If buying an Italian car made in Japan sounds absurdly Fellini-esque, it’s exactly the scene now unfolding at Fiat dealerships. Fiat’s new 124 Spider is made in a Mazda plant in Hiroshima, on the same assembly line as the MX-5 Miata. Odd though it may sound, there’s precedent. Legend has it that famous Italian trader Marco Polo brought pasta to Italy from Asia in the 13th century, and that, we can probably all agree, turned out fine.
The likenesses run deep in these two roadsters. Both have the same 90.9-inch wheelbase and unibody structure. The control-arm front- and multilink rear-suspension layouts are identical, except each has its own springs, dampers, and anti-roll bars. Here’s more international intrigue: U.S.-based Fiat engineers aided in the 124’s suspension tuning. Marco? Polo!
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