The Autobianchi A112 is a supermini produced by the Italian automaker Autobianchi. It was developed using a shrunken version of the contemporary Fiat 128's platform. The mechanicals of the A112 subsequently underpinned the Fiat 127. It was introduced in November 1969, as a replacement for the Bianchina and Primula, and was built in 7 series until 1986, when it made way for the more modern Autobianchi Y10 (branded in most export markets as the Lancia Y10). Over 1.2 million A112s were produced in Autobianchi's Milan factory.
The A112 was available only with a 3-door body. It was offered with the OHV engine of 903 cc from the Fiat 850 capable of attaining 42 HP. The Autobianchi represented the first appearance of this engine in a front-engine, front-wheel drive configuration which would later become familiar to a wider range of drivers in the top selling Fiat 127 and its derivatives. The A112 reached a very particular market; by 1984 female buyers represented 35% of A112 owners and about a third were in the 18-24 age range.
In November 1977 the "Nuova A112" (new A112) was introduced: The most obvious difference is a slightly taller roof, with a marked edge around the sides. This improved interior habitability considerably. Autobianchi also at this time modified the upmarket version branded as the "A112 Elegant" with an engine enlarged to 965 cc, now promising 48 HP and improved torque.
In July 1979 the car underwent another styling modification, In terms of transmissions, the five-speed transmission already seen in Abarths in some markets now became available on additional models. The fifth gear was an overgear, while the ratios of the four lower speeds and the final gearing remained unchanged. In terms of trim levels, the Normale now became the Junior, and the Elite version was added, a notch above the Elegant in the lineup. Power outputs remained at 42, 48, and 70 HP. The Abarth also received the new five-speed gearbox, as well as new alloy wheels and foglights as standard,
The most interesting version was the A112 Abarth, introduced in September 1971 at the same time as the Elegant. It was prepared by the motorsports division of the Fiat Group, at first with a 982 cc engine, obtained by increasing the stroke, coupled to a sportive exhaust, a twin carburetor, and a different camshaft. In 1975, displacement was increased to 1,050 cc, while power climbed from 58 HP to 70 HP at 6600 rpm, for a weight of only 700 kg (1,540 lb). These changes turned the A112 into a nervous machine, much admired by young performance enthusiasts.
The A112 Abarth was entered in various rallying events throughout Europe and even spawned a one-make trophy: the Campionato A112 Abarth spanned eight editions, from 1977 to 1984, and adopted contemporary Group 1 rules, which meant nearly-stock cars. Some famous Italian rally drivers, including Attilio Bettega, Fabrizio Tabaton and Gianfranco Cunico, were among the winners of the championship. The increasing popularity of the A112 in historic rallies and hillclimbs led to the reintroduction of a one-make trophy, called Trofeo A112 Abarth, in 2010. Abarths have often led hard lives, having been preferred by young owners with aggressive driving styles. Formula One driver Olivier Panis is one of many to have crashed an A112 Abarth.
Good things come in small packages…
This very nice low mileage A112 Abarth came to us out of a museum collection having been imported from Europe. After some minor recommissioning including new shift bushings, the car is a great runner with pretty spirited acceleration and go kart like handling. Sporting a spacious and luxurious interior compartment, there is excellent storage available in the boot, large glovebox, and side pods on both front seats. The interior space is really somewhat remarkable for such a tiny car.
A bevy of additional, sometimes redundant, gauges in the console monitor the performance of the 1050cc Abarth 70 HP power plant. This finely tuned engine runs without fault- a quick revving little unit producing ear to ear grins as one runs through the gears. The 5 speed gearbox shifts crisply and surely with short throws between the gears.The body is in excellent condition with no rust or corrosion noted.
Never imported into the US, this is undoubtedly one of a handful at best State side. A very affordable entry into the rarified world of Abarth Ownership, this car will surely be the only one at any cruise in or show you take it to. A certain candidate for “how many people can we get into this car?" contests-the car will be a hit with any teenagers in your family. It could also pull service in carnavals or circuses as transportation for at least 8 clowns. Oh yeah, it gets pretty great mileage as well, if that’s important to you.