Has my fairy godmother waved her magic wand? Are we really going to get a new Alfa Spider – but with working electrics and no rust? Frankly it’s about time.
I whooped as I read the press release announcing that Mazda Motor Corporation (Mazda) and Fiat Group Automobiles S.p.A. (Fiat) have signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop a new twin roadsters for Mazda and Alfa Romeo based on Mazda's next-generation MX-5 rear-wheel-drive architecture.
The release says: 'The study calls for both Mazda and Fiat to develop two differentiated, distinctly styled, iconic and brand-specific light weight, roadsters featuring rear-wheel drive. The Mazda and Alfa Romeo variants will each be powered by specific proprietary engines unique to each brand.' (So they'll be the same underneath, but will look different and have their own engines.)
The plan is for both vehicles will be manufactured at Mazda's Hiroshima, Japan, plant with production for Alfa Romeo starting in 2015.
Quotes from top suits: Takashi Yamanouchi, Mazda's Representative Director and Chairman of the Board, President and CEO said "It is especially exciting to be collaborating with such a prestigious marque as Alfa Romeo on a new roadster based on the next-generation MX-5, which is such an iconic vehicle for Mazda and recognised as the best-selling roadster of all time."
Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne "We will be co-operating with the recognised leader in compact rear-drive vehicle architectures in order to deliver an exciting and stylish roadster in the Alfa Romeo tradition."
Quote from me: Whoo-hoo!
It's ironic that the Alfa was one of the only roadsters on sale when the MX-5 brought affordable fun back to the road in 1989, but by that time it was covered in plastic spoilers, and looked decided dated. (Others being the TVR S and Morgan Plus 4 and Plus 8.)
I always felt sad that the Fiat Barchetta (1995 to 2005) didn’t drive like a roadster, being essentially a Punto in a party dress (and left-hand drive only). The Alfa GTV Spider (1995 to 2006) looked sharp, but wriggled and rattled, and I felt very enclosed deep down inside it.
I love Alfas and Fiats, so I can’t wait for this one.