Hooniverse Weekend Edition – A 1979 Fiat Autobianchi Abarth A112

Since this is still in the Malaise Era, I was tempted to put the tag “Malaise-O-Rama” with it, but decided not to do it. This is a very obscure car that wasn’t quite available here in the states, at least to my knowledge. So what do you think of the rarefied Italian hatchback?

According to the listing:

The Abarth name has been around in it’s full racing glory since the 1950’s. Carlo Abarth was famous for small output motors that won hundreds of races during his hey-day starting w/about 600cc motor’s thru his top performers having over 2000cc’s. This example of a late model factory authorized Abarth was made by Fiat/Lancia under the Autobianchi nameplate in Italy. It was Italy’s version of an econobox that competed against the UK’s Mini Cooper. The A112 had many different models to choose from. he most interesting version was the A112 Abarth, introduced in 1971. It was prepared by the motorsports division of the Fiat Group, at first with a 982 cc engine, obtained increasing the stroke, coupled to a sportive exhaust, a twin 2 barrel carburetor & a different camshaft. In 1975, displacement was increased to 1049 cc, while power climbed from 57 HP to 70 HP at 6600 rpm, w/a weight of only 1,543 lbs. It was much admired by young performance enthusiasts. The car was entered in various rallying events throughout Europe and even spawned a one-make trophy race. Rarely seen in the US, this A112 was imported from Italy by a Dutchman in Texas 6 years ago. It is a wonderful example of a front engine/front drive car that performs like no others. It is in great original condition having all of it’s original paintwork, interior & trim from new. It’s light Blue metallic paint is faded a bit, but still appears beautiful. It’s tan velour & vinyl interior is quite comfy & very sporty down to it’s 2 spoke Abarth steering wheel. It has a mere 69,000 kilometers which translate to only 43,000 original miles. It was also featured in a Euro magazine a few years back. It has an 8000 RPM redline w/power to burn rubber, thanx to the technical aspect of the Abarth design. The Abarth extras include a front hood scoop that draws cool air into it’s motor & makes that complicated carb do it’s thing. It has upgraded suspension & exhaust system to really push this little car fast ! It also has a set of 13″ Campy wheels that look period correct. Dare to be different ?

The buy-it-now price is $17,500, which it just a bit rich for this particular car. See the eBay listing here. So, what do you think this car should really sell for, and would you ever consider an Autobianchi, or even any Abarth model? Let me know in the comments.

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  1. Cynic Avatar

    I'm not sure about the price, but if 60s full-production-run American sedans can go for over $60 thousand on Barrett-Jackson, this is worth over 120 thousand.

  2. tonyola Avatar

    Hooniverse Axiom #1: Just because a car is rare in the US doesn't automatically mean it's valuable.
    This box is fairly cute, but where do I begin here? First, it's essentially a '70s Fiat (Autobianchi was a wholly-owned subsidiary), so concepts like reliability and rust protection won't really apply. Second, you won't find parts in North America. Don't go to your newly-established Fiat 500 dealer for help. Third, even with the vaunted Abarth name, this isn't exactly the recipe for orgasmic excitement – a tepid little car has been warmed up a bit. Unless you're a hopeless Italophile, get a nice Rabbit or Golf GTI for a fraction of the asking price.

    1. mdharrell Avatar

      I am deeply offended by, and in complete agreement with, all of your points.

    2. Alff Avatar

      Right on all counts. I want it.

    3. Black Steelies Avatar

      Just because a car isn't valuable doesn't mean the seller will charge valuable car prices and sometimes even find buyers that oblige.

  3. scoutdude Avatar

    Cool little car, the front end reminds me of the Honda 600 sedan.

  4. Van Sarockin Avatar
    Van Sarockin

    It's a nice piece. But for the era, I might prefer to get a LeCar and play with it. The underlying FIAT platform was pretty ancient at this point, and some of the styling is pretty kludgy.

  5. kah Avatar

    I admit I was in a just glancing at all the Malaise weekend posts with as little interest as I had in any of those cars when they were new, but this one (I Love It!) the wheels the 2tone color the hood scoop those beautiful big round eyes with the black eyeliner this is the 70s Styling idea I want back well this and trucks like the Datsun 620

  6. luisthebeast Avatar

    I'm loving that hoodscoop, but the price is a little high. Bring it down by 10k and maybe we'll have a deal.

  7. Jim-Bob Avatar

    I like it, but not for that kind of money. If I am correct then this is essentially a Fiat 127 underneath and the US most definitely did get that chassis. It was called the Yugo GV (although this is more akin to the "sporty" Yugo GVX.) Now, would I pay nearly $20k for a Yugo? No. Thus I will not pay that kind of money for this either. At half the money I would probably think about it but not for this price.

    1. BЯдΖǐL-ЯЄРΘЯΤЄЯ Avatar

      The yugo was based on a fiat 127 and was build crappier in eastern europe, so that would make it crap², the Autobianchi however was build on the same based fiat 127 but was build by trainee mechanics for Ferrari which made it a little less crap (1/3 crap) but with the Abarth package you would not whine about it's crappyness, but yes the price they ask for this one is far into the CP range.

      1. Jim-Bob Avatar

        True, but the Yugo did have the more advanced Fiat SOHC engine from the 128, Strada, X 1/9, Lancia beta, etc. whereas this had the old push rod engine out of the 850. So, in a way, the Yugo was actually a more advanced car than this. Was it actually better…..probably not. However, it is an entertaining discussion to have as Fiat seems to have mastered platform prostitution than anyone else in the 1970's.
        As an aside, I just have to wonder why Fiat used a transverse leaf spring for the front suspension's support and upper control arms on this chassis like Trabant did on the P50, P60 and P601. It seems to me that it would give less than optimal geometry.

  8. cat0 Avatar

    These cars are actually raced in a norwegian racing series called Corsa Italiana. These are in the lowest class, but they run great. Great fun seeing them pass Ferrari 355s. I'm guessing I can't post pictures here, but they look great going around corners with 1-2 wheels in the air.
    But the price on this one is totally bonkers.

    1. Alff Avatar

      You can post pictures! Just replace the parentheses with less than/greather than symbols"
      (img src="picture URL"width=500)

    2. mdharrell Avatar

      Please do post some pictures! The format in use here is:
      <img src="http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5136/5586925630_703e776e4b.jpg&quot; width="450">
      You can adjust the width as needed, but please keep it small enough that the whole image can be seen without scrolling. Make sure you use the angle brackets, quotation marks, and other parts as shown. You can even go back and edit your comment to adjust the results as many times as you like, until someone comments on it. After that it's locked.

        1. Alff Avatar

          I've been trying to convince my wife to emigrate to Norway. You've just given me one more reason to redouble my efforts.

          1. cat0 Avatar

            Well, believe it or not, it's not that bad here. At least now, when the snow is rapidly disappearing. Soon, more italian races, I'll try to get some better pictures this time around. According to rumors there will be even more A112's this year.

      1. skitter Avatar

        An image of image instructions.
        You, sir, are a genius.

    3. Black Steelies Avatar

      Normally I have to wait for monday Morning Qualifying for interesting automotive competition pictures. I guess we can make an exception this time, haha.

  9. facelvega Avatar

    Outdated chassis, endless technical gremlins, not even all that fast, way overpriced, and only technically bears a famous sport tuner name. But why talk about a new Mini Cooper when we could drool over this little Fiat instead?

  10. dwegmull Avatar

    My mom had three of these during the 70s/80s, including an Abarth. She did not keep the Abarth very long because it was "too powerful"…
    Seeing this ad, I asked my girlfriend if she would buy it instead of the new Fit she wants to get one of these days.To my great surprise Not surprisingly, she said no.
    I have to admit that a quarter of the price, I would be very tempted…

  11. JoeDunlap Avatar

    Am I the only one who noticed that that hood scoop directs air directly into the heater box? That is, assuming its actually functional.

  12. dukeisduke Avatar

    Has that car been sitting for awhile? It has a Florida plate on it, but a Texas inspection sticker that ran out in November, 2005.

  13. Stumack Avatar

    These were imported into Canada very briefly in the early '80s. A college housemate whose father was a used car dealer had one for a while – great fun to bomb around in. I don't think I ever saw another one on the street.

  14. GTP_Sultan Avatar

    While my knowledge of it is limited (Only from Gran Turismo 5), it's one of the most fun cars to drive around the Nurburgring. And 212hp on 700 or so Kg equals a fast little car.

  15. Cleberson Avatar

    Looks a lot like the small car from Live from Speed.