Ritmo in Italian means rhythm or beat. In any language, Abarth means fast. Put them together and you've got today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe 130TC. That sings a rare tune in any language, but will its price make it even rarer in your driveway?
I know it's been a couple of days, and for us ‘Mericans the fireworks are still ringing in our ears, and the sparkler burns are still stinging our skins, but we do still need to reflect on Tuesday's somewhat DIY Lotus Esprit. That Bond brand brandishing plastic fantastic managed to nab a respectable 61% Nice Price win, meaning that you can add your name to that of Miss Moneypenny in having been seduced by the English spy but forever being unable to consummate the relationship.
Bond may have been the consummate professional when it came to both pleasuring the ladies and displeasuring the baddies, but he can't hold a candle to Carlo Abarth when it comes to turning tiny cars into raucous hives full of angry Italianized bees.
Thus hopped up, and as shocking a discovery here in the U.S. as a Mitt Romney bank account (Zing! I'm going to hear about that one), is this time capsule 1983 Fiat Ritmo-based Abarth 130TC.
Now, if Fiat were to actually build a time capsule, I wouldn't want to bet on its ability to stand the test of time, and in fact the Ritmos sold here in the United States - re-named the Strada - have all pretty much returned to their disparate positions on the table of elements. The fact that this one still sports its plastic door fabric protectors and doesn't seem to have any more holes in it than were haphazardly installed at the factory is pretty damn astounding.
Here rocking metallic grey paint with hotch hatch de rigeur red trim, the 130TC was Fiat's worthy competitor to VW's Golf GTi. Underlying the Abarth mods is the Ritmo platform, which itself was an update of the 128, a car notable for being the first mass-produced front driver of the modern format - tranny next to the engine driving through unequal length halfshafts.
On top of the Ritmo's fairly well-sorted platform Abarth worked their magic. The TC stands for the Twin Cam engine which should be a familiar sight if you've ever peered under the hood of any of Fiat's 124 Spiders, among others. Here is displaces 1,995-ccs and is fed by a pair of Weber DCOE 145s giving each of the four cylinders a venturi to call their very own. That was good for 128-bhp which would move the 950kg three-door to sixty in just under 8 seconds.
Externally, the Abarth is set apart from the less evil Ritmos by scorpion-badge alloy wheels, a fatter rubber duck spoiler hugging the contours of the hatch glass, lower valance cladding, and bold Abarth badges front and rear. This one being an '83, it also gets the more conventional nose of that year's restyle, the earlier cars looking bug eyed like they just visited the proctologist.
Inside, the Abarth gets a fat three-spoke steering wheel set at a typically Italian angle that is unfit for average human ergonomics. Somewhat making up for that are a set of wild Recaro thrones in leather and fabric and featuring a squab-located hole that's either for a submarine belt or to channel your farts. Below those are floor mats that appear to each be encircled by either a harmless kingsnake or deadly coral snake, but I can't tell which. Red touches yellow kills a fellow. . .
Potentially deadly serpent filled or not, the interior looks to be in great shape, which is amazing not just for its age but for the fact that this is an ‘80s Fiat. Back then the company seemed to have been constructing their cars out of spider webs and cat saliva and most of the interiors were so misaligned and haphazardly constructed that you'd have to check to see if you were wearing someone else's glasses everytime you got into one.
This 130TC looks good and at only 69,000 miles (kilometers maybe? The speedo is based on the metric system) seems to have plenty of life left in it. It's claimed to have been imported to the U.S. In 2012 and as well to have a clean Florida title. Now that and $4.75 will get you a tall latte with room for extra cream as it seems Florida would let you register your grandma if you wanted too. Seriously, is it the heat down there or being overburdened with transplanted oldsters that makes America's wang so freaking wacky?
Whatever the reason, this Ritmo's age should make it licensable in most states, although California would be a problem, their requirements affecting cars newer than 1975. Of course that's why we have friends in Oregon! We might have to ask them to help pay for this Abarth as it comes with a non-retro price tag of $23,500 to Buy It Now. That's less than the cost of a current Fiat 500 Abarth, but a lot for a Fiat of this age. Of course, it's seemingly in great shape, and with those Webers and unrestrictive exhaust it should sound amazing. And, it'll be the only one, not just on you block, but potentially in your state. That's got to be worth something.
But is it worth $23,500? What do you say, is this a Scorpion that's worth that kind of sting? Or, is this a Ritmo with a price to which you should just say no?
H/T to pk1312 for the hookup!
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