Great minds think alike MR. I was driving a 1972 Fiat 124 Spider up until the time I bought the Cortina.
It was a great car. I’m a little over six foot and it was the only “sports car” I could comfortably fit into. The steering wheel angle took some getting used to but once that was out of the way it was a real canyon burner. 4-wheel disc brakes, rear-wheel drive, absolutely the easiest convertible top to raise and lower, a big (relatively speaking) trunk, and enough of a back seat that you could stash backpacks, jackets, books, and those AIR HORNS!!!.
The only really bummer about the '72 was that it used the 1608cc DOHC four engine (a whoping 90 bhp), hooked up with a 5 speed. It was impressively underpowered but that dual overhead engine (with aftermarket Abarth dual exhaust system) made outrageous exhaust noises (but not as good as the Cortina’s) and accounted for a certain degree of “fear factor” with my friends and their MG’s and Tr’s. The only other bummer I can recall was that the '72 model year used distributors from three different manufacturers; thankfully, mine was Bosch.
But make no mistake about it, it was s-l-o-w. Slow enough that it taught me how to drive; stalk and pounce was the name of the game with the 124. I blew off my share of unsuspecting Porsches on twisty downhills, only to be overtaken on the next uphill stretch. No matter, it was always a gas to see huge eyes in the guys rear view mirror as you closed in on him on the next set of downhills.
Engine displacement eventually hit 1995cc, but the emissions controls were so restrictive that they basically negated the increased displacement. Somewhere in the late 70’s engine displacement was bumped to 1800, and probably optimal for the type.
Another performance, and aesthetic, detriment on later 124’s was the heavier 5-mph bumper system; the older model bumpers were much more attractive.
I’d buy another one in a minute, especially if it were just going to be my day car; and the older the better (less emissions control).
Here’s a great read on “buying” a 124 at Hemmings Motor News:
A V-8 powered sports car … I missed (as Maxwell Smart would say, “by that much”) owning one. I had just met my “to be” wife, whose father had passed away a few months previously, and her mother had just sold the Sunbeam Tiger. It was the car that my wife, at 16, had taken her driver’s test in.