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New Abarth celebrates 50 years of speed

by Bill Cawthon on

Commemorating a record set in 1965, Fiat Chrysler has introduced a limited edition of the Abarth 695 Biposto, the hottest street-legal version of the Fiat 500. To make it, the company took the Fiat 500 Abarth, then stripped it of as much weight as they could — cutting 168 pounds from the base 500 Pop.


The Record has a 1.4-liter Turbo T-Jet 16-valve engine developing 190 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm. Torque maxes out at 184 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm. The power/weight ratio of 11.5 pounds per horsepower is best in class.

With a five-speed dog-ring manual transmission and a mechanical self-locking differential, the Biposto Record hits 100 kph (62 mph) in 5.9 seconds. A Fiat 500 Sport takes 10.5 seconds to do the same thing. The top speed is 143 miles per hour.


The Record was inspired by the record set  at the Monza racetrack in October 1965. After losing 66 pounds so he could fit into the cockpit, Carlo Abarth, then 57 years old, set a new Class G record for the quarter-mile and 500-meter (1,640 feet) courses.

Along with the special yellow paint and trim, the Record has an aluminum engine cover, Sabelt carbon-fiber seats with four-point seatbelts, 18-inch OZ wheels, Brembo brakes, and an Akrapovic exhaust system.

Abarth is building just 133 of the cars, priced at a steep $55,700. Like the other Abarth 695 Bipostos, none will be sold in North America.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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