Project Car Hell: Abarth A112 or Carrera Panamericana Citroen?

Illustration for article titled Project Car Hell: Abarth A112 or Carrera Panamericana Citroen?

It looks like the Jalopnik readership did some agonized soul-searching and decided to go with the 308/Esprit combo over the somewhat imcomplete 365 at a 7-to-3 ratio in yesterday's Cheap Ferrari Edition Choose Your Eternity poll. But an Italian car versus an Anglo-Italian 2-fer brings to mind an interesting PCH dilemma: what happens when you pit a geeky-yet-cool Italian car against a geeky-yet-cool French car? No dreamworld Quattroporte versus SM here; instead it's a pair of cars that don't cost all that much and can even be driven... straight to Hell (i.e., your garage).


Most Americans have never heard of the Autobianchi A112, which is why we're providing the quick lesson in the video above. The little Lancia/Autobianchi/Fiat (mechanically similar to the Fiat 127) wasn't sold in the US of A, but it's worshiped as a classic rally-winning hoonmobile over there in Yurp. And now a A112 could live in your garage, simply by handing over $7,950 to the seller of this '79 (go here if the ad disappears). Hey, that's a complete running car, you say. Where's the hell in that? Perhaps it seems we're sentencing you Hell Lite today, like Joe Lucas just lost the air-conditioning contract in Hades and now it's a pleasant 70 degrees (F) down there and the car-parts store is open late? Come on, this is an orphaned high-strung Italian car based on the cheap-ass Fiat 127! Parts are probably clanking to the tarmac as I write this, and Italian parts dealers are rubbing their greedy hands together with glee in anticipation of your long-distance phone calls. But watch that video again and try to tell us you don't want an A112!

We don't need any video clip to convince folks of the incredible coolness of the Citröen DS, but what happens in your gasoline-pumping heart of hearts when you see this '72 DS in Carrera Panamericana trim (go here if the ad disappears) for only $4,500? But wait, there's more! It's equipped with 5-speed transmission and rollcage, the hydroinsanity suspension car has been replaced recently, and the original interior is in nice shape. Not only that, the Panamericana decals are removable and the cage is a bolt-in unit, so you could switch from wild-eyed racing hoon barreling down a Quintana Roo mountainside to suave Marseilles gangster in the matter of an afternoon! Like the A112, it's in pretty good shape... and also like the Abarth (cue sounds of demonic laughter, odor of sulfur). So what's it gonna be?


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Raphael Orlove

The Goddess is something that you will treat just like its namesake. These are both cars that you will absolutely love, but the DS is a car that you will love through care and affection. The little Abarth will fight you every mile and you'll kick it and swear at it and hate it, but you'll miss it twice as much when it's gone. On the other hand, the DS is a perfect car. Ultimately, I go the rroad of Jalopnik and choose the car that is fundamentally flawed, doomed from the get-go, wild, brash, and, when everything falls apart (which it probably will), awesome. And I would give up the chance to have a perfect car for an awesome one every day of the week, a decision I will regret when my daily driver explodes ten feet from the driveway, but one I will never question when I show up to work with bloody, oiled knuckles.