Abarth isn't bringing any more 124 Spiders to the UK, not for the foreseeable future at least. FCA's UK boss, Arnaud Leclerc, told Top Gear earlier this year that, despite the country being the world's number one market for Abarth as a whole, there was no profit in bringing the cars here. There won't have been any profit for the previous owner of today's Spotted either, who would have bought the car for around £30,000 when new, only to find it worth over £11,000 less just 8,000 miles later.
That makes it a steal for its next custodian, though, who'll get themselves a cracking little roadster for a very reasonable price. A roadster which is based, of course, on the universally adored Mazda MX-5, sharing as it does that car's chassis, interior and open-top appeal.
With the Abarth carrying an additional 60kg than the Mazda and offering 630cc less, initial comparisons between the two don't look great for the 124. But its four-pot motor is turbocharged, meaning it boasts 184lb ft to the MX-5's 148 and bestowing it with more easily accessible real world performance. Its firmer suspension can mean it rides more harshly over bumpy surfaces, but also enables drivers to take full advantage of its limited-slip diff, cornering harder and faster than the slightly squishier Japanese machine.
Back in 2017 we took the chance to put our long-term Abarth head to head with its 2.0-litre MX-5 sibling. The 124 lost, but not because it was the lesser of the two cars. In fact, Matt called it "the more satisfying and enjoyable car to drive, thanks to its torque and more focused suspension", but adjudged the difference between the two to not be worth the £7,000 premium which the Italian commanded as tested.
Now, though, with this nearly new car listed at just £18,950, the equation is somewhat different. The Mazda will have depreciated too, of course, but with the only comparable 2018 MX-5 in the classifieds priced at £17,500, the difference between them is not what it once was.
With its slightly larger proportions, more conservative styling and fabulously roarty exhaust, then, the Abarth provides a solid alternative to the world's best-selling roadster. Of course, those who prefer the Mazda will likely find their allegiance unswayed, but for buyers who previously considered going in a different direction, there may never have been a better time to take the plunge.
SPECIFICATION - ABARTH 124 SPIDER
Engine: 1,368cc, four-cyl turbocharged
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 170@6,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 184@2,500rpm
Top speed: 144mph
First registered: 2018
Recorded mileage: 8,000
Price new: ~ £30,000
Price now: £18,950