REVIEW: AUTOart Fiat Abarth 1000 TCR •

REVIEW: AUTOart Fiat Abarth 1000 TCR

Words and photos courtesy of Wes Shakirov


Every now and then, the research department at AUTOart wins a drinking game with the accounting department and gets to pick a model that is pretty obscure. I love seeing these models from them, because it shows that someone over there has  heart (and good tolerance for alcohol).  I don’t know about you, but I get bored with the never-ending Lamborghinis and other modern offerings. I crave for something different, and an Abarth 1000 TCR is probably as ‘different’ as it gets. I won’t bore you with the details, but the name Abarth comes from an eponymous Austrian Italian man who tricked out Fiats, because, out of the factory, the Fiat 600 packed probably around 20-30 hp. After Carlo worked his magic, they ended up developing up to 115 hp (!), such as the car we’re looking at today.

AA_Abarth 1000 TCR

I was pretty excited to get my hands on this model. I love small cars, and drive a Mini Cooper S, so to own something like this would be a dream. Alas, it is a very unaffordable dream at the moment, so I’ll have to make do with a 1/18 version for now. It’s quite a surprise for a lot of people to learn that this model is, in fact, diecast metal, and not ABS. There is no sticker on the box telling you it’s ABS, and I tapped it to make sure, and heard a very  reassuringly metallic sound. So far, so good, then. The matte grey with red stripes was my choice, since, if you google this car, it tends to be the predominant colour combination. On the model, it looks smooth and perfect, as is usually the case with AUTOart.

AA_Abarth 1000 TCR8

AA_Abarth 1000 TCR12

It’s very tiny and will fit comfortably into your palm. Start looking it over though, and it becomes very clear that the model is done well. The front hood and doors open. The fuel cap on the hood is not workable though. In AUTOart’s photos, the engine cover lifts up all the way. I tried this, and realized they removed two screws to do that. Ordinarily, it remains in that horizontal position, which is fine, because the engine is pretty visible.

AA_Abarth 1000 TCR16

The various detailing is very well done. I like the mesh on the front bumper, and the Abarth logo on the nose looks very good indeed. I do wish the hood latches actually flipped up and down, but they’re static. The lights, front and back, are very well done. The layering and texturing there is very authentic. The wipers could have used a bit more effort, but it’s a Millenium model after all.

AA_Abarth 1000 TCR20

The detail under the front hood is passable. I do wish the “straps” holding the fuel tank in place were actual straps, and not merely moulded into the shape of the fuel tank.  Similar story with the engine. The carburettors have mesh painted on, instead of the real thing, but that’s expected, considering it’s just a low end Millenium. The rest of the engine is only saved by those super cool exhausts sticking out of the back. Without that, it would look like a pretty tiny and bland engine.

AA_Abarth 1000 TCR25

AA_Abarth 1000 TCR24

The interior is nicely done. The door card has a plastic pouch, and what I’m assuming is a leg rest sticking out. The steering wheel is a nice looking photo-etched piece. The gauges are all outlined in snazzy chrome. Interestingly enough, there is only one sun visor, which I’m sure was a weight saving measure. If you turn the model over, you’ll see a very nice gearbox casing, various plastic suspension bits and wires (yes, the wires are plastic too), and not much else.

AA_Abarth 1000 TCR13

AA_Abarth 1000 TCR2

So what we have here is a model that is more than the sum of its parts. Of course, the elephant in the room is a price that makes you think “surely they mean half of that amount?!”, but I don’t like beating a dead horse with a stick and that’s what the recent price discussions make me feel like I’m doing. Like I said in the first paragraph, this is an obscure model that required an all-new mould. It definitely isn’t for everyone, which means it definitely won’t sell as well as, say, the Huracan, hence the higher price. I applaud AUTOart for making this model. It’s a breath of fresh air in a sea of modern exotics, and well worth adding.

AA_Abarth 1000 TCR3 AA_Abarth 1000 TCR6 AA_Abarth 1000 TCR7

AA_Abarth 1000 TCR9 AA_Abarth 1000 TCR10 AA_Abarth 1000 TCR11

AA_Abarth 1000 TCR14 AA_Abarth 1000 TCR17 AA_Abarth 1000 TCR18

AA_Abarth 1000 TCR19 AA_Abarth 1000 TCR21 AA_Abarth 1000 TCR22

AA_Abarth 1000 TCR23 AA_Abarth 1000 TCR26 AA_Abarth 1000 TCR27

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11 Responses to "REVIEW: AUTOart Fiat Abarth 1000 TCR"

  1. DS Team says:

    Great review Wes! Like the mini history lesson the the origin of Abarth. Thanks.

  2. Richard C. says:

    From around 20-30 to 115 HP!

    “a psychotic little murder kitten fiat” indeed, nice review.

  3. slartibartfast229 says:

    You can read a short version of the Abarth story leading up to the arrival of the 1000TCR here:
    This is the best source of information on touring car racing around the World up until the early 90’s. Worth a look around – and is regularly updated…..

  4. damnyou says:

    Wat, missed this. Need one!

  5. Roger says:

    Nice review, I like seeing these novel and interesting cars too. A shelf full of virtually identical looking Lamborghini models makes me cringe.

  6. JS Coleman says:

    As for the car – each to his own, but as for the model, it’s good that it is actually diecast…and yes, it is good to see something other than the new Lamborghini with the latest awkward facelift.

    Excellent review – thanks.

  7. Mark says:

    Autoart, are you kidding me with those horrendeous plastic seat belts at this price level ?!! I never saw, that anybody criticized this ´classical´ feature from them which look like neverending story ? It look just palin ridiculous, destroying the whole interior and they are keeping doing it, so shameful…

    • akashneel says:

      Stop saying bad things about the car. It’s bullshit.

      • Mark says:

        Come on ! There wasnt a single thing about this car. Its just that these terrible looking plastic seat belts virtually ripped my eye off once again. In this price level, when lot of manufactures which consider themselves high-end are using fabric belts for years, again, its a shame. If you are ok with this detail, than rather collect toys.

  8. Lausambaychua says:

    I guess we’re on the same boat, since I’m so fed up with the endless Lamborghini/Ferrari releases that many, if not most, model brands offer. I just hope AUTOart will also offer the Fiat “Nouva” 500, any road-worthy variant will do. If they make that, the model will definitely find a place in my collection, soon or late, because one of my theme is “cult classics” such as Volkswagen Bettle, Volkswagen T1, Fiat 500, and the likes.

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