Spied: 2017 Fiat 124 Spider

Miata-based mules spotted in Metro Detroit.

The Fiat 124 Spider was caught on the road in Metro Detroit, showing off camouflaged front- and rear-end elements on what is otherwise a last-generation Miata body.

The powertrain mules are obviously sporting modified body work under the camo, with a large grille opening visible through the front webbing; a narrow, lowered nose; and a pronounced hood cut-out. The rear end reveals less; only a subtle duck-tail on the deck lid is pronounced enough to be noteworthy.

Though powertrain details have not been announced, it is expected that the 124 Spider will utilize the 1.4L Multiair turbo four, and there will be standard and Abarth versions available. A six-speed manual should be offered alongside either a conventional automatic or a dual-clutch gearbox, both of which have been paired with the small turbo in other products. Which transmission will be selected for longitudinal/rear-wheel-drive duty in this application remains a mystery.

Last December, it was reported that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles had filed a trademark application for the names 124 and 124 Spider. At the Geneva Motor Show, FCA head Sergio Marchionne was pointedly asked by AutoExpress whether his re-branded Mazda had a name yet, at which point he confirmed that it would be called the 124.

It was announced previously that the Mazda would launch in late 2015, while the FCA version, then billed as an Alfa Romeo, would be released in 2016. However, since the initial statement, Marchionne "demoted" the Mazda to a Fiat, pledging that no Alfa Romeo would be built outside of Italy. Both the Mazda MX-5 and the Fiat version will be built at Mazda's Hiroshima, Japan factory.

The original Fiat 124 Spider was a roadster built from 1966-1982 atop the platform of Fiat's popular 124 sedan with bodywork designed by styling house Pininfarina. After Fiat ended production it was sold as the Pininfarina Spider Azzura until 1985.

Photos by Brian Williams.

Read more!