When FIAT bought out Carlo Abarth in July 1971 it was looking for models to compete in the forth coming World Rally Championship that was inaugurated in 1973 with aim of “proving the car’s strength.”
Abarth who’s reputation was primarily built on racing and hill climbing products was introduced to rallying with a Twin Cam FIAT 125 programme in 1970 and in 1972 the company started building and competing with a competition hardtop version 124 Spyder body, a model launched in 1966, for it’s Rally programme.
Initially the 124 Abarth Rallye was fitted with 1850cc / 112 cui versions of the FIAT four cylinder twin cam designed originally by former Ferrari man who became Abarth’s first President under FIAT management Aurelio Lampredi, a change in rules in 1974 permitted 16 valve heads to be fitted and engine sizes of 1850cc and 1756 cc / 107 cui were used in competition.
Success for the 124 Abarth Rallye included Rafael Pinto’s and Maurizio Verini European Rally Championship wins in 1972 and 1975 respectively, two wins on the Portugese Rally for Rafael in 1974 when he led a Abarth Rallye sweep of the podium positions and for Markku Alen in 1975 who with Ilka Kivimäki in the passenger seat led home 2nd place finishers Hannu Mikkola who was partnered by current president of the FIA Jean Todt.
FIAT also finished second to Group stable mate Lancia in the 1974 and 1975 World Rally Championships, in all 1,013 hardtop FIAT 124 Abarth Rallyes were built between 1972 and 1975 when the programme was wound up to make way for the World Rally Championship winning FIAT Abarth 131 programme.
Today’s featured Abarth Rallye, appearing with 1981-’82 UK registration plates at Race Retro a few years ago, was originally supplied to a privateer for use in the Italian National Rally Championship, it is currently fitted with an ultimate works spec fuel injected engine.
Thanks for joining me on this “Proving The Car’s Strength” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I will be looking at a one off Formula Junior Car. Don’t forget to come back now !
In 1953 Ford introduced it’s Ford Anglia 100E and two years later an estate / wagon version known as the Squire with a body modified by Abbott of Farnham was offered that remained in production until 1959.
When I first saw today’s featured car at last year’s Classic & Retro Action Day, Castle Combe I incorrectly identified it as a Squire.
In fact this car is a meticulously restored 1960 fourth generation 4 door Ford Prefect 107E of the type built from 1959 to 1961.
As the alloy wheels suggest this car had a few upgrades during it’s restoration which include replacing the 36 hp 997 cc / 61 cui 4 cylinder side valve motor with a more modern 2 litre / 122 cui Ford Pinto 4 cylinder and replacing the three speed gearbox with a 5 speed.
Additionally the restoration has included converting the 4 door saloon / sedan into an estate / wagon in a way that had me absolutely convinced it was an Abbott of Farnham body, when it is in fact a completely unique as no such body was ever built by Abbott.
When tested the 36hp 107E, sold with the strap line “with a power of difference from Ford”, reached 60mph from rest in 27.2 seconds and had a top speed of 73 mph, optional extras included a heater, windscreen washers, radio and leather upholstery.
Thanks for joining me on this “With A Power Of Difference” edition of “Gettin’ a little psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be visiting Windsor. Don’t forget to come back now !
After selling more than a million Mk 1’s Ford Capri’s between 1969 and 1974 Ford gave the ‘Car you always promised your self‘ a new body with a shorter bonnet / hood and hatch back tailgate while retaining most of the original running gear.
The 4 cylinder 2.0 litre / 122 cui Pinto motor was offered as a half way house between the top of the range 3.0 litre / 183 cui V6 Essex powered vehicles and the lesser 4 cylinder Kent powered models.
The Capri II, like it’s predecessor was sold under the Mercury brand in the USA, it was taken off the US market after the 1977 model year.
The 2.0S, seen here at last weeks Bristol Classic Car Show, was available with came with standard alloy wheels, in 1975 a John Player Special, (tobacco brand !) limited edition was announced with gold coloured alloy wheels, the 1976 example seen above has similar black and gold paintwork to the JPS limited edition which mimicked the colour scheme seen on the world championship winning JPS Lotus team cars of 1972 and 1973.
The most famous Ford Capri II 2.0S, in British circles at least, was a white one that was seen on the Intro to a TV series called Minder, about London’s criminal under world featuring a crooked entrepreneur Arthur, pronounced Arfur, Daley and his ‘Minder’ Terry McCann who is seen in the opening sequences test driving and accepting a 1976 white 2.0S in return for his ‘services’.
Terry’s Jam Jar, cockney slang for car, registered SLE 71R was voted the 28th most popular TV car in a 2005 pole by Sky satellite TV viewers.
Thanks for joining me on this ‘Terry’s Jam Jar’ edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’ I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !