Click on thumbnails below for larger pics....
I decided the Alfa 4C needed a garage mate, and this Fiat 124 Spider Abarth seemed like a perfect match....after all, it was supposed to have originally been an Alfa Romeo. Based on the Mazda MX5 platform and built alongside the MX-5 Miata in Japan, Fiat uses their own engine, suspension tuning, exterior body panels, and a nicer/more insolated interior......a little larger and heavier but also a larger trunk. It is doubtful that Fiat will continue to produce the 124 past 2020 and that might be a short run, time to scoop one of these up if you want a new one.
This 2019 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth was purchased from Steve Serrano at Byers Imports in Columbus Ohio, he was quick to respond to inquiries and answered all of my questions. Deal done over email/phone, flew into Columbus, OH and were picked up at the airport by Steve, quick test drive, completed deal. Steve was great AND quick, in and out and on the road home- I highly recommend Steve and Byers but had post sale issues with Huntington Bank, a comedy of errors that had me down to the wire picking up my tag on day 45 of the temp tag expiration after multiple follow ups and trips to the local tag office- Byers and Huntington have worked together for a long time. I don't have any positive things to say about Huntington Bank and that is the nicest way I can say that. This was my third out-of-state auto purchase and the only one I had issues with due to the bank.
First pics and video below are from the dealership ad and Steve along with a few pics from the day we picked it up and brought it home in JAN 2020.
I had originally looked at the 500 Abarth which shares its motor with this car, but my wife was not on board...next Abarth, 124 Spider. This car had most of the available options, and one of the key things I was looking for which was the Recaro seats. It also has the Bose system which may end up getting a speaker upgrade. The only option the car does not have is the Record Monza exhaust (P/N 82215590, Greg's review HERE). And the mysterious bag with rubber plugs? Forum post HERE...
Window Sticker HERE, Build Sheet HERE, Carfax Report HERE, Dealer Ad HERE, Autotrader Ad HERE.
This car is powered by a Fiat 1.4L Multiair Turbo engine used in many FCA autos in different states of tune (Details: Wikipedia, Allpar, Green Car Congress, Wards Auto, Car & Driver).
FIAT (Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino, meaning loosely “Italian automobile factory of Turin”, the region in which the country was founded)
Coincidentally, 2019 is the 70th anniversary of Abarth cars for Fiat: FCA celebrates 70 years of Abarth.
Abarth story: Wikipedia, Abarth.com, Abarthisti, and SportCarDigest.
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I decided the first mod would be Fiat 124 Spider Rubber Mats (Part No: 82215026) from Chrysler Jeep Dodge City of McKinney...... unfortunate that we cannot get Abarth specific mats like the Fiat 500 owners
Also ordered the Fiat Cargo/Storage Tray (Part No: 82215032) from BAM Wholesale.
I also had a chance to get the initial 3 coats of Raggtopp Fabric Protectant on the top, it will be nice to have a top that beads water like the rest of the car (and is UV protected)....video that shows prep and application HERE.
Valentine 1 radar detector hard wire installed (manual HERE) along with V1connection LE (manual HERE). V1connection LE will allow Bluetooth connection to the V1 from my Android phone and with the JBV1 app adds a lot of useful functionality- Some discussion around the JBV1 app can be found HERE, helpful settings guide HERE. Since I was using the Bluetooth module in concert with the V1, I was required to use the hardwire kit with main unit/accessory plugs.....so no easy mirror tap this time.
After a-pillar is carefully unsnapped, T40 bolts are removed at left of header panel, and some other panel removal around fusebox, the V1 wiring can be tucked under header panel and run over and down the a-pillar to the fusebox. I elected to tap into fuse position 6 because it was open, had accessory power, and would not affect another circuit.
The Lumision Add-A-Circuit (Mini Low Profile ATM) is a bit loose since it does not fully seat so I placed some 1/2" foam weatherstrip in the fuse cover to hold it firmly in place over bumps as others on the forum have done. I ordered the HitCar Add-A-Circuit and while only rated for 5A vs the Lumision's 20A, the HitCar plug looks to be a bit deeper and may work better in this application. The ground wire was tucked under the 10mm bolt of the fusebox. V1 power adapter and Bluetooth module tucked out of the way above the fusebox.
Some resources I utilized were Ameridan's Page and Elliot Check's Video.
Next up, Hood Lift Kit by Cobalt (Part No: 910-720) from Moss Miata, installation instructions HERE and some additional/supplemental instructions from Ameridan's blog HERE.
PTP Turbo Blanket (Part No: FPRO35-103-01) from
Forum discussion HERE and Xtreme Revolution's DIY guide for a similar product can be found HERE (note the discussion on page 2 about factory heat shield being replaced/discarded) and HERE.....nice since these come with no instructions, closest they have is the Dodge Dart MultiAir. Video demonstrating turbo blanket effectiveness HERE, for some reason they show the factory heat shield in place.
SO, it does have a bit of a smell the first few drives but that is not a big deal. However, pop the hood and you feel minimal heat from the turbo, it really does work.
Oil Catch Can from Racing Car Parts Home eBay store, but same can is available on eBay from multiple vendors (search for BMW N54 335i 535i oil catch can) in multiple colors at different prices- pick a vendor with good ratings and price.
To complete the installation you'll need to source ~3' each 5/8 (Gates P/N 27008) and 3/4 (Gates P/N 27010) PCV oil resistant hose, a 3/4 to 5/8 reducer (Gates P/N 28611), Lined Hose Clamps- 9/16" to 1-1/16" Diameter, and fabricate a mount- I used bar stock steel at first and then decided to make the final version in aluminum. I also decided to pick up some sleeving to make it look OE, terminated with electrical tape. All in around $100 with minimal effort to source components, and could be even cheaper if you don't sleeve the hoses- you could actually do this for ~$50.
Front windows, rear window, and windshield top strip tinted by Mr. Tint using SunTek Window Films. We have been going to Barry Wood for years and he never fails to impress, great work and reasonable price. And snow day.......
Xpel Ultimate Plus Paint Protection Film (VIDEO) on the mirrors/door handles/windshield trim/lower airdam installed at Sun&Shield Automotive Films, my go-to guys for paint protection. Even though I had the matte black stripe, I was willing to make it shiny using the regular Xpel film since Sun&Shield did not have Xpel Stealth Paint Protection Film- they do not use it a lot with their customer base and understandably did not want to invest in materials they would not use. I was OK with that, but did want them to wrap the trunk so it matched the hood (shiny). Issue: the regular Xpel film looked great on the trunk but when they went to reposition film on the plastic spoiler on the trunk they had paint lift, we mutually agreed not to risk paint lifting on other areas of the car and fortunately the small areas that lifted were hidden with the trunk closed, I was able to source some satin paint that was close enough for touch up.
Fast forward a week and I heard back from some other Xpel installers in the area that did have Xpel Stealth film and were willing to do the front bumper/fenders/rockers: AP3 Atlanta Precision Paint Protection Services. They did wrap most edges and the seam on the hood where Stealth meets Ultimate is invisible.
JBL GTO620 speakers purchased from Crutchfield after reading about how easy it is to upgrade the Bose door speakers and the difference they make in this forum thread-
Manual HERE, Spec Sheet HERE, Video HERE.
I use Crutchfield because other than typically being the cheapest, they also include the speaker brackets, wiring harness adapters, and detailed instructions (however there are some differences between the ND Miata they use and our Fiat 124).
Miata ND Factory Manual door panel removal instructions HERE, there are some variations with the Fiat 124.
AutoRicambi How-to Upgrade Front Speakers on a 2017-on FIAT 124 Spider HERE.
Some helpful information compiled by Ameridan HERE.
Since the door panel was coming off to install the speakers I also ordered the Paco Motorsports Sound Deadening Panels (which are cut to fit and provide a 3db gain) and Road Kill RKFR6 3 Piece Foam Speaker Enhancer System Kit for 6" & 6.5" Drivers by Stinger (instructions HERE)- large ring installed at speaker adapter base but not pictured below. You might also notice I removed the outside pins and wires from the wiring adapters, they were not used in my car so out they went- grab the pins with needle nose pliers and push them out the back.
I had ordered the JBL GX600C (thread HERE) but decided if replacing just the door speakers made the Bose system sound a bit better and more defined it would not be worth going with the component speakers and I could just leave the Bose tweeter in the a-pillar as is......so far so good.
Door Bushings (P/N CS-AA598-713) from CravenSpeed installed. I was originally going to order the Cobalt version from Moss Miata that was on sale but after the price changed between adding product to cart and checkout followed by meh customer service, I decided to go elsewhere. I have used CravenSpeed products in the past with our old R53 Mini Cooper S and the products and customer service have always been excellent along with their FREE shipping. I had a question that was sent via email and received a prompt response less than an hour later
Installation instructions HERE. Forum Discussion HERE and HERE. CravenSpeed blog post detailing how these work HERE.
They have even made open source files available/licensed for those that want to try making their own HERE.
I might have discounted the door bushings but having installed a similar TRD door stabilizer product in our old FRS that actually worked, I was willing to give these a try.
I was looking for a Raceseng Sphereology shift knob and most places had it on backorder since the core was out of stock, they have many shift knobs for the Fiat 124 but this is the one I wanted.
I found someone selling a new knob for their BMW on eBay with correct gate 1 pattern and just had to buy the Mazda Miata ND Adapter (P/N 0811012) to make it work for the Fiat, saving myself ~$30. They also have a taller M10x1.25mm adapter (P/N 081104) that raises the shift knob height but at the expense of not fitting flush with the top of the shift boot and this is what they list for the Fiat.....don't get it.
Installation Instructions HERE, Installation Video HERE.
I thought I had decided what to do for exhaust and stumbled on a lesser known single pipe muffler delete from aFe, MACH Force-Xp 2-1/2" 304 Stainless Steel Axle-Back Exhaust System, P/N 49-36901. At the shipped sale price of $167 I thought I would try it out for a while and could always try something else later if I didn't like it. After adding a Dynomax 36473 Stainless Steel Exhaust Tip, still under $200 all in. The clamp that comes with the tip does not work well, common feedback on Amazon. I ended up sourcing a Nickson U-Bolt Clamp (Nickson P/N 17127 - Oreilly P/N 35337) from O'Reilly Auto Parts, this is the clamp they should have provided as this tip is heavy.
Forum threads HERE and HERE.
aFe video HERE, Deyeme installation video HERE.
aFe installation instructions HERE.
Simple, Light, Sounds great, and no drone.
Thinking of installing Mazda CMU firmware to add Android Auto, I found a few websites:
- Ameridan's Blog with instructions from 68wooley- How To Upgrade to Version 70 (Mazda Firmware Update Procedure HERE)
- v59.00.502+ CMU Serial Access - lucky me with a 2019 on v59.00.563 NA with no way to proceed without serial ID7 installation first. Use v70.00.335+ CMU Serial Access for newer firmware versions.
- CMU Connectors - awesome information I needed to make a wiring harness
So first step in my mind was to make a wiring harness that could be left in the car and plugged in when required. The Sumitomo 8240-0215 connectors that worked with the CMU plug were not available at any of the large elctronics part houses, I ended up sourcing them from Bristol Electronics.
I decided a standard serial cable would work and sourced a Gray YCS Basics 6 Foot DB9 Serial RS232 Cable from Amazon (or HERE in black).
Last but most important, USB to TTL Serial Adapter also sourced from Amazon.
Serial cable cut in half, wires stripped and connector pins crimped (disregard pin on ground wire, that will become a ring terminal to ground at the CMU), found a connector that worked for the center three pins on the usb serial adapter = DONE. After removing the CMU and adding the harness, it will be left in the car for future use so the CMU will not have to be removed again.
Mazda Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Retrofit Kit 0000-8F-Z34/TK78-66-9U0C sourced from Amazon. ID7 Recovery, MazdaToFiatV70AIO, and Mazda AIO 2.8.5 tweaks compiled/written to Kingston Digital 16GB Data Traveler 3.0 USB Flash Drives. After installing ID7 and updating to new Mazda CMU v70 firmware per Ameridan's Blog (don't forget to install 68wooley’s MazdaToFiatV70AIO to get back to Fiat/Abarth logos, correct name for Bluetooth, and functioning OE Nav), the hardware can be installed to add Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, also detailed in Ameridan's Blog and in the Mazda Installation Instructions. To use, reference the Apple CarPlay Quick Start Guide or Android Auto Quick Start Guide.
Decided on an afternoon trip to Bell Mountain in Hiawassee GA, overlooking Lake Chatuge. It had been raining for weeks and with the sun out and temps decent for March 2020, a drive seemed like a good idea. Got to drive the fun curvy roads to get there, parts of 129 and 75 along with some back roads. The last time we were up there was last year in the Alfa 4C.
GFB DV+ (P/N T9356) purchased new on eBay for about 50% off the market price (if you decide to try eBay, make sure you are getting the GFB part, many counterfeits there that look the same). This should make for more consistent boost after replacing the sub-par leaking parts in the OE diverter valve.....so not a complete replacement like Forge. It retains the OE parts that work well and replaces the parts that do not.
Forum Threads HERE, HERE, HERE, and .....many more.
Installation Instructions HERE.
Trunk cargo net from Prestige Auto Accessories eBay store installed. You will receive a net and two posts with NO instructions. Start by removing trunk panel retainers, the center pulls out using a small flat head screwdriver or pick and the retainers can be removed. The posts thread into the holes the retainers were removed from, they will be TIGHT at first but it gets a little easier once they are started.....you may need to borrow a rubber jar opener to get a good grip to get them started. These guys were not great on the customer service side post sale, maybe a different vendor is better.
New tag, MXD DNA since it is based on the Mazda Miata MX-5......but with the differentiating Fiat parts/character.
Since I was installing the new tag, I also decided to install a plate mount to replace the OE mount- two weak holes at the top of the plate through the plastic bumper only, one was already stripped out. The plate mount uses two screws through the plastic bumper and into the metal behind it to hold the mount to the car (drilling 2 holes required), machine screws then hold the plate to the mount securely. Includes all hardware, found on eBay or Amazon.
Oil Analysis performed by Blackstone Laboratories
124 Spider Abarth Documents and Websites:
Reviews and Articles:
Video: *High Speed Connection Recommended*
DIY Guides/Installation Instructions/Videos:
Miata.net slugg: Full, end-to-end Bose speaker replacement guide, with LOTS of pictures! (Ameridan notes HERE, Miata.net Forum thread HERE, Mark Rivera/Paco Motorsports notes HERE and kit HERE)
Android Auto: 68Wooley- CarPlay/Android Auto Software/Hardware Upgrade HowTo (with Ameridan's Blog) OR Mazda AIO.....CMU Serial access for later versions required to install AIO