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I recently bought Fiat 124 Spider. I bought it year-round driving in mind, and I live in Finland, Europe with good winter. The soft top can handle the cold conditions but ice in seams and mud, salt and other splashes will be hard on the soft top. Therefore I ordered Abarth 124 Spider GT carbon fiber hard top (https://www.italo-welt.de/Abarth-124-Spider-Hardtop-Carbon-Originalzubehoer) for winter use. This article describes how to install the hard top on my car.

I paid an eye watering 3700 EUR for the top. In internet there is a spare part manufacturer and web shop offering a similar hard top half the price. However, the American roof provider did not respond to emails. I also read from forums they may have both quality and delivery difficulties. Therefore my choise was the expensive original part.


Roof mounting really brief:


  1. Soft top open and in the rear position
  2. Trunk lid open
  3. Remove slabs and millennium falcons
  4. Put the hardtop in place with a friend and latch it to the edge of the windshield same way as the soft top is latched.
  5. Screw in the two bolts at the slab holes
  6. Close trunk lid
  7. Install the two brackets and screw in their bolts near the B-beam
  8. Switch the rear window heater connection from the soft top for the new hardtop
The longer and detailed install in following chapters:
 

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The hard top arrived in fortnight. It was packed in an oversized 80x150x110 cm box. The roof was not attached in to the box in any way. Instead, there was decent padding.

I removed the hard top from it's packaging at the shop. The roof seemed intact and without scratches. It could easily fit into my Volvo vagon.



The roof also had accessories and owner's manual (in English and few other languages) for mounting the roof. The roof is secured in place with two metal brackets (pictured right lower) and four bolts.

I was surprised by the number of accessories and small parts. On the basis of the manual and curiously looking at that pile, quite a lot of parts are left unused.Is the same roof also Mazda MX-5 NG spare part? At least those two hole supports (2 pcs in the plastic bag at the bottom of the picture) seem to be of no use, and there is excessive amount of sticker tape and velcro.



Maybe I should find the official maintenance manual. They usually have more detail than the owner's manual.
 

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Installation of the roof also begins with the removal of these plastic slabs and underlying support that I named as milleniun falcons.



To remove the slab gently pull the front of the slab upward and backward, there is a sticker underneath. The slab moves backwards about 5 mm. You need to have the trunk lid open for this, otherwise it will not have space to move.

After the slab is removed, unscrew the millenium falcon shaped (sort of) brackets.

Looking at the bottom of the slab makes me wonder the mechanical engineering in Italy; That is not a very strong design for, say, 10 years of use and disassembly and asembly of these slabs. Maybe this is the reason there is also velcro to use for the season the slabs need to be in place and hardtop is stored in garage.
 

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After removing the lids, the installation continues by putting the foam pads in place. They land just behind the door. The pads keep the roof lining in place and block wind.

I'm sure that at some point when I remove the hardtop I will forget those in place, and then in her first run, they fly away. I need to remember to take dimensions of these so that I can manufacture backups, when I have lost the original ones next spring...


 

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Next the roof can be landed in place (the rear trunk still open) and fastened to the top of the windscreen with the same latch as the soft top. This phase requires two people. Although the hardtop is light it is a bit of an object to move about alone.

After this, the roof rear attachment points should align with the holes revealed by the removal of the slabs and millenium falcons. Note that the hardtop must be pressed down manually so that the holes align. There is a rubber seal between the car and the roof and that needs to be compressed.

Underneath the fastening screw, there is a washer with braids for the plastic cap on top. This mechanical engineering if this part either did not convince me. The fit of the parts is poor and I feel that after a few years the plastic tops can be written as either lost or broken.


 

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Then comes the hard part. Mount the other two bolts and support brackets on each side where a B column would be. The brackets come inside just behind the door and the place is difficult and tight to operate with.

Note that the brackets are not identical, they are mirror images of each other. They are not marked for side so you need to do some testing. I tried several times on both sides untill I was convinced I had it right. After this I labeled brackets for L and R for the future.




The hook at the end of the bracket goes around the soft top seal. When tightening the brackets one must be careful not to squeeze and brake that seal.

Placing the bracket and bolt in the correct position, and then screwing the bolt requires aircraft mechanic's fingers. For me the left side went in quite painlessly (bolt in the below picture halfway in) after I figured out following posture; Screw it facing forward of the car with right hand behind my back while supporting my body with the left hand from the threshold of the door. Nope, cannot see what you are doing unless you have an eye in your but. A second posture is more sensible but less fun to explain, you will figure your postures out when you are installing your bolts.





I put the bracket fork hidden inside the roof upholstery.
 

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The right side mounting posture is a mirror image of the left side. But here I ran in to trouble. The bolt did not seem to go in no matter how hard I tried, and whatever weird new postures I came up with. After struggle I gave up trying, removed left side attachments, rear attachments and lifted the roof up to see the hole up close and personal.


Turns out the hole in carbon body and underlying threads do not align. Also, there was some leftover resin in the threads. No wonder I could not get the bolt in. Note to new owners; Chek these bolt holes BEFORE you start installing the roof, you will save your self from a lot of frustration!

This quality was a big disappointment against the price of the roof. I did send back feedback to the manufacturer, we'll see what's being answered in the future.

Fortunately, the repair was easy to do by widening the hole. I also cleared the threads with a tool.
 

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When I was struggling with these brackets and bolts, I came up with idea to place a mirror inside the rear window. Through the mirror you can see the hole where the bolt needs to go (picture straight from the top through the rear window).




Maybe a bigger mirror would be even better, but this I had within 2 meters where I was working. Lazy does what lazy gets.
 

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I still have one thing left to do. The rear window of the new roof has a heater that can be switched in place of the soft top window heater. Despite persistent search, I could not locate connecting wires nor connectors for this.

The owner's manual is a bit blurry and unclear at this point. It's pictures are small and from one angle only. It is also possible that this is where the Abarth 124 Spider (whose accessory the roof is) and the Fiat 124 Spider (my car) are different.

Does anyone have more details on this area? Perhaps actual service manual images to reveal if there are differences. Or other hints for the cable hunt?
 

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In the end I am super happy with the outcome. The roof looks good and is much more silent than the soft top. I am ready for some serious snow and cold (and I do have warm garage at home and in office).

The resources and links related to this topic:

And yes, I have winter tires (mandated by law in Finland); Monaco [FONT=&quot]7.5x17 4/100 ET40 B73.1 [/FONT]rims and Pirelli Sottozero 3 205/45R17 tires. There was no proper Nordic winter tires available at this size so I had to do with Mid-Eu winter tires...
 

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I agree with Spoolin32; that roof looks absolutely fantastic.

Is it lined? Perhaps show some pictures where it mounts at the windshield?

Apart from a few quality glitches in mounting, while it seems expensive, I think that’s what I’d expect to pay for the hard top $3k to $4K usd.
 
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Discussion Starter #16
I still have one thing left to do. The rear window of the new roof has a heater that can be switched in place of the soft top window heater. Despite persistent search, I could not locate connecting wires nor connectors for this.

Does anyone have more details on this area? Perhaps actual service manual images to reveal if there are differences. Or other hints for the cable hunt?

Anyone out there able to help with this one?
 

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Looks great. Fun write up and humor.

I don't have the service manual but I think there are a few on here that do, hopefully they chime in.

good luck.

aloha mike
 
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Love this. I would enjoy a hardtop for winter use as well. Debating on if it worth it or not but the results are stunning. Thanks for taking the time to write this up and share the information.
 

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That looks amazing. I may need to get your details to order from you in Europe and have it shipped to Canada as apparently we can’t get it here... please send a private message to connect with personal details if your ok with that. Cheers
P.
 

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Hi Santtu and thanks for the amazing post about the Mopar Hard top! I wanted to ask you if the omolagation number (or plate) of your 124 abarth respects the requirements written on Mopar and Italo-welt websites (e3*2007/46*0474*.. With last numbers higher than 03 (eg. e3*2007/46*0474*03, e3*2007/46*0474*04…)).
My question originates from the fact that I found a very nice used 124 abarth turismo from 2017 but the omolation number does not respect this requirement and I will really need to install the hardtop...
Thanks!

Ps: imho that omolation number refers only to 124 abarth Gt's, since it is sold as a spare part
 
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