The Rotary-Powered Fiat 124
WTF Is That?

Before I delve into the Fitted Friday IV judging experience, I want to share what just might be the most random encounter of my Speedhunters career so far. First, let me set the scene…

It is beautiful Friday morning in Sydney; it’s almost winter time but the sun is still shining and it’s pleasantly mild. We’re in the middle of set up for Fitted Friday at Sydney Dragway and all morning we can hear the gentle sound of low-powered single seaters running next door at Sydney Motorsport Park. I wouldn’t say it was sudden, but there was a distinct change in the sound coming from the direction of the circuit at one point later in the morning. I wasn’t the only one that noticed it as someone else mentioned that they must be running an ex-F1 or similar car. We didn’t really think much more of it.

CS Fiat 124 20B by Paddy McGrath-1

Until lunch time. A few of us headed to the track to grab something to eat at the cafe located in the paddock, a short walk from where we were working that morning. We must have timed it perfectly because as we reached the track, the same sound emanated from the paddock as it was leaving the pits. Curious, we headed trackside to see what was creating this incredible sound.

There was a strange grouping of cars on track though. A relatively stock-looking but race-prepped MX-5 was being hunted down by a Lamborghini Gallardo Super Trofeo race car, followed by an ex-V8 Supercar amongst a plethora of other vintage and modern machinery.

CS Fiat 124 20B by Paddy McGrath-2

It was obvious it wouldn’t be a single seater, but I don’t think we were quite expecting the now clearly rotary sound to be coming from this, a Fiat 124. Curiosity piqued.

This video won’t win any Oscars, but it should give you an idea of what we heard. And it sounded even crazier at full throttle somewhere out the back of the circuit. For good measure, I’ve dropped another video I managed to find on YouTube into the bonus chapter below.

CS Fiat 124 20B by Paddy McGrath-18

You would think the biggest part of this story has already happened, but there’s so much more to this Fiat than I could have ever expected. It wasn’t difficult to find in the open pit lane, but things definitely got more impressive when we got closer.

CS Fiat 124 20B by Paddy McGrath-6

The most obvious observation is that there doesn’t seem to be any engine here at first glance.

CS Fiat 124 20B by Paddy McGrath-10

In fact, you have to look pretty hard to see the three-rotor, peripheral ported 20B motor lurking at the back. I couldn’t even tell it was a 20B to be honest; I had to ask the driver and builder, Joe Said, for further information. As it turns out, I probably couldn’t have bumped into a friendlier and more eager person than Joe to talk about his creation.

CS Fiat 124 20B by Paddy McGrath-3

The car was built to compete in a seemingly relaxed series known as the CAMS NSW Motor Race Championship. Why a Fiat 124 body? Well, Joe has raced Fiats his whole life and it’s what he’s known for. Plus, nobody really expects to hear a screaming rotary under the Italian body.

CS Fiat 124 20B by Paddy McGrath-8

The series has a pretty open rulebook, but it does have a limit as to how far back the engine can be mounted, which is approximately no further than halfway back the distance of the wheelbase. I think you can probably guess that anything else isn’t going to upset the organisers too much.

CS Fiat 124 20B by Paddy McGrath-12

It’s only when you look inside the car that you get a proper appreciation for how far rearward the motor has been mounted; it practically lives in the cabin with the driver. My memory is a bit vague (I should have taken notes but I was caught between being awe struck and needing to get back to work), but the car makes somewhere north of 400hp with a hard-cut rev limit of 10,200rpm.

CS Fiat 124 20B by Paddy McGrath-11

If I was to put together a spec list on this, I’d imagine the words ‘custom’ and ‘bespoke’ would feature repeatedly. The whole car has been designed and built by Joe himself; he confesses to having quite a passion for engineering and design.

CS Fiat 124 20B by Paddy McGrath-14

It certainly was a big surprise to come across this creation, and something I had to share with you, despite the lack of time and detail to delve further into what is a fascinating race car. I believe Joe reads Speedhunters, so maybe he’ll pop up in the comments with more information. If not, I guess we’ll just have to find him again…

Paddy McGrath
Instagram: pmcgphotos
Twitter: pmcgphotos

More From Sydney Motorsport Park on Speedhunters

Bonus Video & Images

CS Fiat 124 20B by Paddy McGrath-4
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CS Fiat 124 20B by Paddy McGrath-13
CS Fiat 124 20B by Paddy McGrath-15
CS Fiat 124 20B by Paddy McGrath-16
CS Fiat 124 20B by Paddy McGrath-17


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oh Pete the perfect pilot would loooooove this post.

check out his comments on previous posts.... i just found it and had a great laugh.
no offence petey, i'm a huge rotor fan myself.


On the second picture I saw the Evo before the Fiat U0001f602


Good spotlight. Sweet hunt.


Great stuff Paddy! Great to see some Australian Circuit racing cars getting a run. 

Without being petty - This car runs in a class called Sports Sedans, which is a part of the CAMS NSW Motor Race Championship. Sports Sedans is a really cool class that allows competitors to build almost anything that they can dream up. Another class that Speedhunters readers would potentially like is IPRA (Improved Production Racing Association). Links to both below. and


Actual boner!


Ridiculously cool! I can definitely see why you thought it was an old f1 car from the sound, love it!!


Bonkers! Do want more of these kind of vehicles!


Awesome, car sounds gnarly! Really great find Paddy, and mega cheers for engine pics and specs!


Nice cover Paddy, As soon as I saw the title I knew it was Joe's 124. That is one beautiful piece of machine and a top bloke,

turbo BEAMS ae86

no air vw  more this

turbo BEAMS ae86

tongue and cheek , men


God that is sexy


Now THAT is a damn fine looking automobile.


OMG I Love Sports Sedans. Thank you Speedhunters!


Pushrod suspension, CNC milled link plates, tube chassis..
Stop, stop! I can only get so erect.


Where's the eng-


This car is insane!! I love it :DD


This post needs NSFW warning.


Wow wow wow. That video changed this post from a already awesome post to straight out of this world. That sound is amazing (and I'm not a huge rotary fan)!!


DAMN THAT'S ******************
Really awesome build, thx Paddy


this fiat is f**king glorious


1.Tube chassis
2. Front-mid engine
 3. Push-rod suspension
 4. Wide body
 5. Awesome fabrication and engineering

I AM IN LOVE. What an amazing build. This makes up for the last 50 mundane articles I filtered through.


spdcrzy Right! lol


Hey Joe, cheers from Chris McCarthy from the 70's. Had a lot of fun chasing you at Amaroo and Oran Parks!


Not CNC all done by hand.


What an awesome ride! I wish i had the capacity to build something like this, maybe one day. Very well executed, super clean, way too many things to mention. Top notch build, gorgeous car!!!


Check out this on board video!




good car for the race and I'm sure very fast


the car was very good 
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