In 1981, FMNA jumped on the turbo bandwagon and commissioned the Turbo Spider. This was a time in American car history when turbos were the answer to every performance problem; they could even be found on Chrysler's new invention, the minivan! Unlike the factory Chryslers or even the 'skunk works' Mustang SVO, the Fiat Turbo Spider was pieced together by an independent company called Legend Industries. Conveniently located in New Jersey (home of FMNA and port of entry for most Fiats), Legend took stock Spiders and added the turbo system to them.
Legend had spent a whole 18 months developing the car, which basically meant they figured out a way to put a turbo on it and not blow it up. Peak boost of 6psi came at only 3000 rpm, so the car was no performance demon for the sake of reliability, but did manage to gain 20 hp in the process. A good deal of the system was crudely hand-built, and replacement parts were expensive, including the turbo which cost around $1000 as a replacement part. As was typical of the period, most people who bought them didn't know how to properly care for them, and as turbos failed, the cars were de-turbo'd back to stock in all too many instances.
Aside from the obvious turbo installation, all Turbos had the 14" alloy wheels as pictured along with the stripe kit and logo decals on the fenders. There was a boost gauge in the center of the dash with no numbered markings, only color coded 'zones'. The VIN number will not divulge if the car was originally a turbo, since the cars were pulled at random from the port of entry inventory. Despite the meager power gains, the cars are rather desirable today, and properly cared for deliver reliable service. Indeed, the engines rarely suffered, only the oil cooled turbo unit itself was prone to premature failure. Approximately 700 Turbo Spiders were built.