The Dionisio Project—A Roadster Salon build in real time

  • Posted: December 13, 2017
  • by Ray Marchica

We have been asked repeatedly about chronologically following a full restoration in real time on our blog. Several weeks ago, we were contacted by a customer in Switzerland and his son in California about helping them realize their vision of a custom spider, based on our Spider Tributo model. This design would incorporate cosmetic elements of our Spider America (CE), such as the revised proprietary body panels, but would retain the stock Fiat drive line. A computer rendering of their vision was provided, and shown below. We spoke for several weeks about chassis selection, custom features, build process, scheduling, and time line. In early December, we settled on a 1983 Pininfarina from our inventory with 50K original miles as the basis for their project. We selected this chassis for its rarity, rust free tub, original paint, documented low miles, and overall value. Custom builds like the Dionisio Project typically undergo Read the full article

Upgrades Improve Safety Too

  • Posted:
  • by Ray Marchica

Recently an article published in AARP Magazine raised the notion that classic cars designed in the 1960’s and 1970’s are unsafe by today’s standards. There were six areas pointed out by veteran collector Gordon McCall as suspect in classics built prior to the wave of safety requirements mandated in the early 90’s. Inadequate seat belts, poor braking systems, out dated tire design, worm/roller steering systems, sub-standard head lights and the lack of back-up cameras were all sited by McCall as potential safety hazards. While certainly concerning, it should be noted that Fiat/Pininfarina Spiders were ahead of their time compared to other classic sports cars from the same era. Interestingly, proprietary safety and performance upgrades have been the focus of Roadster Salon’s engineering and development team for nearly a decade. While my Dad was fiercely loyal to keeping his restorations as original as possible, he grudgingly admitted that the Spider had Read the full article


  • Posted: August 1, 2017
  • by Ray Marchica

For the second consecutive year, and fourth in the last five, Roadster Salon spiders dominated the Annual National Fiat “Freak-out” car show. The event featured Italian car entries from Fiat and Alfa Romeo. Two Roadster Salon creations were entered in the competition, finishing 1st and 2nd respectively. Both cars garnered tremendous attention from judges, entrants and fans. The First Place finisher was a 2016 Roadster Salon Spider Lusso S2—our original second generation prototype. Based on a 1983 Pininfarina Spider, the stunning Azzurra Blue exterior was beautifully complimented by a contrasting light tan interior and custom makore wood dash. Commissioned by Vince Bonanno in New Jersey, this stunning example was previously featured in several national photo spreads. It is currently being upgraded at our facility in Barrington. The Salon’s second entry was a 2016 Lusso S2 Speciale, owned by perennial show winner Nate Westgor. You may recall his Salon built 1985.5 Read the full article

Sad, familiar tale with happy ending

  • Posted: July 12, 2017
  • by Ray Marchica

A few months ago we received a call from an enthusiastic owner of a 1976 Fiat Spider that had been in his family for many years. Stored much of that time, it was sorely in need of restoration. Per usual, we had the car shipped to our facility to be evaluated. About 20% of Roadster Salon’s annual output is restoring customer supplied spiders, rather than examples selected from our inventory. Some customer owned spiders sent to us are certainly worthy of restoration. However, more frequently, the spiders we inspect have fallen victim to an Italian car’s worst enemy—hidden rust. Structural corrosion, specifically in the shock towers makes a spider difficult if not impossible to safely repair. Frankly it makes little sense to restore a spider, (regardless of sentiment) if the car is not structurally sound. Would you spend thousands of dollars remodeling a home built on a crumbling foundation? Not Read the full article

Featured Restoration: 1975 Fiat Spider

  • Posted: June 13, 2017
  • by Ray Marchica

The following comments were submitted by a customer who sent us his 1975 Fiat Spider keepsake, with tremendous sentimental value. The car arrived a bit tired, and crumbling under the weight of years of amateur tinkering. After some discussion, his goal was to make the car more reliable for stress free drives along the California coast. He also wanted to upgrade the car’s sloppy handling and attend to some sorely needed cosmetic issues. As part of the restoration plan, our technicians upgraded his 1800cc engine to a hand built fuel injected 2.0 jewel. It was custom installed by the Roadster crew to be compatible with the lower original hood line. A complete electrical system overall was combined with a stunning interior refresh. Underneath, our proprietary rack and pinion steering system was adapted, along with suspension, braking and structural enhancements. The project was a fourteen month labor of love. Hello Roadster Read the full article

Roadster Salon Finalizes Production Plans for 2017 and beyond

  • Posted: March 1, 2017
  • by Ray Marchica

The tremendous success of the Lusso S2 has encouraged our engineers to take our modified designs to the next level.  Sales, Marketing and Engineering are all in lock step, agreeing that the Lusso S2 takes the existing Spider platform about as far as we realistically can without making major changes to the suspension and drive line. After spending over two years experimenting with Fiat based alternatives to the original 2.0 Lampredi engine, we decided to go in a completely different direction. Our new models will have clear differences in performance and personality. The “Tributo” will start out as a special edition version of the Lusso S2, but will eventually become its own model. Scheduled for spring 2017, the “Tributo” will feature a restyled interior, up-market materials and an entirely new gauge/dashboard arrangement. Based on the incredible early feedback we have received, the new interior design may eventually find its way Read the full article

Roadster Salon Now Selling the Dream to the DIY Crowd

  • Posted: February 15, 2017
  • by Ray Marchica

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to restore a vintage convertible yourself? Maybe you are considering a fun project to bond with a friend or family member? Looking to save money? For the first time in our history, Roadster Salon is now offering select chassis for sale directly to our customers. These unrestored convertibles are being sold in their original condition, just as they came in. Previously, Roadster Salon Spiders were only sold as fully restored turn-key projects. Basically, we were hoarding everything for ourselves. But now for a limited time, we are making them available to prospective buyers who wish to do all or part of the work themselves. Each of these chassis have been screened and rated. You can find them in the new DIY section of our website. There are definitely some excellent buys here, and more than a few diamonds in the rough. Read the full article

Roadster Salon to offer power steering option for 2017

  • Posted: January 15, 2017
  • by Ray Marchica

The popularity of Spiders with women and older drivers is on the rise. Unfortunately, the Spider’s highly resistive worm and roller steering requires much more effort to turn than a contemporary car, and hence is the source of many complaints from drivers in that segment. While Roadster Salon’s extremely popular rack and pinion option dramatically improves road feel and precision, steering effort still remains higher than on cars with boosted power steering. The weight and inefficiency of traditional fluid based power steering units were not a solution. However, new technology incorporating variable electronic assist has made power augmentation possible. Our design is ideal because it boosts steering for parking and low speed maneuvers, but decreases boost when traveling at road speeds. This option is only available in conjunction with our proprietary rack and pinion upgrade. Please speak with you Roadster Salon project consultant for pricing.

Roadster Salon Now Selling and Rebuilding Fiat 500 Abarth Models

  • Posted: November 15, 2016
  • by Ray Marchica

Aside from offering upgrades for the Fiat 500 Abarth, Roadster Salon now has select used Abarth coupes for sale. In our experience, the Abarth combines practicality with high performance and solid reliability. We currently have about a dozen, very low mile 2012-2016 Abarth models in our inventory, including both coupes and convertibles. While our focus is on finding the finest quality, unmolested examples available, we also have several purchased from insurance companies. These cars previously had light damage, but have been fully repaired and certified by Roadster Salon at significant savings. Although the insurance cars have rebuilt titles, they make great transportation at a reduced price, or even potential track cars. All come with special warranty coverage. The only one who will know about the repaired damage is you. Call and ask about our current inventory and prices.

Customer Review of New Spider Lusso S2, #001

  • Posted: October 16, 2016
  • by Ray Marchica

First, to all at Roadster Salon, THANK YOU for affording me the opportunity to upgrade my previous Avanzato restoration to a full Lusso S2. The care and love you put into the project was inspiring. Roadster Salon’s dedication to excellence shows in the workmanship and attention to detail so apparent in the car. Knowing that I received the first S2 off your production line makes it feel all the more special. The first thing I noticed when I got behind the wheel was the Lusso’s interior finish upgrades. Every surface was covered in fresh, high-end leather. The ventilation system is much improved, with new controls and relocated vents. The new system not only functions much more efficiently, but looks far better. Heat and defrost now actually work like a modern car. The entire interior fits precisely and seems more dialed in than the original spider. Seats are more padded, and Read the full article


2016 Fiat Freakout - 1st place

Roadster Salon was the proud recipient of the 2016 Fiat Detroit FreakOut

2014 Fiat Freakout - 1st place

Roadster Salon was the proud recipient of the 2014 Fiat FreakOut Award, sponsored by Fiat of Chicago!


Garage Style Magazine Issue 23

Roadster Salon, Rich and Rob were all featured in the Winter 2013 issue of Garage Style Magazine. Read Full Article

Garage Style Magazine Issue 25

We’re humbled by this really wonderful write-up on an experience purchasing a Fiat 124 from Roadster Salon, featured in the Spring 2014 issue of Garage Style Magazine. Read Full Article

Auto Italia Issue 221

Auto Italia is brought to you by a group of journalists and photographers united by a passion for Italian cars.

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