The project to bring the 131 into the forefront of British historic rallying is the work of Yorkshire-based Rally Sport Developments. Kevin Theaker from RSD has put two years of effort into sourcing and building the first car and already has two more cars in-build for customers.
The 131 Abarth won three World Rally Championships in the late 1970s with Markku Alen, Timo Salonen and Walter Rohrl and now Theaker wants to compete against the Ford Escort Mk2s that currently dominate historic rallying. “On paper it should be quicker and the suspension is years ahead of the Escort,” said Theaker. “But it is a bit of a leap into the unknown and it has been a challenge.”
Theaker says there is a ready supply of donor 131s available in Europe, but building a car to works period specification has proved to be a major challenge. “It has taken two years to find the cars and the bits,” said Malton-based Theaker. “We bought one car, which we have used as a pattern and we’ve had to do a lot of casting. You can find some of the bits, but they come at such a premium.”
The first car will be ready early next year and Theaker hopes to have it on show at Autosport International in January. He then plans to hand it over to a quick driver to show its potential, possibly as early as the second round of the R.A.C. Rally Championship, the Mid Wales Stages on 2 March.
The 2014 West Wales Rally Spares R.A.C. Rally Championship starts on the Red Kite Stages on Sunday 2 February and more details will be available from www.redkitestages.co.ukClassic Car Rally, Classic Rallying, R.A.C Rally Championship, West Wales Rally Spares.