Bodenwerder aan de rivier de Weser, die zich op een kanonskogel liet afvuren naar de maan.

Klik  hier  voor een ( persoonlijk door mij meermaals gereden ) prachtige rit door al deze 'schilderijen' met grootse vergezichten.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Easy web-address again

As from today, when you are typing my former web-address ' SPIDERSWEB.NL ' or my other address ' FIAT124SPIDER.COM' in your browser, you will end up here on these pages.
Just to make it simple.

In time, all the information in text, diagrams, sketches, images, videos, music, etc. from my pages, will be available on these pages again. And more . . . .
Only the form of my web site changed, that's all......
Do come back regularly to read and see my last Fiat 124 Spider related highlights.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Giorgio Alisi, a famous Italian automotive illustrator

On June 7. 2006, Tom Tjaarda, sent me the following mail:
Dear Anthony,
Thought that you might be interested to see these two paintings by Giorgio Alisi. Giorgio has done automotive illustrations for more than fourty years, first for QUATTRORUOTE and today he is still very active and many of his designs are published in a variety of magazines.

These two drawings were given to me during a meeting in Torino at the automotive museum, in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Fiat 124 Spyder. Alberto Brancolini organized this encounter which included a discussion on the 124 Spyder and a tour of Lingotto plus a very nice lunch at the museum.
All the best,
Tom Tjaarda
          The two drawings Tom Tjaarda has sent me, are represented below.
          Click both images for a larger representation.

To larger image

To larger image

                  Additionally you find some drawings of Enzo Ferrari, Nuccio Bertone 

                       and several other illustrations created by Giorgio Alisi  here .

Saturday, February 17, 2018

The Fiat-Pininfarina Papers

In 1999 Fiat marked a significant anniversary: it was their hundredth birthday.
Within the remarkable role played by Fiat in Italy's economic and social life, Pininfarina highlighted during that year its relationship with the Fiat Company,  a relationship of such significance and importance that has had a profound effect upon the way the Pininfarina Company was at that time.
Click on the images below to see and hear (through the orginal Fiat voice-over) about their unique collaboration over this period of a hundred years in sketches of time.
           Click this image to see and listen to the Fiat-Pininfarina Papers - part 1
  The same for part 2
  For part 3
  And for part 4

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Fiat 124 Spider paint colors, numbers and years

On special request of several 124 Spider owners, I sorted out the numerous paint numbers and colors for the different production types over the many production years of our 124 Spider.  An orderly summary you find HERE.
The information was checked and double-checked through reliable, inside Pininfarina sources !

Tuesday, December 26, 2017


It is certainly giving satisfaction that a few major international websites like the English PININFARINA website on Wikiwand (the renewed Wikipedia), the English FIAT 124 SPIDER website on Wikiwand  and the official documentary website of late TOM TJAARDA are referring to a number of articles that I wrote and made for  I granted the requests for publication to these web sites.

The quoted references to my pages below were the first pages I immediately and completely restored and put online again after the hacking  of my site in 2014.  

These references can be found
- at the  PININFARINA  page  - 1 -  1a
- at the  FIAT 124 SPIDER  page  1 -  1a
- at the  TOM TJAARDA  website  1 -  1a  -  2  -  2a  -  3  -  3a  -  4  -  4a  -  5   -  5a

But  BEST OF ALL  are my regular loyal visitors from all over the world, every week again !
Last week these visitors came from 27 ( ! ) different countries, from:
Argentina - Australia - Belgium - Canada - Czech Republic - Denmark - France - French Guiana - Germany - Hungary - Iceland - India - Indonesia - Israel - Italy - Japan - Mexico - Moldova - Netherlands - New-Zealand - Poland - Russian Federation - Slovakia - Sweden - Switzerland - United Kingdom and United States of America.

Cool, right?

Friday, December 22, 2017

A colourful 2018 !

With - living legend - virtuoso guitarist Steve Morse's magnificent guitar solo,
I send you all my very best wishes for the New Year.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

A lovely, sensual Italian lady

 The well-known US car magazine  CAR and DRIVER  published the very first Fiat 124 Spider road test, dated August 1968, opening the article with the very poetic text:
A lady.
A lovely, sensual, responsive Italian lady.
There is no other way of thinking about the Fiat 124 Spider, it's time you knew it. Like women to dream about, the really good Italian cars have always had a mysterious irresistibility and an eagerness to please. Somehow, they seem to exist solely for the pleasure of their drivers.

There are moments of passing poignancy, a gentle soft scent of perfume in the lush evening air of summer and those moments are the Ferraris and the Maseratis and the Lamborghinis.
 Be now informed that the delightful Italian automotive personality exists in a modestly priced Fiat.

Where there are moments of tight-jawed hardship with the British cars, all is sweet willingness with Italy's 124.

See the CAR and DRIVER road test pages   1     2     3     4     5     and smile....

Monday, December 11, 2017

124 Vraagbaak / 124 Reference Book

Piet Olyslager's Autovraagbaak is voor de technisch geïnteresseerde automobilist/sleutelaar een betrouwbare inlichtingenbron voor o.a. veilig onderhoud en hulp bij pech.

De Vraagbaak is een combinatie van een bedieningshandleiding en een beknopt werkplaatshandboek. Ze vermeldt alles over bediening en onderhoud en geeft richtlijnen voor het uit- en inbouwen van hoofdcomponenten en voor demontage, montage en afstellen ervan. De tekst wordt toegelicht met vele foto's en glasheldere tekeningen van constructiedetails.

Anthony's nawoord:
Deze zorgvuldig gemaakte bestanden zijn exclusief gemaakt en bedoeld voor de Fiat 124 Spider en Coupé bezitters en NIET ten behoeve van enig commercieel doel.
Directe navraag bij uitgeverij Kluwer over een eventuele herdruk van het Fiat 124 boek leerde mij, dat men bij Kluwer wel overweegt bepaalde zeer veel gevraagde boeken uit de serie te herdrukken, maar dat dit voor de Fiat 124 uitgave zeker niet het geval zal zijn vanwege de te kleine interesse- c.q. doelgroep.

Daarom hierbij als een verzameling  PDF bestanden - circa 125 Meg. (deze zijn het mooist, ook om af te drukken),  een serie  JPG-bestanden  als plaatjes - circa 80 Meg, of een  EXE-bestand  als een dia-serie - circa 110 Meg.  Alle bestanden zijn ge-zipt en moeten na het downloaden worden uitgepakt.
Piet Olyslager's Dutch 124 Spider reference book is a reliable source of information for the technically interested driver / tinkerer for, among other things, safe maintenance and breakdown assistance.

The reference book ( all in the Dutch language ) is a combination of an operating manual and a concise workshop manual. It mentions everything about operation and maintenance and provides guidelines for the removal and installation of main components and for disassembly, assembly and adjustment. The text is explained with many photographs and crystal-clear drawings of construction details.

Anthony's afterword:
These carefully drawn up files are exclusively made and intended for the Fiat 124 Spider and Coupe owners and NOT for any commercial purpose.
A direct inquiry at the publisher Kluwer about a possible reprint of the Fiat 124 book taught me, that Kluwer is considering to reprint certain much requested books from the series, but that for the Fiat 124 edition certainly will not be the case because of the too small interest or target group.

Therefore, here as a collection of  PDF files - approximately 125 Meg. (these are the best, also for printing), a series of  JPG files  as images - about 80 Meg, or an  EXE file  as a slide series - about 110 Meg. All files are zipped and must be unpacked after downloading.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

124 Spider Types & Specifications

For detailed specifications of all the Fiat 124 Spider types, construction years,  produced numbers for the European and the US market, engine specifications, chassis numbers and additional specifications of produced types, click HERE for all details

Winter Tips

Because cars were made to be driven regularly, winter storage - or any prolonged period of storage - can really take its toll, unless people take a few precautions to protect their vehicle while it's in hibernation.
A little work now can protect your precious vehicle from rust, animals and other storage-related headaches. To help Spider owners keep their stored vehicles in good shape, here are a few tips.

Tip 1
Get it out of the elements! No amount of precautions will protect a car that is stored outside where the sun, rain, or snow will beat on it day in and day out. Put it under a canopy or keep it in the garage.

Tip 2

Keep the fuel fresh. When gasoline sits, it can break down and form gum and varnish, which will clog a fuel system. What's more, any moisture left in the system can cause rust. The solution: Add a container of fuel stabilizer to the gas tank, then fill the tank to the top right before putting the vehicle into storage. The short drive home from the gas station will circulate the stabilized fuel throughout the system, keeping the gas fresh and the system safe until the vehicle is ready to ride again.

Tip 3

Don't let the cooling system freeze during the winter. Drain the system (including the radiator) and refill it with a rust-inhibiting antifreeze.

Tip 4

Change the oil. It's important to remove any acid, moisture and other contaminants from an engine by changing the oil and filter before putting a vehicle to sleep for the winter. It's okay to use the same-viscosity oil as usual, as long as the oil contains corrosion protection.

Tip 5

Avoid flat-spotting the tires. A vehicle that sits for a long period of time can ruin a set of radial tires. The best way to save those expensive tires is to store the vehicle up on jack stands. Some people also may want to remove the vehicle's wheels and tires—or let some air out of the tires to reduce strain on the shocks and other suspension components.

Tip 6

Keep the battery alive. When a battery loses its charge over time, it can freeze and explode. To avoid a dangerous mess, hook up a battery charger/maintainer, which will keep the battery properly charged, no matter how long the vehicle sits.  

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Tjaarda Design - part 10 - Summary

This is the last edition of a series of  9 previous TJAARDA DESIGN- stories that Tom Tjaarda entrusted me and were published on my blog. This 10th edition with a detailed summary of all his automotive design projects was on my former website from mid-March 2004 till December 2014 and when my site was hacked all this detailed information was lost.

Because of the beasty job to find all this information back again, this last edition was not on my blog till now and I am proud to present it to you finally   HERE  .
It finalizes the complete TJAARDA DESIGN AUTOMOTIVE WORKS  that can be characterized in Tjaarda's own professional credo: perfect harmony of proportions, shapes and lines.

Though the designer's life was somewhat simpler during the Pantera's heyday, Tjaarda said that:  " Styling and quality have been elevated to such a high standard that a large portion of automotive design has reached a level of similarity the world over.
Now the challenge is improving the current, exceptional standards, while at the same time, making cars that are dissimilar - not between countries, but between manufacturers ".

A summary of all previous TJAARDA DESIGN editions on my blog you'll find below:

Tjaarda Design - part 1 - Foreword

Tjaarda Design - part 2 - Coming to Italy

Tjaarda Design - part 3 - Carrozzeria Ghia

Tjaarda Design - part 4 - Italia 61

Tjaarda Design - part 5 - Pininfarina

Tjaarda Design - part 6 - Ghia DeTomaso

Tjaarda Design - part 7 - Sinthesis

Tjaarda Design - part 8 - Fiat Auto

Tjaarda Design - part 9a - Rayton Fissore 1

Tjaarda Design - part 9b - Rayton Fissore 2

And for those who need more than words about the close contact I had with Tom Tjaarda, maybe   this image   or   this image   might help.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

La Macchina Eternamente

Spider fun for 124 Spider enthusiasts. 
Just for a smile....

  It already offered me a lot of fun in making it.
Enjoy, like I did !  Look at  YOUTUBE .

Friday, December 1, 2017

My former SPIDERSWEB - part 2

Found also back the very nice letters from Tom Tjaarda he wrote in the first months of 2004, just a few months after my very first steps on the world wide web with

He was flabbergasted to read and hear from me as the first individual 124 Spider owner / lover to contact him directly and personally in Torino. I replied that I hardly could believe him and said he was obviously making a joke with so many 124 Spider clubs and enthusiasts spread all over the world.
"No no no", he replied decisively, "you are absolutely the very first individual 124 Spider owner who directly contacted me, apart from appointments and encounters that I had with professional car magazine journalists".

"Reason why I will write exclusively for you and your magnificent website the complete 'making-of ' the 124 Spider story that I never told or wrote anyone before. One of the coming days, when I am in the right mood, I will write you this story, I promise".

And Tom kept his promise ! 
Read his story by clicking on the blue text 'Fiat 124 Spider' in the second  square box at the right side of this text block. 


And then he wrote on March 4, 2004:

Dear Mr. Westen,
We in our office saw your website today and all were very impressed by your expertise to create such an interesting and professional presentation.

I would like to thank you for expressing such vivid interest not only in the Fiat 124 Spyder, but also regarding design and other related cultural subjects. It was a pleasure to be able to participate in your magnificent website.

Tom Tjaarda - Torino, Italy


And on March 16, 2004 he wrote again:

Dear Mr. Westen,

I had a great Sunday in Modena at the Fiat 124 Society which hosted a really wonderful gathering of about a hundred members of that car club. I was picked up at the train station, naturally with a 124 Spyder, and suddenly I realized how small the car really is, but in any case, also how enthusiastic they all are about the car.

Am surprised that the Italian mail system is now functioning very well and you have already received the material which I sent. Actually I sent this to you thinking that it would be useful for your archives and to use it as you wish, when the need comes up, since you are interested in many forms of art, design and architecture.

Interesting that you are a jewelry designer. Where I live in the hills of Torino, my neighbor is married to the nephew of Pietro Frua, the famous Torinese auto designer. He is a well known jewelry designer himself and also owner of the entire Frua archives which is housed on the property where I live. I am sure that you learned patience from your profession.

Let me know if you need something more concerning my work or if I can be useful in some way.
I will have to create a new website soon, more complete and up to date and so I may call in on your expertise on this project if you can spare the time and naturally accept being paid for this service.

But for now I have enough to think about concerning the new PSV vehicle we are reading for production and also a new sports car which should be ready for next years Geneva show. All the best for now,
Tom Tjaarda


Anthony's afterword:
A few months after Tom Tjaarda's request to me, he met the German car historian Stefan Dierkes, who already had set up the history archive of the well-known Italian car designer Pietro Frua, which archive resided at Tom Tjaarda's property.
Mr. Dierkes then also made the archive for Tom Tjaarda and set it online in this website as a clear and simple list of facts and figures.

After publication of the site, I did not want to interfere or force myself forward in this matter out of respect, although I had a completely different website in mind for Tom Tjaarda.

My former SPIDERSWEB - part 1

As you might remember, my website was hacked twice in the last week of December 2013 and the first week of January 2014 and all my more than 500 ( bilingual ) web pages were infected by morbid malware intentionally, sent by outside sick morons so that I had no control over my heavily infected site anymore.

After more than 10 years ( from 2003 on ) designing, creating, writing, translating, illustrating and - last but not least - financing privately, I had to remove all the infected files, photos, images, videos and music, and to close my site instantaneously after consultation with my hosting company, when the site was infected for the second time on January 10. 2014.

The bad news: more than 5000 hours work gone down the drain.
The good news: not all was lost: I still had clean and uneffected copies of many thousands articles, pictures, letters, e-mails and interesting material still on an external hard disk as a dear treasure-chest !

A few days ago I bumped into the old intro pages of my former Spidersweb that I wanted to show you again for sentimental reasons. Just click  here  after turning your loud-speakers open.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Unique Fiat 124 Spider jigsaw puzzles

For about twenty years, I purchased in Russia from the Moscow student Lena Pankratova a magnificent jigsaw puzzle game that she had created to be able to pay and complete her studies.

I never ever play computer games, but thought this was so superbly created, that I could not resist its temptation. It really is by far the greatest and best created digital jigsaw puzzle game in the world !

 Because I wanted all her available jigsaws at that time ( only with a limited small amount of jigsaws the program is free )  I transferred the amount due to her bank account in Moscow and she forwarded me simultaneously the program by mail. Additionally with a small tool to transfer any photo or image in a new jigsaw puzzle.

This beautiful jigsaw puzzle game will bring you a lot of fun during many long winter evenings. Just with so many different features, that it takes too long to explain everything here. Find out for yourself !

* Download the Jigsaw Puzzle program here
* The 8 special Fiat 124 Spider jigsaws   here
* And a few nice ones for your kids         here

The Fiat 124 Spider- and Kids-jigsaws puzzles are zipped in two separate files that should be unzipped and moved or copied straight into the program directory, leaving the 8 Spider-jigsaw files in a new  ' Fiat124Spider ' directory and the Kids-jigsaws in a new directory ' Kids '.
To be able to open the Spider- and Kids jigsaw puzzles, enter the login name and password that you find in the text file which is also enclosed.

For your kids you will be able to make a jigsaw in 24 ( or less, depending on their age ) large pieces that can be handled easily. The amount of pieces can be increased to a maximum of more than 1100 pieces selecting from a number of different piece-shapes, well ordered or randomly mixed and ( to make it even much more complex ) the option of rotation of all the pieces. The choice is completely yours !  Image examples of these 8 Spider jigsaw puzzles can be viewed here .

The most attractive option is the possibility to save your jigsaw work after i.e. 5 minutes or half an hour fiddling and continue your partly made puzzle one hour, one day or a week later. It may be well understood, that you will have to save your jigsaw every time as soon as you close and leave the program.
In case you would like to have transformed pictures of your own 124 Spider  (or any other personal picture, photograph or image ) purchase the program at Lena Pankratova's website to register the BIGJIG Jigsaw Puzzle game on your own name and get an additional tool to change all your personal images into fascinating new jigsaw puzzles.

Sure, you are not the only  jigsaw puzzle addict....... enjoy this wonderful winter game !

Friday, November 24, 2017

French CAR-cartoons

CLAUDE SERRE (1938-1994) was a celebrated French cartoonist, draughtsman and illustrator. Famous for his bizarre sense of humor and beautiful detailed drawings.

After academic studies, he studied the craft of stained glass for eight years. He then started drawing cartoons and became an illustrator for many French journals, including Plexus, Planet, Hara-Kiri, Lui, Pariscope and La Vie Electrique. He also began illustrating books.

He incorporated his interest in the fantastic into many of his early lithographs, which were published, sometimes exclusively, in many countries including Japan and Germany. He also participated in both group and solo exhibitions.

Claude Serre died at the age of 60 in a car accident.
Many books were published about his work, from which one is titled L'AUTOMOBILE.

His web site with a number of his albums and cartoons you find HERE.
His unique cartoon album L'AUTOMOBILE  you can admire   HERE .

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Lampredi: " Engines don't drink, they breathe "

Aurelio Lampredi ( 1917 - 1989 ) was very tall for an Italian.
He dressed with the expensive casualness of an English country gentleman.
When he talked to you, he drew with a wet felt-tip as if his mind could not work without the fluent movement of his fingers.
He was, by his own admission, one of the three men most responsible for the car you drove in the last decades (the others being Ferdinand Porsche and Colin Chapman).

His early years at Ferrari
When he went to work for Ferrari in 1946 all unblown racing engines gave about 50 bhp per litre. And in races of 500 kilometers most of them exploded. Yet within a couple of years he increased Ferrari's output to 100 bhp per litre. And they finished every race. First.

What working on aero engines taught him
He was applying the principles he'd learned earlier in his life when designing aero engines at Piaggio and Isotta Fraschini (trying to push as much oxygen in as possible and building them so they finish every flight or journey).
He concentrated on improving the airflow into the engine rather than streamlining the body shells as everyone was doing.
"When an athlete's short of breath, he's short of strength", he says. Thus he made the ducts inside the manifold and cylinder head more aerodynamic, so they breathed better.

What goes in must come out
He also redesigned the exhaust system.  
The faster the exhaust gasses can get out, the faster fresh oxygen can get in.
His idea was the double exhaust system, connected in pairs, and turned like a trumpet to match the inlet. A system still used on all racing cars, Ferraris, Fiats and Lancias at that time and during the following 30 years.

The production line
In 1955 he got the opportunity to see if his principles worked on the production line when he moved to Fiat. They worked beyond all their hopes, increasing the output of their engines by no less than 18 bhp. And because they were turning over more efficiently, they lasted longer: an average of 150,000 kms.
Among the many engines he designed from scratch the  Fiat 130, the Mirafiori Abarth two litre  (World Rally Champion three times) and the 127 Diesel. An early innovation of his was the 124 engine with double overhead camshafts and a timing belt instead of chains.
He subsequently increased this unique engine to 1600, 1800 and 2000 cc's, then used it as the model for the revolutionary 128 engine with a single overhead camshaft and a toothed timing belt.
To this day, many years later, no one has designed a better engine. Enlarged it also powered the Strada and the  Lancia Delta.

This kindly giant of a man who originally wanted to be a conductor and still loving the symphonies of the great romantics pondered on the future of the internal combustion engine. Meanwhile he has designed a remarkably quiet, small diesel engine for the Strada. He has blown a series of   Fiat 131  to give 130 bhp while respecting all pollution regulations and improving consumption and torque by 35%.

Aurelio Lampredi was the man largely responsible for the engine of most cars in the seventies, eighties and nineties of the former century.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Lampredi's Dedicated Fan - part 2

So, as in many situations.... the lady (then Martijn's girlfriend) determined the final choice for a convertible and combined with his pronounced preference for a Lampredi engine, he decided for a Fiat 124 Spider.

After some research, a specific Spider was bought of which he had the idea that with some "tender loving care" it would be quite the car he was looking for.
And .... also could be their perfect wedding car a few months later !

Anyhow, after his purchase, he found out that the car had made far too many kilometers without any servicing, so in his opinion a direct revision of the engine would be most required. In that time an acquaintance brought to his attention Phil Ward's book "Fiat & Lancia Twin Cams". In this "Twin-cam bible" is described in all details how to tune and upgrade a twin-cam engine. So as you may guess, the revision of the engine of his Spider did not get a simple standard overhaul.

According to his character, doing half-hearted things is far from his nature. And taking the long road improving an engine (and car) to perfection there seems to be no end at all, together with all the information and advises during this almost endless journey: it took him 16 years and 4000 hours !
And yes, meanwhile Martijn & Mariëlle married in another car than their Spider....

Pictures mostly explain more than a thousand words.
So enjoy all visual details of the modifications of Martijn's unique 124 Spider down here and

Technical support, advice & survey: Spider specialist  Bas Gielen

Zoals zo vaak in zulke situaties.... bepaalde de vrouw (toen Martijn's vriendin) de uiteindelijke keuze voor een cabrio en in combinatie met Martijn's uitgesproken technische voorkeur voor een Lampredi krachtbron, besloot hij dat het dan een Fiat 124 Spider moest worden.

Na wat speurwerk werd een specifieke Spider gekocht waarvan hij het idee had, dat met wat "liefdevolle zorg" het helemaal de cabrio kon worden die hij zocht.
En .... toen ook zijn perfecte trouwauto kon zijn voor over 'n paar maanden !

Hoe dan ook, na zijn aankoop bleek dat de auto heel veel meer kilometers zonder enige service of onderhoud had gemaakt, dus zou een directe revisie van de motor volgens hem zeker dringend noodzakelijk zijn. In die tijd maakte een kennis hem ook attent op Phil Ward's boek "Fiat & Lancia Twin Cams". In deze "Twin-cam bijbel" wordt gedetailleerd beschreven, hoe een twin-cam motor opgevoerd en afgesteld moest worden.
Dus zoals je wel kunt raden, kreeg hierdoor de revisie van de Spider-motor niet een gewone "standaard" opknapbeurt.

Overeenkomstig zijn karakter, passen halfzachte oplossingen helemaal niet in zijn aard. En via de weg de motor (en de auto) tot enige perfectie te verbeteren ligt een lange open weg zonder eind, als je alle tussentijdse informatie en goede adviezen ook meetelt: het kostte hem 16 jaar en 4000 uur !
En ja, Martijn en Mariëlle trouwden in een andere auto dan in hun Spider....

Afbeeldingen en foto's vertellen vaak meer dan 1000 woorden.
Dus geniet hierbij van alle visuele details van de modifikaties en aanpassingen van Martijn's unieke 124 Spider hieronder en  OP  YOUTUBE .

Technische ondersteuning, advies & expertise: Spider specialist 
Bas Gielen


01  Balanced: crank, flywheel, rods and pistons - 25% lightened flywheel
02  Beta 1600 pistons boost compression up to 10.1 - 2000 Type water pump
03  130tc Fully ported head (specifications Guy Croft)
04  Equalized combustion chambers volume
05  Dimpled inlet to increase air flow, multiple angle valve seats
06  Custom valve guides (B1 copper/zinc/aluminum). These Lubricate under high °C
07  130tc-type head gasket and yield-type head bolts
08  Cam timing 26/66/66/26 lift 9.514. Adjustable cam pulley’s
09  Modified auxiliary shaft
10  Electric full race fuel pump (regulator required)
11  Fuel pressure regulator
12  Creating oil pressure before first run           
13  16-Row oil cooler
14  Thermostatically controlled
15  Completely overhauled Weber IDF 40 carburetors
16  CNC machined venturi using copper-calibrated tubes for the fuel intake
17  Installing the venturis
18  Left side upgrade - right side original setup
19  This setup provides torque at high rpm
20  By remaining the original 40 throttle valve there is no loss of bottom power
21  This would happen with a bigger setup (44 mm Weber’s)

22  Port matched intake manifold to prevent airflow obstructions
23  Custom made air horns. Full radius - completely CNC machined, creating more air intake
24  These trumpets are speeding up the airflow enhancing the response of the engine
25  K&N sport filter
26  Electronic ignition with high voltage coil (65000) improving the ignition of modern fuel
27  High performance ignition control module
28  Best standard manifold is the BS1 1600 because of tube-dimensions
29  Ceramic coated to prevent heath build-up (standard manifold used with standard cams)
30  Most effective standard exhaust system is the 1800
31  Tubes are 50 mm like an Abarth-system