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Fiat 131 Abarth

The Fiat 131 Abarth designed by Bertone.

Vehicle Overview

The Fiat 131 Abarth Rally stands as a testament to the golden era of rallying, a masterpiece born out of the collaboration between Fiat and Abarth during the late 1970s. This high-performance rally car, produced in a limited run of 400 specimens between 1976 and 1978, not only replaced the aging 124 Abarth Rally but also went on to carve its place in the annals of motorsport history. The need for a successor to the outdated 124 Abarth Rally prompted Abarth to embark on a new project. Initially considering the Fiat X1/9 as the base for their rally car, plans took a turn when FIAT decided to shift focus to the evolution of the existing Fiat 131. Bertone, already in the advanced stages of producing 500 units for homologation in Group 4, adjusted course to meet the requirements of the new directive from FIAT. The Fiat 131 Abarth was thus conceived, with Abarth taking the lead in its development. In 1975, the first iteration of the Fiat 131 Abarth appeared, based on the two-door version of the Fiat 131. However, it was the Fiat 131 Abarth Bertone prototype that truly marked the beginning of this rally legend. The prototype, designed by the Bertone Style Center in Caprie, boasted strikingly different body lines compared to the standard Fiat 131. Under the hood, it housed a formidable 3.2 V6 engine derived from the Fiat 130, with its cubic capacity increased to 3,481 cm³. Fueled by three Weber carburetors, the engine generated a staggering 270 horsepower at 6,800 rpm. This potent powertrain allowed the Bertone prototype, designated as the 031, to achieve a top speed of 260 km/h. The gearbox, a ZF five-speed transaxle, ensured smooth and efficient power delivery. Giorgio Pianta, at the helm of this prototype, demonstrated its prowess by claiming victory in the 1975 Giro d’Italia. This success not only validated the capabilities of the prototype but also served as a crucial learning experience for the subsequent development of the Fiat 131 Abarth Rally. The Fiat 131 Abarth Rally, in its final production form, became an icon in the World Rally Championship. Between 1976 and 1982, it clinched three constructors’ world championships, an FIA Drivers’ Cup, and a drivers’ world championship. Its dominance on the rally stage solidified its place as one of the most successful rally cars of its era. The legacy of the Fiat 131 Abarth Rally endures, not only as a symbol of automotive engineering and racing prowess but also as a reminder of an era when rallying captivated the imaginations of motorsport enthusiasts worldwide.

fiat 131 abarth

Technical Specifications

  • Body
  • Year
    1975
  • Make
    Fiat
  • Model
    131
  • Coachbuilder
    Bertone
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  • Units built
    400
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    V6
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