The Fiat Strada Abarth was the predecessor to the cheap runaround originally called the Fiat Ritmo. This car was one of the first cars fiat brought from Italy to Britain, and spawned such competitors as the Renault 5 Turbo. Because of the reputation that people had given to the original Ritmo, the Abarth wasn't very popular. But that was all to change. I bought my Strada in 1997. It was a 1984 model, and four owners, with average mileage. It wasn't the Abarth I got, just a cheap 1.1. It looked “different” to the standard models, which is what first caught my eye. I realised after i bought it that the front end had been changed to an Abarth Style headlights and bumper. The headlights resemble that of a golf GTI, the twin headlight version. Ever since i got the car i have been facinated with the Abarth and am still trying to get one. I have only ever drove one and it was very surprising indeed. A half-hour test drive and I was “smitten”. This was/is a SERIOUSLY fast little car. It boasts a 2 Litre turbocharged engine, which when given its head, could compete favourably on speed with much larger competitors, probably because its boasting around 180bhp. I'm not 100% certain of the 0 to 60-mph time, but if I were to hazard a guess, I would probably put it around the six to seven second mark. The car interior was fairly basic, although it is fitted with some very old and comfortable “Recarro” sports seats in the front. All that distinguished it from the standard Strada was a rev counter and dials for oil and Turbo readings. On the outside, it had black bumpers and mirrors, and a set of tiny spots set in the front spoiler. A nice set of alloy wheels, and a big, fat set of tyres kept her nice and firmly on the tarmac. Although, in fairness, great care had to be taken in wet conditions because of the weight to power ratio, as it had a most disconcerting habit of sliding a
ll over theroad if the accelerator was pushed too hard, even though the other change was four wheel drive. However, this was not a practical car. The engines were great and lasted forever, even thogh some older Fiats had a bad reputation the Abarth was in a different class. But, the fuel consumption was also a different class too, if you werent too hasty with the turbo it could cost you a fortune to run. As I said I am still looking to getting myself one of these and I would advise anyone who see's one, dont go by first looks, take a chance to look around, you might be impressed by what you find.