FIAT 124 ABARTH GROUP 4 For sale
Ex works car - TOL 69744 -
Raced 1974 RAC and Corsica
16V and fuel injected, certified by Abarth
The FIAT 124 Abarth registered TOL 69744, chassis number 124CSA0078916 is the first car in a series of five ( numbered 69744/45/46/47/48 ) built in the summer 1974. They were the first ones to be fitted initially with the all new Group 4 16 valve engine producing 210 BHP. It was registered on the 20th of September and made its debut in the RAC Rally in November with race number 21, driven by Alcide Paganelli ( 1970 Italian Rally championship winner ) and finished 24th. It next raced in the Tour de Corse with Giorgio Pianta ( who did most of the 124 Abarth’s development ) still with number 21 but did not finish. In 1975 it was used as a back-up reconnaissance car by Markku Alen and was notably seen reconnoitring in Morocco with him.
On the 20th of May 1976 it was sold to Mario Pasetti, a FIAT dealer in Castelfranco de Veneto who entered it in local rallies. It was next sold to Alfredo Turchetto in 1979 who mainly raced the car in northern Spain until his retirement in 1981. The car was next purchased in 1988 by the prominent Italian collector Stefano Durelli and incorporated the collection of Yves Saguato in Monaco. He registered it in Monaco on the 2nd of February 1995 with TOL 69744 as previous registration number. In 1998 the car was brought to Volta the famous Italian rally car specialist, and underwent a top quality restoration preserving all of the car’s original components including the ultra rare 16V fuel injected engine and the straight cut Colotti gearbox. The car was completed in 2000 and participated in the Monte Carlo Historic rally in 2002. Subsequently it had very little use bar a few outings and spent its time on display in the collection in Monaco. In 2014 this fantastic 124 Abarth was sold to a French collector who enjoyed it participating in some of the major European rallies such as the San Remo Storico and the Portugal Historico. In June 2016 TOL 69744 went back to Torino to the Abarth Classiche center to be certified, presented in an impressive book similar to those delivered by Ferrari Classiche giving details of all the original components.
This fantastic works car is in beautiful condition with a superb patina, reflecting the very high quality of the work carried out during its meticulous restoration. The driving experience is very surprising, the car being very smooth at low revs and easy to drive but very powerful when driven in anger at high revs. The straight cut gearbox with its fantastic ratios allows full use of the engine’s power and the perfectly balanced chassis makes it an astonishingly accomplished competition machine.
TOL 69744 comes with a large history file including the original registration documents, bills of sale, period pictures and restoration report. It is quite rare to find a so well documented and authentic rally car from the 70s still retaining its original chassis, mechanical components and registration. This would be a great addition to any major rally car collection.
The FIAT 124 Spider was presented at the 1966 Torino Motor Show, a very nice car based on the 124 saloon platform. Designed and built at Pininfarina it was destined to become one of the most successful Italian sports cars with more than 200,000 examples built by the end of 1984 after 18 years in production. Tom Tjaarda reported that when he designed the car he was inspired by the contemporary Ferraris for the front end and the fabulous Corvette Rondine for the rear.
Though originally fitted with modest 1400cc then 1600cc engines, the 124 Spider began to have success in competition with privateers at the end of the 60s. However, in the 1970 Monte Carlo Rally four cars registered TO 01061/62/63/64 competed and did not go unnoticed. Though FIAT did not have an official competitions department, it was very clear that the seeds were sown for a proper « works » effort. It should be remembered that back then Lancia was amalgamated with FIAT in 1969 and the « HF » Team, already had a massive program in rallying with the Fulvia. This department called at the beginning simply « Assistenza Tecnica » was based in Torino, the head being Sguazzini and the engine department under the supervision of Bosato. That year the car won Group 3 at the Monte Carlo and Paganelli won the Italian Rally Championship with an upgraded Group 4 version. For 1971 things became much more serious with the integration of Abarth and the fusion with the Fiat Racing Team. Marco Colucci the head engineer of Abarth immediately began to redesign the car and turned it into a proper competition machine.
By 1972 the engine capacity was enlarged to 1756cc and the car did very well with Pinto winning the Costa Brava rally and the FIAT Spider won eleven races out of twenty one starts.
The whole Fiat Spider story took a much more serious turn when, in December 1972, FIAT for Group 4 homologation purposes, put into production the « Abarth Spider ». Actually this was a very different car with a 1800cc engine, independent rear suspension, aluminium doors and a 5 speed gearbox. This allowed FIAT to develop for the 1973 season a highly upgraded version of the car now with 1839cc and 185 BHP which was entered in the WRC and finished a remarkable 2nd at the Manufacturers’ classification.
1974 saw another upgrade on the cars now using at the end of the season an all new 4 valve engine producing 210 BHP. They won in brilliant style the Portuguese rally ( taking the top three places ) and finished once again 2nd in the WRC Manufacturers’ championship.
1975 saw the final factory assault with the 124 Abarth in WRC which thanks to its regularity and reliability took for the third time 2nd place in the WRC Manufacturers’ classification.
During these 3 seasons at the highest level, the 124 Abarth Group 4 proved to be a hugely charismatic racer and one of the most accomplished rally cars from the 70s. The biggest names of that era where associated with it such as Markku Alen, Alcide Paganelli, Maurizio Verini, Lele Pinto, Giorgio Pianta and many more. Jean Todt who used to co-drive Hannu Mikkola in a 124 recently stated « I remember a powerful car, fast and pleasant to drive. It was a great honor for me since at the time the Fiat Racing Team was an example of professionalism and organization ».