Hot Hatch: 1983 Fiat Abarth Ritmo 130TC Sport Coupe

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Here’s a car you don’t see every day, or ever. It’s a 1983 Fiat Abarth Ritmo 130TC Sport Coupe and it’s located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. It’s on eBay with a current bid of $3,000 and the reserve isn’t met. There is a Buy It Now price of $10,000.

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This hot hatch was Fiat’s answer to the VW Golf GTI, Ford Escort XR3i, and others. This car is in nice condition, somehow, with only 69,000 miles on it. Or, actually they’re in kilometers because this isn’t a US car, so it has 113,682 km. There is a bit of rust, which is weird because the underside looks so good. You can also see from that photo that the right rear bumper has a scrape on it. The seller says that it’s solid with original rust-free doors, floors, and rockers.

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The Abarth version is the one to have, as you probably all know. Although this is a front-wheel-drive car, it hits 0-60 in 7.6 seconds, that’s pretty quick, especially for an early-1980s four-cylinder car. The Fiat Ritmo 125C won the 1982 Italian Group A Championship and the 130C is the final iteration of that design. The Abarth mods add some respectable handling and engine upgrades. And, it even has headlight washers, one of my favorite options. Not that you’ll drive this car in the winter if you live where there’s snow, but they’re a nice thing to have if you do.

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The interior on this car is amazing! It still has the plastic on the door panels, not to mention the upgraded, factory Recaro seats which are also in amazing condition. These seats have a 5-point racing harness capability so if you’re going to actually use this car like was meant to, you can. The dash and everything else inside is almost as good as when it left the factory, even the most-likely rarely-used rear seats. And, yes, that’s a 5-speed poking out there between the seats, thankfully.

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Here’s what moves this 2,100 pound car: Fiat’s 2.0L, inline four with twin carbs, twin cams, and 128 hp and 131 ft-lb of torque! If this car had AWD it would be killer! This was Europe’s last hot hatch to use carburetors instead of fuel injection. I bet that an injected car would have been a bit hotter. The seller says that this engine doesn’t smoke and performs well and is very strong. This would be a blast to own and drive. I love pretty much everything about this car. Have any of you owned or driven a Fiat Abarth before? What do you think a fair offer would be for this one?

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Comments

  1. J Paul Member

    “Here’s a car you don’t see every day”

    Talk about an understatement…there probably aren’t a lot of them left over in Europe, and I imagine the number of them in the States has to be miniscule. Very cool!

    Like 1
  2. wynkin

    We used to call them Rustmo’s.

  3. Seg

    I had one of these cars, they did rust very badly, poor metal for the time, I had to have two new doors, and a rear hatch…
    However these cars were truly awesome, for the time, fierce acceleration from a grunty, torquey, twin 40, 2 litre twin cam, powering through a close ratio 5 speed, slightly understeery handling, but the whole car added up to tremendous fun, great soundtrack, and a cool ride, which at the time was faster than golf gti’s, and the like, the price asked seems fair for this rare a car in this condition.

    Like 2
  4. Ernie the Dancing Weasel

    A co-worker had a US spec version – badged “Strada” here – in the early ’80’s and it was a horrid thing. Emissions strangled and suspension tuned to appeal to Buick owners, just a miserable piece of excrement. Made my 1965 1100D feel like a sports car.

    Spent 9 of it’s first 12 months in the “service department” of what passed for the local FIAT dealer. It was a true gamble to ever drive it anywhere.

    Traded it at a substantial loss on a Ford Escort. This was a pretty dark time in FIAT history…

  5. VR LIVES

    Not saying a word Fiat fans.

  6. Francisco

    These were very popular in Italy back in the day. “Ritmo” is Italian for Rhythm.

  7. Joe

    Meditate. Recite your mantra before bidding—-“Parts Availability”.

  8. karld

    Try merging onto the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, at rush hour, in a base model Ritmo / Strada with a slushbox. I’m alive, but the memories haunt me, like bringing a knife to a gun fight!

    • Francisco

      I don’t think this particular car will give you any problems on the BQE.

      Like 2
  9. Dolphin Member

    As with so many standard vs. highly tuned models, the difference in road performance between them is like night and day, and underneath they are not the same car.

    OTOH the difference in ‘rustability’ between tuned vs. standard version is likely to be zero

    Like 1
  10. Scotty Staff

    Auction update: this car sold for $7,150!

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