Hoonigan Names New Female Racer For Fiat 124 Spider Abarth Rally Car
For the past few months, Hoonigan and Fiat have conducted a talent search to find the “Next Female Hoonigan” racer. Today, it was announced that the search was over and a winner has been found. Taking the title is Sara Price, a 24-year-old hot shoe hailing from Canyon Lake in Southern California. Price started in motocross racing before taking on trophy trucks and side-by-side racers, and will bring that experience to rally racing in the Hoonigan Fiat 124 competition machine.
Price managed to secure her ride by beating five other finalists in a three-month long competition, which started with more than 150 individual entries from across the nation. To take the win, Price first had to take a road trip to the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving in Phoenix, Arizona, before continuing on to the Gridlife Music & Motorsports festival at Gingerman Raceway in South Haven Michigan. Eventually, Price showed she had what it took to be the next Hoonigan racer, and subsequently took the wheel of a 400-horsepower turbocharged Fiat 124 at the Mt. Washington hillclimb event in New Hampshire. Specs on the car include a six-speed pneumatic sequential transmission and anti-lag system, which is the right combo when tackling the 7.4 miles and 4,500 feet of elevation change at the hillclimb. Check out the video of Price’s run by hitting play above, including a glimpse at all the hard work it takes to run at the front at such a prestigious event.
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2017 Abarth 695 XSR Yamaha Limited Edition
Without a doubt, the Fiat 500 is one of the Italian brand’s most important and historically relevant models ever produced. It’s been around off and on in one form or another since the ‘30s, and in 2007, Fiat introduced its latest iteration. Currently taking the form of either a three-door hatchback or a two-door cabriolet, the modern 500 is a cute, zippy city car with loads of personality and style. The help emphasize those characteristics, a variety of special editions have been offered over the years, with the latest being the Abarth 695 XSR Yamaha. Taking cues from the world of Grand Prix motorcycle racing, this agile little Italian speed bubble hopes to bring the thrills of two-wheel motorsport to a four-wheel platform, adding unique styling options, composite material flair, and even a considerable amount of performance for both straight-line fun and apex hunting.
In case you were unaware, Abarth is Fiat’s performance and tuning division, which identifies its creations with a yellow and red scorpion badge. This year, the FCA subsidiary is once again aligning itself with the Yamaha Factory Racing Team as the Official Sponsor and Official Car Supplier for the MotoGP World Championship season, and as such, the two makes are collaborating to bring the product of that happy marriage to enthusiasts.
The Abarth 695 XSR Yamaha Limited Edition follows in the footsteps of the Abarth 595 Yamaha Factory Racing and 696 Biposto Yamaha Factory Racing Edition that came before, both of which offered tricked-out limited runs of Fiat’s famous 500 in sportier, more aggressive trim. This time around, Yamaha is also getting in the action with the Yamaha XSR900 Abarth, the first motorcycle to be offered as a collaborative effort between the Japanese and Italian brands.
Both machines are decked out in a grey and red exterior color scheme, while also sharing a few surprising features. However, while the bike is obviously a bit more exposed, the 500 will be offered in both a hardtop and droptop iteration, with 695 units per body style, or 1,390 units total.
Order books open up in April. So far, there’s no word on U.S. availability, but don’t bet on it.
Look to the Geneva International Motor Show next week for the 695’s world debut, but in the meantime, read on for all the details.
Continue reading to learn more about the Abarth 695 XSR Yamaha Limited Edition.
2017 Abarth 595 Pista
Revived in 2007 after a 32-year hiatus, the modern Fiat 500 soldiered on almost unchanged up until now. A facelift operated in 2016 added a new grille, reshaped headlamps, and LED technology, but it’s far from being a full-fledged redesign. The performance-oriented Abarth model also received a similar update and as a result Fiat returned to producing special-edition models for the auto shows around the world. One of them is the 595 Pista and was unveiled ahead of the 2017 Geneva Motor Show.
Named Pista, which is Italian for race track, the special edition makes clear reference to the racing vocation of the Abarth 500 and stands out by means of bespoke features inside and out, as well as the one-of-a-kind Abarth Telemetry system. The Pista version completes the new 595 Abarth line-up, which includes two body styles (hatchback and convertible), three trim levels (595, 595 Turismo and 595 Competizione), and as many drivetrain output and tuning levels.
Pricing and availability information is not yet known, but the 595 Pista will likely go on sale in most European markets. It might not come to the U.S. though, but Fiat will launch other special-edition models here.
Continue reading to learn more about the Abarth 595 Pista.
1960 Fiat-Abarth 1000 Monoposto Da Record "La Principessa"
In the 1950s Abarth was designing and building its own race cars, making itself pretty well known in the international motorsport community. To help promote the company name and brand, Carlo Abarth – the founder of Abarth & Company – looked to competing for international speed endurance records. In doing so, the company created a number of number of vehicles, but the most important cars, arguably, came from a collaboration between Abarth and Pininfarina. The first car developed from this collaboration was a 750 cc Monoposta that debuted in 1957. It went on to set a Class H record by maintaining an average speed of 102.743 mph for 72 hours.
Around the same time, Abarth had another breakthrough using its new Bialbero engine. With this engine in the Pininfarina-designed Monoposto, Abarth was able to smash its own three-hour record by more than 8.5 mph. With the thirst for record breaking taking hold, Abarth continued to improve its designs with Pininfarina and eventually built a final series of these streamlined record setters. And, the one you see here was Abarth’s primary 1,000 cc that goes by the name La Principessa.
Powered by a type 229 Bialbero engine, this baby had just 108 horsepower and could hit a top speed of 136 mph. It set a number of Class G records at Monza between September 28 and October 1, 1960, including an average speed of 126.545 mph over 12 hours, 123.525 mph over 24 hours, 118.224 mph over 48 hours, and 116.001 mph over 72 hours. The car has been kept in storage most of its life and has been owned by the same family for most of it existence. Recently going under the hammer at the Gooding & Company auction during Monterey Car Week 2016, we finally got a good look at this piece of Abarth history, so let’s dive on in and talk a little more about it.
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The Bob Bondurant School of High Performance is located in Phoenix, Arizona and is – arguably – the best driving school in the country. It is the only purpose-built driver training facility for performance enthusiasts and is the largest of its kind in North America. The school has a fleet of more than 200 vehicles, including race-ready models, SUVs, and even open-wheel cars. It’s 60-acre facility and 1.6-mile track is about to get just a little more crowded, however, as Fiat has teamed up with the Bondurant School of High Performance and will be adding the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth and the Fiat 500 Abarth to its fleet.
Bob Bondurant, the owner and CEO of the school, said, “We’re excited that FIAT will join our team to expand our driving programs. The Fiat 500 Abarth and 124 Spider Abarth will make great additions to our amazing lineup. The capabilities of the Fiat coupe and roadster will give people the chance to get behind the wheel of balanced performance vehicles that are as fun to drive on the track as they are during a daily commute.”
That’s not all, though. As part of this partnership, the Bondurant School of High Performance will be offering the Abarth Track Experience. In short, any customer that purchases or leases a new Fiat 124 Abarth or a Fiat 500 Abarth will get a free day of high-performance instruction and track time. Customers have one year from the date they purchase or lease their new car to register and take advantage of the offer and can option for a second day of fun called “Road Rally,” that starts out at the Bondurant facility and takes a 180- to 220-mile trip down some scenic Arizona highways. The second day includes a morning coffee break and a private lunch before returning to the school.
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2017 Abarth 595
It’s only been a few short months since Abarth released the Abarth 124 Spider, and now Abarth is releasing its next, entry-level model – the 595. Much like how the 124 Spider is essentially a cooler Mazda MX-5 Miata, the 595 is basically a Fiat 500 on steroids. As Abarth put it, the new Abarth 595 is the “natural heir of the model launched in 2008 and present worldwide.” It is available as a hatchback or convertible and will be available in three different trim levels. The entry level model is, of course, the base 595, which is followed by the 595 Turismo, and the range-topping 595 Competizione. Each trim level has its own power specification, and is influenced by the knowledge Abarth gained with the development of the 695 Biposto, AKA “The Smallest Supercar.”
Abarth models typically take a little bit of criticism – I don’t know how many times I saw people talk bad about the 124 spider because it’s so similar to the MX-5 Miata – but Abarth models are typically more than badge-engineered replicas. So, as you read the review that follows, keep that in mind, because there is a real difference. So, let’s take a look at the 595 and what each trim level brings to the table. It’s not a model you want to pass up if you’re looking for a small car with some performance DNA.
2018 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth
Rumors that Fiat might revive the 124 Spider, a stylish roadster from the 1960s, surfaced in 2014 and were confirmed at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, when Fiat came clean and revealed that there was a new roadster underway with Mazda MX-5 underpinnings. Various reports then claimed that Fiat 124 Spider will also be followed by a performance-oriented Abarth version with a more powerful engine and all the goodies that come with the scorpion badge. With the standard roadster unveiled at the 2015 Los Angeles Show, Fiat took the wraps off the performance-oriented version at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show.
Not surprisingly, the 124 Abarth was conceived using the same recipe applied to the 500 Abarth. It features a sportier body kit, a mildly revised interior with Abarth trim, and a more powerful version of the engine used in the standard model. On top of that, Fiat sprinkled a bit of its classic Abarth heritage in order to link the modern roadster to the original 124 Rally, a limited-edition homologation special.
Set to arrive in European showrooms for the 2017 model year, the 124 Spider Abarth is an extremely important car for this tight niche. The main reason for that is because Mazda said it won’t develop a high-performance version of the new Miata. So Abarth will exploit the potential of Mazda’s new chassis and give Miata lovers the power that the Japanese roadster has failed to deliver.
While Fiat has yet to confirm or release data about the U.S.-spec version, a similar model is very likely to cross the pond to North America and join the standard model. Until that happens, let’s have a closer look at the European version.
Updated 04/29/2016: FCA dropped prices on the 2018 Spider Abarth. Check the "Prices" section for the full details.
Continue reading to find out more about the 2018 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth.
2016 Abarth 124 Rally
As soon as the Miata-based Fiat 124 Spider was unveiled in 2015, rumors that the Italians are also planning to develop a rally-spec model surfaced the Interwebz. Although Fiat declined to confirm that such a model is in the works, the race-prepped car made a surprise debut at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, alongside the beefed-up 124 Abarth. It’s called the Abarth 124 Rally, and much like the standard 124 Spider, it’s a modern iteration of the Fiat’s original roadster.
Only a prototype for now, the 124 Rally will be finalized in time for the 2017 season. Fiat confirmed that the coupe will be homologated for the FIA R-GT, a category created specifically for GT cars. In 2015, the R-GT Cup was contested by only four drivers, all using 996- and 997-generation Porsche 911 GT3s. There’s no word if other makers plan to join the sport, but the 124 Rally should make things significantly more interesting.
A final version will be unveiled by the end of the year with official testing to commence in the coming months. Until that happens, let’s have a closer look at the prototype that revives the 124 Rally after exactly four decades since its last official race.
Continue reading to find out more about the 2016 Abarth 124 Rally.
2017 Fiat 500X Abarth
Compact crossovers continue to gain popularity in the U.S. and Europe, and it seems like every automaker is getting in on the fun. Now, the latest craze is taking these small utility vehicles and turning them into performance rigs. It all began with the funky 2016 Juke-R Nismo, then moved on to the 2015 Mercedes GLA 45 AMG. When Fiat unveiled the 500X at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, rumors began to swirl about an Abarth version, which would be the first crossover to sport the iconic Scorpion badge. After months of speculation, we finally have proof that Fiat is indeed working on a high-performance version of the 500X.
The prototype seen in our recent spy shots may seem like a regular 500X at first glance, but several tell-tale signs about its actual identity are noticeable upon closer inspection. And that’s exactly what we will discuss in the speculative review below.
There’s no official word as to when the 500X Abarth will break cover, but an unveiling is expected to occur by the end of the year, most likely at the 2016 Paris Motor Show in October. If this turns out to be true, the beefed-up crossover will arrive in U.S. dealerships in early 2017.
Updated 02/04/2016: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Fiat 500X Abarth out for a first testing session.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Fiat 500X Abarth.
Shortly after Fiat unveiled the Miata-based 124 Spider, rumors that Abarth might build a rally-spec version surfaced the Interwebz. Reports claimed that the FIA was planning to introduce a new sports car category for the World Rally Championship, which would allow vehicles the size of the 124 to take part in the series. Though neither Abarth nor the FIA confirmed the rumor, we went ahead and created a rendering and a speculative review about the Abarth 124 WRC, which, according to current WRC regulations, would have to be a coupe.
Then it occurred to me that if Abarth will indeed build a race-spec, coupe version of the 124, it could also develop a road-going variant. With so many Miata fans clamoring for a full-fledged coupe, I’m sure such a model would be pretty popular with MX-5 enthusiasts despite having a different exterior design and an Abarth badge on its nose. Not to mention that unless Fiat has some sort of agreement with Mazda that prevents it from building different body styles, an Abarth 124 Coupe would be doable with the performance division having the necessary experience from the rally car.
Now you might ask why an Abarth and not a Fiat? Well, turning the Spider into a mass-produced coupe would require a hefty investment and given the fact that FCA isn’t doing quite well financially, Sergio Marchionne wouldn’t approve such a project. Under Abarth, however, the 124 Coupe could be developed as a coach-built vehicle and produced in a limited run and for a more exotic price tag. This would be similar to what Abarth did with the original 124 Spider in the early 1970s, when the 124 Rally had to be homologated for the World Rally Championship.
Continue reading to learn more about the Abarth 124 Coupe.
It hasn’t been long since Fiat unveiled the 124 Spider, a stylish roadster based on the fourth-generation Mazda MX-5. Now, word has it that the Italians are also planning a racing version for the World Rally Championship. If this proves to be true, the modern-day 124 Spider will follow in the exact footsteps of its predecessor, which also spawned a rally car, despite Fiat not offering a production coupe model. But, as exciting as it may sound, Abarth’s return to rallying is still a rumor as of December 2015.
It’s not because the Italian brand wouldn’t be able to turn the roadster into a tarmac-eating machine. The main problem is that a WRC-spec 124 Abarth currently has no class to race in, as the World Rally Championship has become a competition for superminis only.
In November 2015, Piston Heads reported — quoting sources close to Abarth — that the FIA is considering a new sports car category for the WRC. The class will be designed "to restore some petrolhead credibility to the series" and will allow larger vehicles, such as the Fiat 124 Spider, to race. For the uninitiated, WRC used to allow a wider range of cars in the 1970s and 1980s, from the Porsche 911 to the significantly larger, four-door Audi 200 Quattro.
We won’t find out whether FIA will indeed create a new class anytime soon, but the thought that Abarth might return to rallying is exciting to say the least. With that in mind, we decided to create a rendering of the Abarth 124 WRC and talk about as to what it might bring to the table. Find out more in my speculative review below.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Abarth 124 Spider WRC.
It’s been only a few days since the Fiat 124 Spider debuted at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show, and word has it the Italian company is planning to tackle the World Rally Championship with a version of its new roadster. According to Piston Heads, the said race car will be based on the upcoming Abarth 124 Spider, which is expected to arrive sometime in 2017.
Abarth’s return to WRC is great news for rally enthusiasts, but things aren’t as smooth as they sound.
Given that the current World Rally Championship is contested by superminis and hatchbacks such as the Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Citroen DS3 WRC, Ford Fiesta RS WRC, and Hyundai i20 WRC, a vehicle the size of the Fiat 124 Spider wouldn’t be allowed to race. Piston Heads claims, however, quoting a source close to Abarth, that the car will compete in a new sports car category the FIA wants to introduce soon. The said class will be "designed to restore some petrolhead credibility to the series," by allowing larger vehicle to race.
Just like in the good old days.
The second issue here is that rally cars can’t be roadsters, and that’s exactly what the Abarth 124 Spider will be. So if Abarth is indeed looking to return to WRC it will have to build a coupe version. So, is this going to happen, or is it just one of those rumors that won’t live up to hype?
Continue reading for the full story.
Back in October 1965, Abarth founder Carlo Abarth set a world speed record for acceleration for a class G car at the Monza race track. Abarth was 57 years old when he drove the 105-horsepower Abarth 1000 Monoposto Record, a streamlined one-seater that was built specifically for the purpose of setting international and world speed records. He even had to shed 66 pounds just to fit inside the tight cockpit. That’s no small feat for anybody, let alone someone who was nearing his 60th birthday. Yet Abarth managed to do that on his way to setting a record that still resonates to this day. Now, 50 years after that record-setting achievement, the Italian automaker is paying tribute to that feat with the launch of the Abarth 695 Biposto Record.
The car is based on the 2014 Fiat Abarth 695 Biposto and it comes with cosmetic and mechanical upgrades on the exterior and interior. Only 133 units will be made of the limited-edition hot-hatch, with each model getting a special ‘695 Record’ badge to denote its association with Abarth’s incredible record-setting achievement.
Continue reading to learn more about the Abarth 695 Biposto Record.
Fiat and Yamaha normally have little common other than the fact that they’re considered giants in their respective fields. One is an Italian automaker that owns Ferrari while the other is a Japanese motorcycle company that’s considered one of the best in the world. But the two companies actually have a long history of working together, especially when it comes to MotoGP. In fact, Fiat-owned Abarth and Yamaha have a current two-year deal in place that makes Abarth an official sponsor of the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team, as well as its official car supplier for the 2015 and 2016 MotoGP seasons. Thanks to the partnership between these two brands, special edition models like the Abarth 595 Yamaha Factory Racing Edition can find a spot at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show.
The Abarth 595 Yamaha Factory Racing Edition is the latest in a series of special edition Abarths that have been made for Yamaha. On September 11, 2015, Movistar Yamaha was given three Abarth 695 biposto Yamaha Factory Racing Edition vehicles during a ceremony at Abarth’s headquarters in Turin, Italy. The 695 isn’t expected to go on sale to the public, but the 595 Yamaha Factory Racing Edition is expected to hit dealerships in small quantities.
l hope that Abarth sends the 595 Yamaha Factory Racing Edition to dealerships sooner than later. For now, though, the special edition 595 is at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show as a visual reminder that Abarth and Yamaha have a solid relationship that’s built on the pursuit of motor racing success.
Continue reading to learn more about the Abarth 595 Yamaha Factory Racing Edition.
The Abarth Scorpione is different from the Abarth cars that we know today, with the first clue to this being right in the name. Modern Abarths aren’t branded exclusively as Abarths, but rather as a trim/sub-brand for Fiat. The Scorpione is indeed the last car developed entirely by Abarth, although there are still plenty of Fiat parts to be found in it. The car is a reworked tuner version of the Lombardi Grand Prix, itself a heavily reworked version of the Fiat 850. Making the Scorpione doubly tuned, if that’s a thing. This one was sold to be a race car, but was modified once again by its second owner, who made some motorsport-specific changes to the car.
The car was first developed as a Lombardi for 1968, with the Abarth model following shortly thereafter. The Lombardi would last until 1972, but when Fiat bought out all of Abarth in 1971, one of the first things it did was kill off the Scorpione. So with as rare as the Grand Prix is, the Scorpione is even rarer. But the one you see here, from 1969, is a unique version of the car, and quite possibly the most powerful example in existence.
Continue reading to learn more about the 1969 Abarth Scorpione Prototipo.
Two years ago, when a collaboration between the Fiat Group and Mazda was announced, the deal mentioned that the recently unveiled Mazda MX-5 Miata will get a brother in the form of an Alfa Romeo roadster built on the same platform. Earlier today we found out that this will not be the case anymore, with the head of the Alfa Romeo and Maserati brands letting it slip in an interview with Car Magazine that the original idea is actually all wrong.
Apparently, the future Alfa Romeo Spider will not use the MX-5 Miata’s ND platform and will therefore not be manufactured at Mazda’s Hiroshima plant. Instead, a yet-to-be-named Fiat/Abarth product will be based on the ND Miata. According to a transcript of the interview that Alfa and Maserati chief Harald Wester gave to the British magazine, it seems that "As far as the Spider goes, the final version is of course no longer the two-seater FCA [Fiat Chrysler Automobiles] codeveloped with Mazda but a derivative of project Giorgio."
As some of you know, "project Giorgio" is a new modular architecture derived from the one underpinning the current Maserati Ghibli and Quattroporte, which will be used in the future on pretty much every RWD Alfa Romeo and some Dodge/Chrysler models. Mazda’s ND platform is still part of the agreement though, and it will be used by either a standalone and long-rumored Abarth roadster or a modern-day variant of the old Fiat 124 Sport Spider, or maybe both. Either way, it won’t be an Alfa.
Click past the jump to read more about the Alfa Romeo Spider.