Is this 1983 Fiat Spider EV conversion worth Porsche 911 GTS money?

Byron Hurd

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$140,000 can buy a lot of car. Nothing about Fiat Spiders built in the 1980s would be described as "a lot," unless you're referring to the quantity of maintenance that is sometimes required just to keep them on the road. In that context, this eBay find, a 1983 Pininfarina Spider America EV conversion, might be a bit of a two-for-one. Not only do you get a lot more power, but you might even get a lot more reliability. 

Sure, you could score a brand-new Porsche 911 Carrera GTS for the price of this humble Italian roadster, but the fine folks of Roadster Salon think they might be able to make it worth your while. 

This conversion retains the stock five-speed manual transmission, but mates it to a dual-motor electric drive unit that produces an unspecified amount of horsepower and more than 200 pound-feet of torque. Admittedly, those numbers don't really stack up nicely against the brand-new Porsche's, but, hey, at least it's a manual?

The power unit itself is supplied by Electric GT, which has carved out a niche for itself developing electric "crate motors" that are as close to plug-and-play as possible, which should be a point in favor of this conversion's overall build quality, as custom fabrication would have been kept to a minimum. 

Roadster Salon will also go over the suspension and steering components, updating them to modern standards (and ostensibly to support the extra power from the EV conversion), so you're getting more for your money than just some electron-pumping spinny bits. 

So, it's much fancier than your run-of-the-mill 1980s Fiat Spider; you just have to spend a lot more money for the privilege. Like, an astronomical amount. Oh, and the car hasn't actually been built yet; what you're bidding for is a build slot in a forthcoming 2020-21 production allocation. 

If you desperately want your own Fiat Pininfarina Spider America EV but can't stomach the $139,995 price tag, we have great news. Roadster Salon will sell you an "EV Junior" variant, which retails for just $89,995 — a bargain!

Alternatively, you can wait for Electric GT to finalize its crate Fiat crate EV motors for mass production and just slap one together yourself. How hard can it be?

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