Four decades after the original Fiat 124 Abarth Rallye competing in rallying, the Italian firm has revealed a motorsport version of the new 124 Spider
Matt Burt
1 March 2016

Abarth has confirmed its return to rallying with a motorsport-prepared version of the new 124 Spider at the Geneva motor show.

A prototype version of the hard-topped 124 Rally developed by the Abarth Racing Team has been unveiled alongside the road-going 124 Spider.

The manufacturer said the two vehicles were developed in tandem. The rally car was given the internal project code SE139, with ‘SE’ standing for ‘Sports’ and ‘Experimental’. It has been unveiled some 40 years after the original Fiat 124 Abarth Rallye appeared on the special stages of the Monte Carlo Rally.

Built to the FIA’s R-GT rulebook, the new rear-wheel-drive Abarth 124 Rally is powered by an 1800cc turbocharged engine which has been remapped to deliver 296bhp at 6500rpm. The torque output hasn’t been revealed, but Abarth said it is “optimum to allow the driver steering and acceleration balance while oversteering”.  

The engine is coupled to a six-speed sequential gearbox with shift paddles and the car is also equipped with a mechanical limited-slip differential.

The Abarth Racing Team engineers focused on reducing the weight and enhancing the overall balance of the competition car, as well as installing the rollcage necessary for rallying.

The engine is mounted behind the front axle; lightweight, resistant materials are used in the cockpit and engine compartment and the production car’s soft top has been replaced by a fixed composite hard top.

Weight distribution leans slightly towards the rear axle, which Abarth said “ensures maximum traction even in low grip conditions”. The centre of gravity has been further lowered compared to the road car’s.

The front-end double wishbone suspension and multi-link rear suspension have been uprated for competition, and four—way adjustable dampers from the Ext Shock company have been fitted.

Assisting Abarth with the creation of the car were Petronas Selenia (lubricants and engine development), Adler Pelzer Group (composite components), Michelin (tyres), Sabelt (bucket-seats, seatbelts and other safety equipment),  LM Gianetti (bodywork and suspension), BMC (air intake), OZ (wheels) and Alcantara (interior trim).

Abarth will build examples of the 124 Rally for customer rally teams, and has opened the order books now.

The Abarth 124 Rally will be eligible for the FIA R-GT Cup, a tarmac-based rally series which was dominated by Porsche 911 GT3s last year.

Our Verdict

Fiat 124 Spider

Fiat looks to its rebodied MX-5 for a much-needed image boost

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1 March 2016
Like it - long nose, low slung, round dials, bucket seats, built-in bank of fogs. Stick a tin top on this and, in looks at least, there's more than a whiff of the legendary Datsun 240Z.

31 March 2016
My last rear wheel drive rally car in the late 80's and early 90" was a N group Toyota Starlet 1300 followed by the bigger brother Corolla before FWD and 4WD became de rigueur in the sport. Both were fun and bullet proof and a total hoot to belt in the Greek rough mountain terrain taking top three group prizes in every outing including tarmac events. Seeing this little bugger makes me want to be young again and go and have some fun. It will of course be pasted because the engine size and amount of power is disproportionate and those in the same group will paste it, but wont have half as much fun

what's life without imagination

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