One of the cars that I fell in love since childhood is the 124 Abarth.
"The real one" someone says, not "the Mazda dressed by Abarth", indeed by "FCA" from this century. Of course, the real one. But rumors are zero and beautiful cars, degustibus, remain my first passion. How are my passions of life rallies and, for those of my age, the Monte-Carlo Rallye.
Of course, everything has changed, changed the cars, have changed the rally.
But this year return in race to Montecarlo a brand and a car that left their tag in child I was, the child perhaps still remain inside.
Abarth 124, the real one
, I have already draw long ago, although it was a Fiat 124 Spider. I'm talking about [ this ], fourth picture from my project WRC Drafts, right now "forzen" (but not locked) also due my transfer in Fuerteventura. An image from the fantastic 1972 season of Håkan Lindberg, "virtual" world rally champion, when there was still not a title for drivers but only one for constructors. And here start the nostalgic mood.
1972, the last of experimental five years of International Championship for Manufacturers born in 1968, like me. For the first two years a single, unique but tough race: the London-Sydney marathon. Then, in 1970 a real world championship since 1973 will take the official name World Constructors' Championship, with final won by Alpine-Renault. In 1972 the last winner of the International Championship for Manufacturers is Lancia. It is the season of the legend Munari and Mannucci at the Montecarlo Rally, winners with the small #14 Lancia Fulvia, the year of the small Lancia against armed Alpine, Porsche, Datsun, Ford and more. But there is also the new Reparto Corse Fiat that presses to earn space in a motor world which then will dominate for many seasons. Fiat's racing department that to become really successful encompass soon Abarth premises legendary 38 Corso Marche in Turin.
The result was the 124 Abarth, the real one. But it will remain a sort of Cinderella never totally blossomed. Definitely a car that will give great satisfaction to many private gentlemen drivers, but that will leave a little 'bitter taste in official Fiat-Abarth drivers squad involved in the World Championship.
In 1974/1975 developing the 124 Abarth will never be able to snatch the World Championship to friends/enemies of that era, the Lancia team with the Stratos HF motorized Ferrari. Then, after the Monte-Carlo 1976, the definitive allocation of a car top tuned to give scene at the new Fiat 131 Abarth. And since 1977 the world, officer, stop also for the Stratos with sportsmen organic Fiat, Lancia and Abarth merged into a single, formidable and legendary racing department.
Many things have changed since then. The rallies have changed, changed rally cars and many boards of directors. Just ten years ago there was a deja-vu with the resurrected Abarth brand engaged in a world-racing program with the Punto S1600. It seemed a prerequisite for a return of Fiat (and Abarth) to the top in the rally world championship, but despite the upgrade with the S2000, everything was wrecked in a few seasons. Now Abarth tries again but with very different objectives. It seems almost a declared operation nostalgia, not 'cause the fact to focus on restyling of a '70 icon as the 124 Abarth, but because an atipic choice of yesteryear with the only rear-wheel drive technical solution. The project is intended for customers private drivers, not only of a certain age, eager to return to "drive" a rally car without too much exasperated electronic, all-wheel drive or extreme sophistication.
There will be also a single-brand trophy, but right now the new Abarth 124 Rally debut at 2017 Rallye Monte-Carlo. NOT a "return of the Fiat group" (now FCA) in the WRC, but that logo and that sign recorded at Montecarlo still generate some excitement: Abarth 124 Rally. Three units at the start: two senators François Delecour and Gabriele "Odeon" Noberasco and one for the young ACI Team Italia promise Fabio Andolfi. And for me it is a thrill no small part in this return by signing the livery for the #25 car, that of Fabio Andolfi. Nothing that was not requested a sci-fi design but something moderate, a simple adaptation of what has been achieved in the last two sporting seasons on the Peugeot 208 of Italian team engaged in the worldwide WRC3, with a new add-blue accents.
[ Here ] my drafts and [ here ] the images of the livery, made by PubliStar.