Fiat 124 Spider becomes a rally car

Fiat has unveiled this delicious little rally car based on the new 124 Spider at the Geneva Motor Show, which could start competing on the world stage as early as next year.

Built by in-house tuner Abarth, the hard-topped 124 Spider rally car is heavily influenced by the original Abarth 124 Spider that achieved big success in rallying throughout the Seventies. The integrated spotlights and roof scoop are lifted directly from the old car, and it wears the works Abarth livery.

Power comes from a 1.8-litre, turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 300bhp and driving the rear wheels through a sequential gearbox. Weighing virtually nothing, it should be an absolute riot to drive. Quick, too.

Elsewhere, there’s all the weapons-grade mods needed for rallying: a stripped interior with a massive rollcage, four-way adjustable dampers, limited slip differential and those gorgeous OZ wheels.

The Abarth 124 Spider rally car has been built to the FIA’s R-GT rules, so it could run on certain World Rally Championship events. There, it would find itself competing almost exclusively against 450bhp Porsche 911s, which would be a big ask. A more likely home is on national-level events, where it would typically go up against Nissan 350Zs, E36 BMW M3s and modern-engined Ford Escort Mk2s.

There’s no word on price, but we’ll hazard an educated guess of around €120,000 (about £94,000)

There will be a road-going Abarth 124 Spider as well, also unveiled at Geneva. It has 1.4-litre turbo motor making 170bhp and 184lb/ft of torque. Weighing just 1,060kg, it dispatches the 0-62mph sprint in 6.8secs and runs on to 143mph.

Power goes the LSD-equipped rear axle via a six-speed manual or optional automatic gearbox. The suspension has been retuned and Bilstein dampers fitted alongside Brembo brakes. It also has a Record Monza exhaust, which produces “a beautiful growling sound.” Delightful.

All in all, it sounds almost as feisty as the rally car, and it is considerably cheaper. Still no bargain, though. Abarth quotes a price of €40,000 “for all Europe” when it goes on sale in September. That’s around £31,000, or seven grand more than a top-of-the-range version of the Mazda MX-5 on which the 124 is based.

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By Only Motors

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