Presented at the 1969 Turin Motor Show, the Autobianchi A112 was immediately put on the market and was in production until 1986, when it was replaced by the Lancia Y10. In those 17 years, over one million specimens were produced in the Milanese factory of Autobianchi, and it became one of the most loved small cars characterizing the Italian automotive scene, especially in the seventies and eighties.
The Autobianchi A 112, with front-wheel drive (a rarity for the cars produced in Italy in those years), was destined to revolutionize the world of small cars by targeting the affluent middle class with aggressive lines, a great engine, and quality interiors.
In 1969 there had been a substantial increase in the import of cars to the detriment of the market share held by Italian producers who understood that they had to point on the new Italian middle class with a new product. Thus, Autobianchi (a company born from the will of Ferruccio Quintavalle, Alberto Pirelli, Gianni Agnelli, and Vittorio Valletta) entrusted Dante Giacosa with the project of developing a new car that had to have a dynamic appearance, small dimensions, easy driving, and reduced consumption.
The first series of the car that went into production in 1969 had a 903 cc engine, coupled to a 4-speed gearbox, which delivered a power of 44 hp, for a speed of 140 kilometers per hour. In 1971, Vittorio Valletta had the idea to acquire Abarth & C.’s knowledge and brand to create a sports version of A112, going to contrast the success of the gritty Mini Cooper. In reality, the A112 Abarth, on top of becoming an icon of style with its red color and the opaque black bonnet, turned out to be a very strong competitor in national and international rally championships. Since then, each restyling of the of the A112 was accompanied by the restyling of the Abarth version, this for a total of 7 versions that in total sold 1,300,000 units.