It seemed like a match made in heaven. The 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata would serve as the basis for a new version of one of the classic sports cars that inspired it: the Alfa Romeo Spider.
Alfa would get a high-quality platform to work with, Mazda could amortize development costs with larger volumes, and enthusiasts everywhere would get two great roadsters to choose from. It sounded fantastic, until Alfa backed out.
While we continue to wait for a drop-top 4C, Alfa parent Fiat reportedly has other plans for the MX-5 platform.
There are plans to use Mazda’s sports car as the basis for a new Fiat Abarth model, according to Britain’s CAR.
Alfa Romeo and Maserati brand chief Harald Wester said the MX-5 will “probably find a new home with Fiat-Abarth” in a recent interview with the magazine.
Abarth is known to most car buyers for making sporty versions of the Fiat 500, but it before it became Fiat’s in-house tuner, Abarth was an independent company that built some of its own cars from Fiat components.
Fiat itself is no stranger to two-seat sports cars, either. The 124 Spider and wedge-shaped X1/9 have both developed loyal followings.
There was also the more recent Barchetta, which was deemed more likable than a Miata by the hosts of Top Gear after their Christmas road trip through the Middle East. Now that’s an endorsement.
There are clearly a lot of possibilities for a Mazda-Abarth collaboration, although the final product will probably have to wait until the 2016 Miata goes on sale itself next year.