A112 Abarth
sporting fiats club Thursday, June 29, 2017

A112 History

Background

The Car

Numbers

A112 Models

A112 Timeline

Unleaded Fuel

A112 Tuning

Buying Guide

SFC Gallery

Links

Parts & Advice

General

Register Interest


 
Autobianchi's Fast Fiat
Model Gallery

Background and Beginnings
From the middle of the fifties and about the same time as the Mini was developed, Fiat had been experimenting with front wheel drive. During the early sixties Fiat allied their front wheel drive concepts with the obvious weight and cost advantages of three and two box transverse engine configurations. By 1963 they had three versions of front wheel drive prototypes around, including the forerunner of the 128. But they were very nervous about its launch in Italy and so decided to 'market test' the concept under the Autobianchi brand instead, initially as the Autobianchi Primula - also coded the Autobianchi A111. A smaller version of the Primula was already penned, and Autobianchi proceeded to bring this to market rapidly, so as Fiat produced the 850 series Autobianchi launched the A112 taking full advantage of 850 mechanicals but in another front wheel drive and transverse engined car.

Autobianchi in Brief

The Autobianchi history begins with Edoardo Bianchi in 1899, initially making bicycles, and in 1901 the workshop produced a first motor driven bike. By 1905 they produced their first auto in competition with Fiat's own 12HP. But war and investment problems during the 1920s and '30s left Bianchi as a backwater.

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In 1955 Fiat and Pirelli helped re-launch the company with the 1957 Bianchina - under the Autobianchi name. A smaller 2 seater followed, using Fiat 500 running gea, then an estate - the Panoramica. And Fiat continued to use the company as a technical and marketing test bed. This was never more important to Fiat when they tested their first front wheel transverse engine design in the Autbianchi Primula (and A111) from the mid sixties.

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The outstanding popumarity of the A112 followed on from 1969, and when Lancia joined the Fiat Group Autobianchi' was moved into the Lancia organisation, but retained a presence during the early years of the Y10 when some models were badged Autobianchi. And so the Milano company was finally absorbed into Lancia.

In October 1969 Autobianchi launched the A112, and it proved very popular in Europe, continuing to being built right up to 1985. Autobianchi's approach was to market Fiat's engineering with additional comforts - rather like Lancia where to do later, and in fact A112s were sold through Lancia distributors in some countries. Within two years, in 1971, Fiat's newly acquired performance specialists, Abarth, had launched a faster version of the A112 and another little classic was born.

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The Car
So Autobianchi made the A112 into a more refined version of the Fiat 850 saloon. It was designed with a wheel base of 203.8 centimetres and could comfortably carry four adults with some more luggage room. The rear seat also dropped down to extend the luggage space if needed.
Mechanical components were derived from the Fiat 850 series, with its synchro box and anti-clockwise rotating engine taken from the 850 Sport, and delivering 44 bhp from its 903cc's. Emulating the 850 original, the car was light, weighing around 680 kg and therefore providing a good power to weight ratio for the time. The A112 reached a top speed of 135 km/h, with an acceleration of 0 -100 km/h in about 15 seconds.


In all the A112 road holding and handling characteristics are similar to the taught and highly responsive Fiat 850, although the A112's all round independent suspension and front wheel drive understeer

behaviour were quite novel for the time and a contrast to the rear engined 850 saloon. It was an excellent little performer.... and there is a good case to say it was one of the first of the superminis!

Production Numbers

A112 production numbers are impresssive, reflecting  a large and loyal following for the cars both in Italy and Northern Europe, with over 1,2 million cars sold over seventeen years.

Model
Years
Totals
A112
(1969-1971)
105,937
A112, E, Elegant, Abarth 58
(1971-1978)
504,648
A112 in 1973
(1973)
106,659
A112 Abarth 70
(1974-1985)
117,351

A112 Elite, Junior, Appia

(1979-1985)
308,320
A112 LX
(1982-1985)
  35,082
     

Popularity of the A112 was sustained, initially after the 1973 oil crisis, but sales continued at a similar rate into the early eighties, partly due to Autobianchi's vigorous update policy. This has produced a large series of models, numbering seven. Special versions were also made, for which seperate figures are not available from Fiat. These included the Abarth Goldring and Juventus.

Seventies Brochure Drawing A112

A112 Models
Perhaps the most famous of the A112 variants is the Abarth. Carlo Abarth's company had already developed a 1000cc race version of the Fiat 903cc engine and allied to the low weight and crisp handling characteristics of the A112 Abarth created another great little Abarth.
Quite soon after the A112's sales launch in 1969, A112 Abarth prototypes were spotted around Milan and their Corso Marche premises. By the time the road going version was ready for production in 1971, they were producing about 100 bhp in race form. But when the A112 Abarth road version was on sale the same year they were quoted at 58 bhp - and were badged as "58" accordingly. Some prototype development work had been needed to provide a reliable transmission which was forgiving enough for everyday town use.
Inside the A112 Abarth is fitted with a generous instrument panel including a prominent tachometer indicating a red line of 7000 rpm. Alongside, supplementary instruments include ammeter, oil pressure and temperature gauges. An Abarth leather steering wheel and Sport Seats complete the interior equipment. The Abarth engine, is also provided with an oil cooler, strengthened sump and heavy duty radiator as well as stiffer suspension and bushes, and an uprated transmission. The 58HP will accelerate from 0-100 km/h in about 12 seconds, with a top speed of over 150 km/h at the 7000rpm red line. Abarth's involvement with the A112 was very much integrated with the main model updates and sales throughout the seventies.

In 1974 Abarth produced a new 70bhp A112 Abarth. This version was mechanically similar to the 58, and included an uprated fuel pump and distributor mount, but especially an upgraded brake system with servo assistance. From 1977 the servo was dropped, Abarth favouring a bigger master cylinder instead.

Autobianchi also produced a revised interior for the 1974 A112 'Elegant' with carpets throughout the car - including the rear luggage area, and full a cloth interior trim with matching seats. A tachometer was also included in the instrumentation. The engine was as standard with the 903cc 44 bhp configuration. The first of these models had a two-color finish, and thick impact bumpers, but the two tone cars were quickly discontinued. In 1975 A112s were given the now classic larger rear lights. And by 1977 some 600,000 A112s had been made.

75 A112 Elegant

The first major update of the model came in 1978. The roof line and height were changed and the frontal look revised with a new plastic grill. Its tail light clusters were again revised, and plastic impact bumpers added, with coordinating black plastic side strips. Engine capacity was also increased for the 'Elegant' to 962cc giving 48 bhp as standard. At the same time the transmission was strengthened.
The interior, and instrument binacle was changed too - out went the original instruments in favour of Lambourghini derived equivalents... and the auxiliary instruments in the Abarth version were now dropped below the eyeline. The Abarth versions now got a fake air scoop on the bonnet.

At the same time German importer W Hagen developed a conversion kit for the A112, comprising spoilers, Abarth rims (type CD 30, 5,5x13) and a set of wheel arch extensions, which could also be fitted to the standard A112 as new. It proved very popular although rework of the wheel arches was required to fit the larger wheels but such cars will lack the Abarth tuning and peformance modifications. Adding larger wheels to A112s is nearely as complex as modifying the Fiat 500s for the same purpose and such cars should be inspected carefully.

In 1980 the A112 recieved some further updates with heavier used of plastic on the doors and rear flanks, and matching black plastic wheel arches but the mechanical components remained the same. Lancia took aver the marketing of the model and the brand Autobianchi was dropped in some countries.

Final changes were made in 1982 when the plastic bumpers/valences were increased in size and included driving lights, and the lateral strips were colour coordinated with the car. By the time the last A112 rolled off the production line in 1986, more than 1.2 million had been produced.

84 A112 Abarth

Tuning
Fortunately there are very well trodden paths based upon the Abarth develoment line and the Fiat 850s.
These cars were often raced with great success in the seventies and versions of these modifications abound across the internet.

The 850 sport setup in particular was quite heavily tuned as standard... and so the components are highly stressed already - for Fiats. When considering additional power, you should budget to completely renew everything.... by this I mean the cooling, carburation, exhaust system and block rigidity must be addressed, and it is essential that the transmission suspension and brakes are completely upgraded.

The A112 Timeline
A summary of the extensive range of models offered by Autobianchi over seventeen years is provided below:

A112 Model
Years
cc
bhp
km/h
weight
Series 1 A112
1969-1971
903
44
135+
625kg
  A112 E
1971-1973
903
44
135+
640kg
  A112 Abarth
1971-1973
982
58
150
660kg
Series 2 A112
1971-1974
903
47
138
645kg
  A112 Elegant
1973-1975
903
44
138
660kg
  A112 Abarth
1973-1974
982
58
150
670kg
Series 3 A112
1975-1977
903
42
135
655kg
  A112 Elegant
1975-1977
903
42
135
670kg
  A112 Abarth 58
1975-1976
982
58
150
680kg
  A112 Abarth 70
1975-1977
1050
70
160
700kg
  A112 Juventus
1975-1977
903
42
130+
700kg
 Series 4 A112
1978-1979
903
42
135
655kg
  A112 Elegant
1978-1979
965
48
140
675kg
  A112 Abarth
1978-1979
1050
70
160
700kg
  A112 Abarth Goldring
1978-1979
1050
70
160
700kg
  A112 Juventus 
1978-1979
903
42
130+
700kg+
  A112 Appia
1978-1979
903
42
130+
700kg+
Series 5 A112 Junior
1979-1982
903
42
135
665kg
  A112 Elegant
1979-1982
965
48
140
680kg
  A112 Elite 
1979-1982
965
48
140
680kg
  A112 Abarth
1979-1982
1050
70
160
700kg
  A112 Appia 
1979-1982
965
48
137
700kg+
Series 6  A112 Junior 
1982-1984
903
42
130+
675kg
  A112 LX
1983-1984
965
48
137
690kg
  A112 Elite
1982-1984
965
48
137
690kg
  A112 Abarth 
1982-1984
1050
70
155+
700kg
  A112 Appia 
1982-1984
965
48
137
700kg+
Series 7 A112 Junior 
1984-1986
903
42
130+
675kg
  A112 LX
1984-1985
965
48
137
690kg
  A112 Elite
1984-1985
965
48
137
690kg
  A112 Abarth 
1984-1985
1050
70
155+
700kg
  A112 Appia 
1984-1985
965
48
137
700kg+


A112 Engines & Unleaded Fuel
Based upon engineering conference information from the mid nineties at which all the main manufacturers were represented, this was their best estimate for the A112 engines and ancilliary components (like carburettors and distrubutors). The question was asked - if switching to unleaded 95 Octane fuel, or unleaded 98 Octane fuel, would the engine as installed incur any reduction in life or performance that could not be accommodated during its normal service cycles?

A112

Model

Engine Code

Unleaded

95 Octane?

Unleaded

98 Octane?

A 112 A112A000/A112A500
Yes
Yes
Junior A112A5000*
No
Yes
Elegant A112B1000
No
Yes
Elite A112B1000
No
Yes
5.0 A112B1000
No
Yes
  All others after 1991
Yes
Yes
   

Table note: * Please note the A112A500 and A112A5000 are different engine codes!!

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The conclusion - as with all the related Fiat engines - is that the engines will incur no additional wear switching to 98 Octane unleaded if accompanied by a full service. Also the A112A000/ and A112A500 engines are capable of accepting 95 Octane unleaded, with a full service, but the A112A5000 and A112B1000 variants will not. This was assumed to be a one time and permanent switch onto unleaded fuel in each case.

This information has prompted some discussion on the club forums - regarding the precise nature of the problems with Unleaded 95 Octane given the close relationship of these engine variants to one another. The obvious observation is that it is based on compression ratios and detonation concerns.... but for some of these engines they are not running higher compressions and the answer is we really don't know. We don't have the resources in the club to find out using anything other than a crude Observational Method. In other words to observe with owner/ members what haopens to the cars that are switched to using 95 Octane unleaded fuel down the years. So this information should be treated with caution and we cannot guarantee its validity.
(See also http://www.sfconline.org.uk/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=460 )


Links
A112 Spares and Advice


Middle Barton Garage
www.middlebartongarage.com

Ricambio http://www.ricambio-web.fsnet.co.uk
158 High Street, Banstead, Surrey SM7 2NZ. 0208 642-8577 fax: +44 (0)1737-370091

Guy Moerenhout http://www.abarth-gmr.be/new/gallery.php?dzial=AUTOBIANCHI%20112

Gozzoli http://www.gozzoli.it   Via Claudia 211, 41053, Maranello MO, Italy. Tele/fax: +39 (0)536-941240

Vitto Elaborazioni http://www.vittoelaborazioni.com   Via Strada dei Frati, 12 36015 Schio Vicenza, Italy

Gruppo Ricambi BIELSTEIN OHG, D-31157 Sarstedt, Tel.: 0049 (0)5066 3074, Fax: 0049 (0)5066 65390 www.bielstein.com
Email: bielstein@bielstein.com

ARE sportteile Tel./fax: 0049 (0)8374 7397

Garda Ricambi, Viale Rovereto, 77 /B I - 38062 Arco (TN), Tel.: 0039 (0)464 519721 Fax: 0039 (0)464 516651

Scorpione Abarth parts, Sleedoorn 10, 7873 CS Odoorn, Holland Tel: 0031 (0)591 513896 Fax: 0031 (0)591 513896
http://www.scorpioneabarthparts.nl
email: info@scorpioneabarthparts.nl

AlfaRome Cam shafts Carsten Mueller http://www.alfarome.de/

Rinaldi Tuning, NL-7553 DJ Hengelo, Tel./fax: 0031 (0)74 2425129


Scuderia Topolino Dutch and German based Abarth supplier and very knowledgeable on the A112 - Paul van Heyden http://www.scuderiatopolino.com/

Bacci-Romano provide a comprehensive list of parts for the Autobianchis at www.bacciromano.com in particular the 850 rear axle parts, independent axle parts complete with stub axles and flanges to suit Fiat 850 and Abarth transaxles, and A112 differentials, cv joints etc. Go to the home page, then 'produtti....', 'listino 2006.....', then 'Autostoriche and 'Ricambi Autostoriche' sections.

Dichtungen-Schwarz Seals and Gaskets for the Abarths and similar classics if the are listed|:
http://www.Dichtungen-Schwarz.de
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General Links
http://www.cibbaoracingteam.com/a112park very comprehensive database of A112 styles and changes.......


http://www.andreazoppini.it/

http://www.abarthfan.com/eng/index.html

http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~fn5y-iwt/a112.html

http://www.abarth.ontheweb.nl/

http://www.thiel-tuning.de/

http://www.a112abarth.gr/

Last time I was in Torino I had a very A112 conversation with Carlo and his Series 2 70HP Abarth.... so in memory of a good afternoon and a great bunch of fanatics...

this is their website:

http://www.communities.ninemsn.com/clubautobianchiA112torino

And here's a day out!

Torino's Autobianchi A112 Club at play!