1976 Fiat 131 Abarth Rally (Bertone)
chassis no. AR2031312
- 40 years old but showing no signs of aging, a rally icon.
- FIAT’s most successful rally car.
- One of a series of only 350.
- Equipped for Group 4, as per regulations.
The Fiat 131 called "Mirafiori", named after the production plant in Turin, was a medium-sized family car, produced by Fiat from 1974 to 1984. The 131 replaced the successful Fiat 124 and was available as a 2- or 4-door sedan and 5-door Station Wagon. The 131 had a traditional longitudinal front engine and rear wheel drive. The engines, of the 4-cylinder in-line 1.3 and 1.6-litre overhead valve engines, were evolutions of those of the 124.The 131 Abarth Rally was born from a dual need of the Fiat brand: to replace the now obsolete 124 Abarth Rally in the Championship and to promote the image of its new medium saloon on the international market. So, in 1976 Fiat presented the 131 Abarth Rally, based on the bodywork of the two-door first series, but completely transformed by the engineers of the Abarth racing department, lightened bodywork and reinforced chassis, the Abarth Rally was without bumpers and equipped with extended mudguards, spoilers, aileron, dynamic intakes and air intake on the bonnet; the Abarth Rally kept just the wheelbase of the production car and is shorter, lower and wider. To save weight, all the body panels, except the roof and doors, were made of fibreglass while the side and rear windows were made of plexiglass. Even the mechanics were completely overthrown compared to the standard 131; the basic twin-shaft engine was completely revised by the "magician" Aurelio Lampredi; the result was a 2-litre unit with a light alloy head and, for the first time, four valves per cylinder. The road version, equipped with two Weber double-barrel carburettors, had 140 horsepower at 6400 rpm. The engine of the competition cars reached 215 hp in the first version of 1975 to reach over 230 hp in the following years. The gearbox was 5-speed; the car had disc brakes on all wheels. The rigid rear axle was replaced by an independent MacPherson suspension. The cars were built as a collaboration between Fiat where the chassis was born, Bertone where it was assembled with the special parts of the bodywork and Abarth, now the engine division of Fiat. In 1976 about 400 Fiat Abarth 131 Rallies were built for homologation purposes: 350 were sold by Italian Fiat dealers, 50 were entrusted to Abarth for competitions. Homologated in the World Rally Championship, it took part from 1976 to 1982, the year in which Fiat decided to retire from racing and dedicate only the Lancia brand to rallies. It debuted in 1975 in the Italian race 100,000 Trabucchi with Giorgio Pianta, but the official commitment began the following year, earning two world championship driver’s titles (1978 with Markku Alén and 1980 with Walter Rohrl) and three manufacturer’s titles from 1977 to 1980. It continued his racing career thanks to private teams. The Fiat 131 Abarth Rally is the highest point reached by Fiat in its "rally" history. Often underestimated for its square look and considered at the time not very attractive, it has been none the less gained the praise of the drivers and the support of fans who also had in their eyes the charm of the invincible Lancia Strato’s, thanks to its reliability, the ease of driving it to the limit and the numerous victories obtained.
The Fiat 131 Abarth Rally, chassis no. AR2031312, is one of only 400 examples built by the Abarth department to obtain FIA homologation, one of the 350 destined for “on road” use. In 2015, it was restored and completely transformed by its second owner into a beautiful Group 4 model, in accordance with the regulations of the time. The author of the transformation is the well-known specialist Girola of Turin who, in the vehicles certificate, endorses the work done as follows: "... as manufacturers we declare that the body/chassis of the car brand Fiat model 131 Abarth plate (...), year of construction 1976, chassis number Fiat 131 AR2031312, was fully welded and the reinforcements were applied by us, according to the specification adopted and provided by the original production company, at the time when the car was racing for the World Rally Championship. We also declare that the rollbar-cage number 15011, year of manufacture 2015 produced by us, complies with the rules of the FIA regulation attachment "J", in force in the year of manufacture. The Fiat 131 Abarth Rally, chassis no. AR2031312 is a car that can participate in all historical rallies. A car ready to race in its simple but always compelling white livery.
State of the Art
Completely restored in 2015 and transformed into a Group 4 vehicle, the transformation and restoration is fully detailed and photographically documented.
- Graham Robson, 131 Abarth, Veloce, GB 2001.
- Antonio Biasioli, Fiat 131 Abarth Rally, Elzeviro, Italia 2016
- Alessandro Sannia, Fiat 131 1975-1985, Il Cammello, Italia 2013
Certificates and statements
HTP Nazionale, Fiche CSAI
Italian registration and plates.
- Giro di Sicilia. Eligibility.
- Targa Florio. Eligibility.
- Goodwood Revival. Eligibility.
- Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique. Eligibility
- Coppa d’Oro delle Dolomiti Legend. Eligibility.
- Coppa delle Alpi by 1000 Miglia. Eligibility.
- Vernasca Silver Flag. Eligibility.
- Nürburgring Classic. Eligibility.
- Tour De Corse Historique, Eligibility
- European rally historic championship.
- Campionato Rally Storico Italiano.