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When Fiat entered rallying in 1970, its ultimate aim was to become World Rally Champion and the 131 Abarth of 1976-1980 provided the machinery to make that possible. Within the Fiat-Lancia empire, the 131 Abarth not only replaced the 124 Abarth Spider sports car, but was also favored ahead of the charismatic Lancia Stratos. By 1970s standards, the 131 Abarth was the most extreme, and effective, of all homologation specials. Compared with the 131 family car on which it was originally based, it had different engine, transmission and suspension layouts, was backed by big budgets and by a team of superstar drivers, and was meant to win all around the world. Not only did it start winning World rallies within months of being launched, but in 1977, 1978 and 1980 the 'works' team also won the World Championship for Makes, and set every standard by which Rally Giants were to be judged. The 131 Abarth was backed by a peerless team of engineers, so was there ever any doubt that successors like the Lancia Rally 037 and the Delta Integrale would eventually come from the same stable?
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Graham Robson possesses an international reputation as a motoring historian, and has been close to the sport of rallying for many years. Not only as a competitor, team manager, organizer, reporter, commentator and observer, but above all as an enthusiastic historian, in more than forty years he has never lost touch with the sport. His experience of rallying is worldwide. He has competed in many British and European events, reported on marathons in South America, and acted as a traveling controller on the legendary London-Mexico World Cup rally. As a recognized authority on many aspects of classic cars and motoring of that period, he is among the most prolific of authors, with more than 130 published books to his credit. Over the years he has owned, driven, described and competed in many of the cars featured in this landmark Rally Giants series, and his insight into their merits is unmatched.Review:
"An excellent read." – Fleet Car
"Very well illustrated with black and white and colour photos, this is another good edition to an interesting series." – New Zealand Classic Car
"A good insight into the story behind one of the most successful rally cars of the 1970s." – Motor Sport
The Motor Cycling Club, November 2008
UK club newsletter
A good read: Here’s another for your Christmas present list. 'Fiat 131 Abarth' from the Rally Giants series by Graham Robson published by Veloce at £14.99. I must admit that not having been involved with rallying for many years and never having owned a Ford many of the volumes in this excellent series are a little out of my league but as an ex-Abarth man who knew so many of the characters mentioned, this one rang all the right bells. For years the great Fiat empire had been spending millions getting success in all forms of motor sport but always through subsidiaries, Ferrari in F1 and sports cars, Abarth in touring cars and Lancia in rallying, whereas rival Ford had done it all under its own name thereby changing the whole company image by its successes. By the mid seventies the great house of Agnelli decided this should end and the publicity should go to Fiat itself. Sadly this was at a time when Fiat cars were more noted for their rusting characteristics than performance but they decided on a bold plan which involved combining Abarth engineering, the slightly 'posh' Lancia rally management team to bring the company name to the fore by rallying one the least adventurous models in the range – the totally unprepossessing Fiat 131 family saloon. How this bold plan succeeded over the next six years is what this book’s about, described accurately and in detail but in the author’s usual readable manner.
"The book is a good read, describing every facet of the car's development and rallying career accurately and in detail." – Old Stager
"Latest in the excellent Rally Giant paperback series is the successful Fiat 131 Abarth ... Robson covers development, key players and each season in detail. There's also plenty of historic sideways photos of this rear-wheel-drive legend." – Classic & Sports Car
Veloce's Rally Giants series has produced some of our favourite single-model books. Delve inside this volume and you'll find 128 informative pages and almost 100 photographs extensively documenting the Fiat 131's rallying history." – Wheels, United Arab Emirates
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Book Description Veloce, 2008. Paperback. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P111845841824