Henley Beach – Fiat 124 Sport Coupe AC

DSC_0311This beautiful Fiat 124 Sport Coupe AC was spotted parked in Henley Beach on Australia Day. To my eyes the 124 AC’s are the cleanest looking of the 124 Coupe’s, sporting classic 60’s Italian GT styling usually reserved for cars requiring a seriously inflated budget. Built from 1967-1969, the AC is the first of 3 slightly different 124 Coupe models (followed by the BC, then CC), and is easily the rarest. Spotting such an original AC in this condition is a rarity even at a show, let alone parked in the street.

DSC_0316The AC featured an early iteration of the famous Fiat alloy twin cam motor, designed by ex Ferrari engineer Aurelio Lampredi. Lampredi came to Fiat after designing the first Ferrari V12, extensively used by that company in their road and race cars throughout the 50’s, and went on to manage the legendary Fiat Abarth racing and rally team throughout its heyday. The AC came with a 1438cc version of the twin cam, however swapping to the 1800 or 2000cc twin cam engines found in later 124’s is both an easy and common modification.

DSC_0319The AC was an extremely modern car for 1967, coming from the factory with a five speed gearbox, 4 wheel disc brakes and a 4 link panhard rod rear suspension for post 1968 models, in addition to the sophisticated twin cam engine. It’s such a shame that they rusted so much, which in the end was due in no part to Fiat engineering, just the forced use of junk soviet steel by the communist government of the time. It’s a pity that there’s hardly any of these around anymore, because they’re just an affordable, gorgeous, almost glamourous car. The world needs more of those.

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  1. Viano January 30, 2013 Reply

    Aaah, many memories of jousts with 124's in the early days of the Alfa Club in SA !!! Very quick, beautifully-handling, amazing cars.

  2. darrenstops February 1, 2013 Reply

    A white one of these was my daily driver for 14 years, and I sold it very reluctantly. Its reputation for superbly balanced handling was well deserved, and it could be "throttle-steered" through twisty mountain passes with ease, leaving much more powerful cars in its wake. The 5 speed gearbox, if used properly, allowed the driver to keep the engine revs "on-cam" up where the power was. Which is why I always drove with the window down....... a brilliant car.

  3. Ray Finkle February 1, 2013 Reply

    Agreed very pretty car and lovely example.... very clean lines. In our teens drove one from Adelaide to Noosa once over the Christmas holidays and back and it didn't miss a beat.
    Interesting to see the rear number plate has been inflicted with possibly the same over jealous "Mr Policeman" as I had recently experienced forcing me to update my old plates which were the old custom acrylic 70's plates that fitted squarely on the aluminum backing plate...... reason, I was told by the police " The old plates will not read at night for the camera's". Even the old non reflective metal plates are non illegal. Fine is $840.00 (he said you are better off speeding past me). Beware!

    Thanks for taking and sharing the photos.

    • Andrew Coles February 1, 2013 Reply

      Really? Wow.

      I've just got my X1/9 back on the road after a 5 year restoration, and I've put its original plastic plate on the back because, even though it's yellowed, it fits the style of the car way better than the modern plates and looks a lot better. I was under the impression that they were legal so long as it is the actual plate the car came with, but maybe not.

      Are you coming to the Fiat/Alfa club run this Sunday?

      • Ray Finkle February 1, 2013 Reply

        Agree look much better.

        Was advised he could book me 3 ways of he wanted for the $840.00! (pulled out the fines book!) He let me off as I had the new metal plates in the car and explained how they didn't fit on the rear given the configuration of the number plate lights. He promptly advised that Mr Policeman on the bike will not be leaniant and will not hesitate in booking me. Said they are cracking down on this given the revenue raising focus (was very honest with me). Had the R plates and have had to update to the AA plates (now CC) as they offer a square option for the rear. (disappointing). The R plate is only offered in the old rectangular style. Had even recently spent $200.00 on new acrylic plates. You will own the rights still for the R plates for 5 years without re-registering.

        Wasn't aware there was a run on. When/Where? Maybe do a link in your blog/Facebook?

        Just had the suspension redone at Italservice at great expense on the Spider, all re-engineered so the suspension now sits horizontal inline with the road. No more bump steer and turning the steering wheel and putting the power on it pulls around the corner very nicely.

        Look forward to going for a run with you and the X19!

        • Andrew Coles February 1, 2013 Reply

          Ouch, that's not fun with the plate. Such a shame, too.

          Your 124 is sounding great, although I don't think my X19 will be nearly as polished, well not at least for a little while yet. A run would be great sometime.

          The run on Sunday is a combined Fiat Lancia club / Alfa club run for breakfast at Gumeracha. Meet time is 8am at the Burnside Town Hall, it should be good. It will be the first big run for my X19, so I guess there will be lots of people there to witness any failures! Will put a post on FB about it.

  4. Dean Jones February 3, 2013 Reply

    Good luck with the 'first' run (car is looking great). Wife has her weekly Yoga class on...... no luck for me to come along. I will need to book in weeks ahead. Cheers.

  5. pjrebordao February 4, 2013 Reply

    Remember the 850 Sport, the 130 ? Even the humble 128 was quite pretty.
    Fiat had some really beautiful cars in the early 70's, shame so few have survived the crusher.

  6. Ray Finkle February 5, 2013 Reply

    Does mean though that our Fiats one day will be worth something!....especially given the investment some of us make into these highly under rated and undervalued cars.

    See link below....amazing. Possibly even more than the Alfa equivalent!


  7. Mark Southwell February 28, 2013 Reply

    Beautiful car! Have seen it several times as I live nearby. Bought my BC for my 25th birthday in 1977, just (January) taken it off the road for resto, but it won't be as original as this is. Too many mods already! love to see these on the road as they are still among the most beautiful cars built. Love my Italian mistress.

  8. Jason Ross March 3, 2013 Reply

    I still have my AC. Looks very similar to this but with cromodora wheels. Interesting to not that this one does not have wing mirrors (same as mine) which I am told is how they came out originally.

    • David April 16, 2013 Reply

      I have two of these lovely cars. A yellow and a white one. I live in Adelaide and we seem to still have a few of them here although they are becoming very rare. The rego regime is a bit kinder to old cars in SA. I have one on the road (yellow) and one in store. I love driving them and look forward to getting the white one out of storage and restoring it.
      My 15 yo daughter even wants to use one for her wedding ( a long while off I hope) or maybe even two of them!

      • Jason May 4, 2013 Reply

        I used mine for our wedding car. It had just had a fresh paint job. Looked great with the ribbon across the slopey bonnet.

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