Viewing Abarth 124 tomorrow and I have a few questions...

Viewing Abarth 124 tomorrow and I have a few questions...

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david-j8694

Original Poster:

227 posts

15 months

Friday 19th March
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Hello all.

I am viewing an Abarth 124 tomorrow and, whilst this particular example has the spec that I want, there are two things that seem anomalous compared to other examples, and I was wondering if I should be concerned about them.

Firstly, it's a 2017 plate with 15000 miles and 2 previous owners. Most others are one owner from new, so it's changed hands a bit more than its competition.

Secondly, I've been to a couple of places recently that have had over a dozen Abarth 124s, and they've all been on pretty mint Bridgestone Potenza tyres. This one, however, has a budget brand on the back, and a different budget brand on the front. I know it may not matter, but it does feel like maybe this car has been run on a budget. Or thrashed a little by its two brief owners. It does have a full service history, though.

How much of a concern would this be for you? Am I overthinking it?

Also, is there anything else I should look out for? Other than the rust issue.

JohnG123

588 posts

97 months

Friday 19th March
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Hi
Good luck with the search

Just my opinion I would look for a car with the bose sound system. The visibility pack this gives you better headlights with a wash function and reversing sensors on the rear bumper. Make sure the car has a full Abarth up to date service history.
Check the Monza Exhaust valve is not seized. Check the roof hoops behind the seats are not scratched as this is a known issue that the roof catches on these. Check the coolant level as some cars have had water pump seal issues.

Re the budget tyres yes I personally would be concerned there are plenty cars out there for sale at the moment. Again in my opinion tyres are the one thing that keeps your car on the road I would never skimp on tyres that ultimately pound for pound last thousands of miles.

Join the Spider 124 group on face book and also visit www.124spiderorg that's were I got loads of good helpful advice prior my purchase last month.

I am sure some members with far more knowledge than I on these cars will come along and offer more things to look out for.

Enjoy the search

david-j8694

Original Poster:

227 posts

15 months

Friday 19th March
quotequote all
JohnG123 said:
Check the Monza Exhaust valve is not seized. Check the roof hoops behind the seats are not scratched as this is a known issue that the roof catches on these. Check the coolant level as some cars have had water pump seal issues.

Re the budget tyres yes I personally would be concerned there are plenty cars out there for sale at the moment. Again in my opinion tyres are the one thing that keeps your car on the road I would never skimp on tyres that ultimately pound for pound last thousands of miles.
Thanks for the reply and for the specific items to check. I'll bear them in mind.

Yes, my thoughts exactly about the tyres. I can't imagine all four needed replacing at the same time and the owner said "yeah I'll have X on the front and Y on the rear". I just wonder what series of events caused both axles to need tyres replacing at different times. Could've just been a track day, followed by budget replacements, then an unlucky puncture just before the sale. Could be innocuous, but it's that unknown that'll put me off I think.

And, as you say, there are enough good ones about at the moment.

Trevor555

2,965 posts

51 months

Friday 19th March
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The tyres would worry me. Either driven hard, or questionable mileage.

I sold my last one with 15,000 miles on it and the original tyres still had plenty of tread.

My current one has 12,700 miles and again, plenty of tread on the original tyres.

As John says above, the visibility pack is worth having for the better headlights, and resale.

Also, have a good look underneath it.

Many of the later cars were sat in a compound somewhere unregistered for quite some time and were quite badly corroded when first registered. Many dealers waxoiled them before delivery to hide the corrosion. When looking 18 months ago I saw two cars that were bad underneath (Subframes)

Good luck with the search, they are a fun car and refreshingly simple/lightweight.

For reference, the visibility pack headlights.



Edited by Trevor555 on Friday 19th March 11:23

david-j8694

Original Poster:

227 posts

15 months

Friday 19th March
quotequote all
Good to know on the tyre wear. Something's definitely up with the one we were going to look at.

The car is the misses', not mine, and her non-negotiable colours are black heritage pack or blue heritage pack, which is proving very difficult to find with the requisite visibility pack, bose and nav. Almost all the cars on Autotrader are red heritage pack - which would be my choice if it were my car!

It's going to be a case of waiting and sniping the perfect one, I think.

CostaBrava1972

96 posts

19 months

Friday 19th March
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Got mine two years ago, after dutifully test-driving all the new ND MX5 models (as we are constantly exhorted by the usual motoring journalists) and being overcome with indifference. Gutless at low revs and so ugly, some Americans call it 'The Cockroach'.

The middle section of a new 124 has all the virtues of a convertible Mazda (amazing powerless hood down in 3 seconds; great cab ergonomics) but is so much better looking; being wider and longer in retro '70s style genuinely harking back to the original FIAT rally cars (hence the matt black). Another reason why red with black was non-negotiable for me.

Plus, its FIAT/Alfa turbocharged multiair engine is nicely torquey and responds so much earlier to your right foot than the Mazda. It gives the 124 totally different driving characteristics to the MX5 and a genuine Italian character, strongly reminding me of my first Lancia, an '80s Lancia Delta HF Turbo, in 'Rossa Corsa' with grey alcantara trim, just like the Abarth.

So I went out looking for a 'brand new' manual Abarth (even if old stock) and found one with 800 miles on the clock, which was inspected on a ramp before purchase - I'd recommend you do likewise. It was spotless on top, and underneath too. Having purchased it in high summer, it went straight home and spent a week in the garage on stands with the wheels off while I black engine-enamelled every inch and pumped waxoil diluted with new engine oil into every cavity. This is essential as - like MX5s are - these cars were barely 'finished-off' underneath, and would probably only last for 1 lease term. Even 2 years ago, I saw several low mileage, fairly new cars which, underneath, looked like they'd been in the sea.

The manual version Abarth is rare - only 1000 or so in the country - but there currently are plenty of examples up for sale, mostly ex-lease, so you really should be critical, most especially about its condition UNDERNEATH. Suffice to say, views differ about the auto version. And it's true the ordinary halogen headlamps are pretty poor compared to the 'vision pack' LEDs.

For me, my first convertible, then. Mine came with a still-current warranty which I've relied on to protect it against those well-known faults which others mention above. Some are shared with MX5s (like the hood rubbing) and a few are peculiar to the 124, but apart from the rear hub bushes (expensive!) none are any big deal.

However, all new cars have latent faults of some sort to which they're prone, even BMWs & Mercs, so this car will be no exception. But like most folk find, mine has proved very reliable indeed. Yes, the rear silencer was later replaced under warranty by a servicing main dealer without me even asking and, like everyone says, it's a car you drive to enjoy. Every journey is a pleasure.

Choose a good one, and you'll be delighted.

Edited by CostaBrava1972 on Friday 19th March 21:41


Edited by CostaBrava1972 on Friday 19th March 21:42


Edited by CostaBrava1972 on Friday 19th March 21:45

david-j8694

Original Poster:

227 posts

15 months

Saturday 20th March
quotequote all
CostaBrava1972 said:
So I went out looking for a 'brand new' manual Abarth (even if old stock) and found one with 800 miles on the clock, which was inspected on a ramp before purchase - I'd recommend you do likewise. It was spotless on top, and underneath too. Having purchased it in high summer, it went straight home and spent a week in the garage on stands with the wheels off while I black engine-enamelled every inch and pumped waxoil diluted with new engine oil into every cavity. This is essential as - like MX5s are - these cars were barely 'finished-off' underneath, and would probably only last for 1 lease term. Even 2 years ago, I saw several low mileage, fairly new cars which, underneath, looked like they'd been in the sea.

The manual version Abarth is rare - only 1000 or so in the country - but there currently are plenty of examples up for sale, mostly ex-lease, so you really should be critical, most especially about its condition UNDERNEATH. Suffice to say, views differ about the auto version. And it's true the ordinary halogen headlamps are pretty poor compared to the 'vision pack' LEDs.

For me, my first convertible, then. Mine came with a still-current warranty which I've relied on to protect it against those well-known faults which others mention above. Some are shared with MX5s (like the hood rubbing) and a few are peculiar to the 124, but apart from the rear hub bushes (expensive!) none are any big deal.
I am aware of the corrosion issue on the underside of the cars, which made me wonder, is there any point in specifically paying more for a 68 over a 17 plate for example? To my knowledge, all of these cars were produced in 16/17 anyway, irrespective of registration date, so at least with a slightly older example it'll be one that's been sitting around rusting for less time...?

Trevor555

2,965 posts

51 months

Saturday 20th March
quotequote all
david-j8694 said:
I am aware of the corrosion issue on the underside of the cars, which made me wonder, is there any point in specifically paying more for a 68 over a 17 plate for example? To my knowledge, all of these cars were produced in 16/17 anyway, irrespective of registration date, so at least with a slightly older example it'll be one that's been sitting around rusting for less time...?
This was exactly my view after research.

I also heard that all UK cars were produced in 2016 and early 2017.

I got lucky and found a 17 plate car that had been privately owned from new, and kept garaged overnight.

The difference is clear when you look underneath.

Be patient, wait for the right car/spec.

I waited 7 months for the right car.

Trevor555

2,965 posts

51 months

Thursday 20th May
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Did you find a car OP?

Prices appear to have gone up for these.

PenelopaPitstop

1,983 posts

100 months

Friday 21st May
quotequote all
Which is pretty bad for me, because I want to buy mine from Leasys. If I knew, Covid would come and car prices will go up, I would buy one instead of leasing it. But I didn't have crystal ball.

19 reg plate, 15K miles, Bose no visibility, no heritage pack, white with red:
January 2021 purchase price 17500
April 2021 purchase price 17200.
In the meantime, I paid £660 in for leasing.

Hopefully, prices will go down after summer. At least there's more 19 plates on the market, so maybe it will take prices down.

Daveb257

660 posts

106 months

Friday 21st May
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Knowing Leasys they won’t have written it down that much with market fluctuations, it’ll be based more on what it stands to them

david-j8694

Original Poster:

227 posts

15 months

Monday 14th June
quotequote all
Trevor555 said:
Did you find a car OP?

Prices appear to have gone up for these.
I did. Well, rather my girlfriend did, as it was her car.

She picked up a one previous owner, 2018 model in blue, with heritage pack, visibility pack and bose. Only thing missing was the nav really, and she uses her phone so wasn't bothered about that. Numbers really did dwindle over the past few months, and she seemed to be losing interest at one point, but this blue one popped up and she snapped it up.

She's well pleased biggrin

Trevor555

2,965 posts

51 months

Monday 14th June
quotequote all
david-j8694 said:
Trevor555 said:
Did you find a car OP?

Prices appear to have gone up for these.
I did. Well, rather my girlfriend did, as it was her car.

She picked up a one previous owner, 2018 model in blue, with heritage pack, visibility pack and bose. Only thing missing was the nav really, and she uses her phone so wasn't bothered about that. Numbers really did dwindle over the past few months, and she seemed to be losing interest at one point, but this blue one popped up and she snapped it up.

She's well pleased biggrin
That's good to hear.

Well done for being patient.

Put a picture up when you've got time, tease me as I've let mine go.