Monday, December 14, 2009

1975 (or 1980 or 1981) Autobianchi A112 (Abracadabra)

This is coincidental and kind of amusing. This car holds a very minor, but memorable, place in my life...

This is the same car I wrote about in January. You can find the post here.

Back then this car was listed on Craigslist. It's located about an hour ride from my house. There aren't many Autobianchi A112s in the US and I wanted to go look at it - not to buy it, but just because I had never seen one. I had been dating a woman for a few months and had plans to go to Boston with her for the weekend. I suggested that we change our plans to include taking a quick look at this car. That idea didn't go over well. She said something about not wanting to freeze her butt off looking at "some stupid car". We didn't go see the car. No big deal I figured, I would go see it by myself some other time. When I looked for the Craigslist ad a few days later, it was gone. While I still had the phone number for it, I didn't call. I assumed the car was sold. I also stopped calling the woman I was dating.

A week ago I was on the phone with a friend who lives in L.A. She mentioned a recently single friend in Boston she wanted me to meet. "She likes cars. She'd probably go with you to see an 'Abracadabra' or whatever that car was called", she said. Great. I guess now part of the criteria for women I date is whether they'll go with me to look at cars apparently named by magicians.

Abracadabra. Poof. This week, like magic, the car turns up for sale again. This time on eBay.

Autobianchi was a joint venture between Bianchi, Pirelli and Fiat. For the most part it was used by Fiat to test new technology. The A112 was the most popular Autobianchi ever built. Introduced in 1969, it was built through 1995. This car actually preceded the Fiat 127, upon which it was based, by 2 years. A total of 1.2 million A112s were built.

This car, according to the seller, is an "Elite" model with a 965cc 48hp engine and 5 speed transmission. The "Elite" was introduced in 1977, which would support the sellers guess about this car really being a 1980 or 1981 model.

The car only weighs around 1500 lbs and the stock Fiat engine could move it at a pretty brisk pace. Things became very interesting, however, when Abarth got its hands on it. They bumped the engine up to 1049 cc and 69HP. In Abarth trim the car screamed and was very successful in racing.

Mechanically, the seller says this car is in good condition. It's the body and interior that are worrisome. The car shows some serious rust. The seller states that the rear hatch will need to be replaced and there is rust on the fenders and around the windshield. It also appears that the only thing holding the headliner in place is the dome light.

Realistically, this is a car that would need to be purchased by someone who could do the work themselves. The cost of outsourcing it for restoration would most likely exceed the value of the car. While they are rare in the US, they are not extremely valuable. (In May of this year there was a decent Abarth version for sale in North Carolina. The asking price was $6500.00)

If you have the time and talent, this would be a cool car to restore, though. If I had either, I would redo the body and interior, drive it for a season or two, then spend another winter "Abrarth-izing" the mechanicals. It would be a cool little car to bring to shows to drive on the weekends.

Located in Saugus, MA, click here to see the eBay listing.

This car is being offered by a business called Euro Car Garage. If you're a motorcycle fan, check out their site. They have a pretty impressive selection of bikes for sale. Find their website here.

The Autobianchi A112 Homepage website is written in German, but has a large gallery of photos like the one above.

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