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1978 Autobianchi A112 Abarth
Chassis no. 2003077

"The performance of FIAT engines, as modified by Carlo Abarth, has for long been held to verge on the supernatural." – John Bolster, Autosport magazine.

After leaving Cisitalia in 1948, Austrian-born engineer Carlo Abarth set up as an independent in Turin, the home of the Italian auto industry. From producing induction and exhaust systems, Abarth branched out into selling performance kits for - mainly FIAT - production cars, later building a highly successful series of sports prototypes and limited-series production cars. Of course, Abarth technology could just as easily be applied to any of FIAT's subsidiary marques, including Bianchi, as seen here in the form of the Abarth-tuned A112.

Based on a shortened FIAT 128 platform, the Autobianchi A112 was introduced in November 1969 and would go on to form the basis of the FIAT 127, remaining in production until 1986, by which time over 1.2 million had been built. Styled by the legendary Marcello Gandini - creator of the Lamborghini Miura, Countach and Diablo – the A112 was only offered as a three-door hatchback. It was powered initially by the 903cc four-cylinder overhead-valve engine of the FIAT 850, driving the front wheels. The A112 was progressively updated and re-styled through no fewer than eight series, the upmarket Abarth version first appearing in September 1971.

At first the A112 Abarth used a 982cc engine equipped with a different camshaft, a twin-choke carburettor, and a sports exhaust, while in 1975 the capacity was increased to 1,050cc. Maximum power increased from 58bhp to 70bhp, which in a package weighing only 700kg made for a lively performance. The 1975 A112 Abarth became the first model to use the (optional) five-speed manual gearbox, and in this form the Abarth-tuned 'pocket rocket' was much admired by young performance enthusiasts. There was also a popular one-make race series - the Campionato A112 - which was revived in 2010 as the Trofeo A112 Abarth.

Offered here is an example of the fourth series (November 1977-onwards) Nuova 112 model, which featured a higher roof for a roomier interior. Un-restored, the car has covered 73,073 kilometres from new and is described by the vendor as in excellent condition throughout. Accompanying documentation consists of the original owner's manual, Belgian Contrôle Technique, Belgian registration document (1970s), an ASI certificate, and the original Italian libretto.

Bonhams 1793
101 New Bond Street
United Kingdom
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Bonhams Collectors’ Car department