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I know I'm not the only one to has fielded the question of "what is that thing?" since bringing home my 124 Abarth. However, this past Friday night there is no less than 50 people who asked. That's because we unleashed the beast at a local event here in San Diego known as RaceLegal. Its a drag racing event put on by volunteers (see Racelegal.com) to hold legal drag races in the parking lot of the local football stadium. A very legitimate, safe and exciting experience that promotes getting the Fast and Furious fan club members off the street in monitored, controlled, NHRA regulation style event. Including safety/tech inspections. Its a great time for both drivers and spectators. And yes, this time we not only brought, but RACED the Abarth.


Not only was it exhilarating; every time I made a pass I was smiling so hard my face felt like it was going to crack. Sure there were much faster machines out there. Yes I got smoked but some of them. But it didn't matter. The thrill, the rush, the adrenaline fueled high is more gripping than any drug addiction and is something no pharmaceutical could ever recreate. Those of you who've been there know exactly what I'm talking about. I've been racing for roughly 15 years in everything possible from Kart, to super stock NHRA drags, to SCCA Autocross. And while the 124 isn't the fastest thing on the track, it has most certainly been one of the most fun!


She performed flawlessly all night. Hot lap after lap. And every time I pulled off and came down pit lane, everyone was snapping photos and pondering what this "thing" was. Every time I parked for a break, I was swarmed with people who were shocked to discover "That thing's a Fiat?!".


I was lucky enough to come out victorious in several passes, and was able to learn quite a bit about the characteristics of the vehicle. Which, by the way, doing a burnout is FAR easier when you turn the traction control OFF, :D And while I have no plans to race my daily driver on a regular basis, it was nice to get her out, stretch her legs and find out exactly what she's capable of. Which, to be honest, is actually more than I expected. Beating or very closely keeping up with other manufacturers performance based models, even modified ones, was a treat. My abarth has a K&N filter, muffler delete and GFB DV w/ TS BOV. So by far not "modded" for racing. But she sounded absolutely epic running at full tilt down the strip. And some how I am pretty sure she didn't mind the attention she got in the pits either. The questions, the photos, the compliments. It was absolutely outstanding.


I bought this car with every intention of driving it as often as possible, and enjoying every minute with it. Again, not as a dedicated race vehicle, but my daily commuter. And after having her for roughly a month, I cannot believe the fun I've already had. ****, the negative reviews, the nay sayers who bash it because it's a "Fiata", or those who simply refuse to accept it for no reason at all.


Yes, it's onyl a 1.4L. yes, it's a tiny 2 seat roadster, yes it's DNA is sourced from a Miata. But after driving hundreds, if not thousands of cars in my time. After experiencing Eyeball squeezing horse power. After seeing double digit speeds from behind the wheel. After every experience I've had on either 2 wheels or 4...I find it hard to believe that this little Italian sports car has captured my emotions so deeply. But that's exactly what it's done! It is alarming true that it is so much more fun to drive a slower car fast, than a faster one slow. This thing is positively epic.


I am blessed that I have the most amazing wife who not only allows me to indulge my passion for racing, but supports and enjoys it with me. And finding this car, was like finding her. We knew were meant for each other. Just as I now know I was meant for this car.


...Ok, rant over...I'm going to go massage my face muscles back into place now! :D I think my cheeks are going numb! Thanks for taking the time to let me spew my emotions and indulge myself for moment.
 

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Great tale, thanks for sharing it!

Steve.
 

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Nice. I agree. Is not the fastest car I've tracked/driven, but is one of the most enjoyable. It has lots of character.

More importantly. Time slips. :D

I know it isn't fast, but still would be great to see what you were able to do.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Guess I should have mentioned that in my first rant...So, 1/8 mile dragstrip. Started in the 10 second range. Managed mid 9's average. Got a couple of great passes in the low 9.3xx's. On the stock 205/45/17 Potenza's, and having ZERO track time or practice in this car before, I was very very pleased with the results.
 

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That would put you in the range of a 14.5-15 second 1/4 mile, which is actually right in line with published results. A 9.3x would put you around a 14.5 1/4 mile. Great driving!
 

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+99 to every comment you made!
I parted company last yeard with a much beloved Miata that was my DD for 14 years and by the time I arrived home there was always a smile on my face. I've come to regard having a little convertible sports car a quality of life enhancement. The 124 is a more than adequate replacement.
best regards
Pete
 

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Great story :)
 

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What a story! I cannot wait to now get my hands on mine. Where is that boat carrying my car??? Cannot come fast enough.

I'd love to see photos too! Next time, take a GoPro with you for our enjoyment, please!

I was watching the Abarth 124 episode on the Grand Tour, that smile on Hammond's face says it all. Wife said my grin was like that during the test drive!
 

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Grinning like a loon is always a good thing. I had three cars in my past that did that to me. My 1998 Prelude VTiR ATTS (SH in the US), my 2005 Alfa 147GTA, and my 2011 RS250 Megane (the last two never made it to the US). I bought them all immediately. The Honda and the Renaultsport proved to be absolutely brilliant choices. I was sucked in by the Alfa which was actually a bit rubbish but contained one of the most stunning automotive power plants ever made (the epic, stunning, absolutely peerless, Busso 3.2 V6). I never drove the 124. My wife decided we were buying it and I just went with it based on reviews (seriously). Fortunately, it's a great car that I doubt we're going to regret.
 
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