Spider Gaining Ground on Show Car Circuit

Sunday’s Italian car Concours event in Geneva Illinois was surreal. Sitting in the same row as a stunning Maserati Bora and Ferrari 458 convertible was our entry, a 1985.5 Pininfarina Spider. Fresh off a “best in class” win at the National Fiat Event last month—and finished in the same paint and leather as the Ferrari, the Spider looked right at home. The fact our car was even granted admission to this prestigious event was a big win for Roadster Salon and Fiat. But the response we received from the crowd was even more gratifying. This kind of affirmation by show circuit cronies and the general public was unexpected, and only a dream several years ago.




A short distance away from our sweetheart, were high dollar classics like the 1954 Maserati A6G roadster, and a well sorted 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB.  For the vintage car enthusiast, this was sensory overload. Yet among these titans, our lovely Pininfarina stood tall. As I waded through the crowded streets of downtown Geneva, there were literally scores of contemporary sports cars parked proudly by their owners. A pearl yellow Lamborghini Murcielago caught my eye. On the next block were a brand new silver Ferrari California, and a black Porsche 911 GT3 that seemed tame by comparison. I wondered which one of these modern cars would be looked upon as kindly 25 years from now, as the Spider is today. It’s clearly a timeless Pininfarina design, and continues to grow in prestige with each passing year.

Current spider owners need only be patient. The trend is your friend. The death of Sergio Pininfarina has created a surge of collector car interest in all Pininfarina designed automobiles. The 1983-1985 Pininfarina Spider was the only automobile ever produced under Pininfarina’s own name.  Few people realize that there were fewer of his cars built during the period than those made by Ferrari. In that context, the Spider is a rare treasure indeed.

This is not to say that the Spider is fully appreciated by everyone. There is no denying the Ferrari DNA, which is part of every Spider ever built. But some Italian car aficionados refuse to give credit when due.  The Spider was a beautiful, well balanced sports car, at least twenty years ahead of its time. Clearly, the perception of these cars in the marketplace is changing. Sharp increases at high-line auctions recently for both Fiat and Pininfarina versions of the spider are a testament to this new attitude and growing popularity. The 1969 Fiat Spider, 81-82 Spider turbo, and 85.5 Pininfarina have led the way. Even high volume versions built from 73-80 have seen prices edge higher.

Whether the Spider becomes the next darling of the collector car market remains to be seen.  But for one day, at one Concours d’Elegance, it was clear the Spider belonged in this elite collection of Italian art.