The coolest first car in the world? - Autobianchi Abarth A112

My love affair of the A112 Abarth probably started from the years of playing Gran Turismo 6 and hooting around the Spanish Hillclimb in non other than an Autobianchi. But more recently, when looking through the european classifieds such as Car & Classic and Classics Trader, I’ve been idolising the idea of having one as a proper first car...until you see the price tag of some of them!

(I say proper first car, I’ve owned a few before driving including some ‘Centos, which is probably the closest you can get to the A112 Abarth without breaking the bank.)

So, for anyone who doesn’t know the A112, here’s a little history.

Introduced in 1971, the A112 Abarth was tuned version of the shopping cart A112 by Autobianchi. Similar to the classic day 500 Abarth I guess 🤷🏻‍♂️. A pokey little 982 cc engine was under the hood producing a whopping 58 baby horses. Someone must have realised that the A112 wasn’t quite up to specs of the Mini Cooper, so they did a facelift in 75’ with a plentiful 70 hp.

Now, not exactly mind boggling figures, are they? But that’s where the “coolest first car” part comes into the equation. Somehow this thing got completely overshadowed by the Mini in the rest of the world from Italy. That means so little remain as we all know how much of a cult following the original Mini has. In the UK especially, you would be lucky to see one in your lifetime.

For a rare car fanatic like me, it’s a bit of a diamond. I would love to see how many are on UK roads by using how many left but they don’t even have the data! Okay okay, maybe this would never be an achievable first car but I’ll tell you why it would be a damn good one.

For starters, as we have already glossed over, the performance isn’t earth shattering so for your son or daughter, they would struggle to speed over the limit. That doesn’t mean you wouldn’t have a hoot whilst driving. Secondly, for us car enthusiasts, it offers that zingy note and sense of sporty-ness which you can tell your mates about over a spicy calzone at the local Italian.

And the final one, it sort of speaks for itself...the looks! There’s nothing out there that looks remotely similar. Every Autobianchi looks different too, but there’s never really a bad looking one.

So to sum it up, I love the Autobianchi A112, but it could never be something I’d own in my youth simply because of how few are left and how few were made.

What would you defy as the “coolest first car”? (And please, be realistic!)

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Comments (1)

  • I love them. They are unsung heroes of FIAT Group. I drove A111 for a short while when I lived in Rome. It looks like FIAT 124, but FWD and much nicer inside.

      2 days ago