1981 Fiat Spider 2000 admired by neighbors

Staff reports
Farm Forum

Perseverance can be a blessing. Records indicate that in 1981, Gary Zamarsky purchased a Fiat Spider 2000 with a sticker price near $3,000. He promptly took the metallic green convertible sport car to his home in Nanuet, N.Y., where it rapidly became the object of interest to the neighborhood car aficionados, including a young Jaime Steve.

Steve’s father, Larry, was particularly interested in the sporty Fiat, too. For more than 10 years, Steve says his father pestered his neighbor the car to him. After all, he reasoned, their family lived only a block away, so it wouldn’t be like it was gone forever.

Steve’s father eventually acquired the car in March 2008 with the odometer showing that the car had been driven only 22,000 miles. Both owners lovingly cared for the Italian sports car. Unfortunately, Steve’s father was only able to enjoy the Fiat for a short three years before he died in April 2011.

Steve inherited not just the Fiat from his father, but his affection for the car as well. In August of 2011, Steve took the 2,355-pound Fiat on a joyful road trip to his home in Alexandria. Va.

The mighty 2.0-liter engine in the Fiat is a dual overhead cam four-cylinder that produces 105 horsepower. Riding on 13-inch tires on a 89.75-inch wheelbase, the 63.5-inch-wide and 49.25-inch-high Fiat provided a comfortable ride, although highway motoring is not the car’s forte. The Spider 2000 is meant to enjoy roads that twist and turn.

From behind the three-spoke steering wheel, the driver has a clear view of an 80-mph speedometer, as well as an 8,000-rpm tachometer with a redline of 6,000 rpm. The owner’s manual claims a top speed of 109 mph. A zero-to-60 mph time is also reported in 10.9 seconds; not bad time for a 1981 car.

Steve notes that the plastic sheets covering the interior upholstery — intended by the manufacturer to be removed by the owner at the time of sale — remain in place, still protecting the tan upholstery. The dashboard and the console between the front bucket seats are lined with wood veneer. Heater and defroster controls are located on the center console.

A feature not found on most Fiats of this age is a three-speed automatic transmission with a console-mounted gear selector that moves through the gears from front to rear via Park-Reverse-Neutral-Drive-Second-First.

The sporty car came equipped with such niceties as a mirror in the passenger-side sun visor and an AM/FM radio with two speakers, each mounted on the kick panel under the dashboard.

Steve has driven his Fiat nearly a thousand miles since he took delivery. The Spider 2000 does have a miniscule back seat, which is uninviting at best.

In a nod to safety, the designers of the car incorporated four-wheel servo-disc brakes. Bowing to U.S. government regulations, the graceful chrome bumpers were capped with rubber tips.

Steve is currently enjoying the Fiat as much as he father would have before him. The only difference, he says, is that his father always drove the Fiat with the top up and he always takes it out on fair-weather days with the top down.

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