REVIEW: Kyosho Fiat 131 Abarth Alitalia #1 Rally Portugal 1978 •

REVIEW: Kyosho Fiat 131 Abarth Alitalia #1 Rally Portugal 1978

More on the livery side, and again it comes from Kyosho.  We recently reviewed their 1:18 Kyosho Lancia 037 Martini #1 Winner Rally Montecarlo, tagged as the new ‘Night Version’ release, overall adequate release.  At the time Kyosho also delivered three new versions of the classic release, the Fiat 131 Abarth.

New for 2020/2021 is the Fiat 131 Abarth Works Olio #5 Winner Rally Portugal 1980, driver W.Rohrl and co-driver C.Geistdorfer, the Fiat 131 Abarth Alitalia #1 Rally Portugal 1978, driver S.Munari and co-driver P.Sodano and finally the Fiat 131 Abarth River Team #11 Rally Sanremo 1980, driver A.Bettega and co-driver A.Bernacchini.  Geez, that was a mouth full!

Under the microscope today is the 1:18 Kyosho Fiat 131 Abarth Alitalia #1 Rally Portugal 1978.  For two reasons, we love the Italian connection and also the Alitalia livery brings back some cherished memories of simpler times.   We promise a later Photo Gallery entry of the remaining two very soon.

The Alitalia logo and colours are unmistakably theirs.  And it is the first thing you notice once you uncover the upper styrofoam shell.  As with Kyosho’s Lancia, the decal work is completed underneath the clearcoat; for longevity, this is the best method.  The exterior is just littered with decals.  The craftsmanship here is extremely good along with the paintwork.

The Kyosho Fiat 131 Abarth is another classic from their past.  The exterior is made of diecast metal and once again does feature full 360 access.   Kyosho goes one step further with the Fiat, where the Lancia was equipped with static suspension the Fiat 131 Abarth is not, all four corners are active.

As for the exterior accuracy, what we studied is very close to the original car.  The wide stance with moulded fenders, even the reenforcing structures around the front windshield is part of the package.  We also find the shut lines and gaps better with the Fiat 131 Abarth.  Possibly due to the less complex design.

Six lights grace the frontend, the lower two the auxiliary units – we will add the chrome here is little on the budget side.  The lower centre grille is mesh and fabricated in metal.  And quality side indicators are defined within each fender.

The mighty hood scoop in front is open to the inside while the outer two grilles are sealed and executed in plastic.  We have a weakness for forward sweeping hoods, the Fiat 131 Abarth is equipped as so.  Thankfully, Kyosho does provide a hood prop to hold in place as the metal does have some heft behind it.

The motor detail is moderately underwhelming in comparison to the Lancia effort.  The lack of colour for one, and what it does offer up for the basics, block, headers, all are executed in the same Silver, this trend also leads to the front cooling apparatus.

Some cool elements are the OEM labels on the outer section, and we also love the exposed intake with a mesh grille.  Though should this not be covered with a pre-filer? Especially for a car designed explicitly for rally racing.

Underneath the detail is as inspiring as the motor.  The centre drivetrain is moulded into the base.  The exhaust system does stretch from front to rear, and the protective shield in front is definitely the star of the show.

A neat feature from the rear is the cut-out within the hatch that exposes the filler cap (cap is not accessible).  Lifting the hatch reveals the fuel tank and battery.  The rest is executed in Black plastic. Hint to an older mould is revealed via the dog-hinges that support the hatch.  These are massive!

Finishing up the rear we find carefully defined taillights, toe hook and lower exhaust tips.  Oh, there are also rubber mud-flaps are all four corners too.

Wheels are the standard issue of the day.  Overall, the look is captured.  Careful attention to small detail with the Abarth scorpion in the centre.  Not much to see in terms of brake rotors and calipers due to the mono-black design wheels.  We did note this above, this Fiat 131 Abarth comes equipped with active suspension.

Two doors provide access to the interior side.  Black is the theme here, with the majority of the interior design the same, the exception does include the foot pedals (both sides), dials, shifter and racing harness and rear fire extinguisher.  These added elements do do along way for overall impression.

What we appreciated best was the texture within the centre of the seats and the outer stitching pattern.  Fabric racing harness is completed for both diver and co-driver.  The co-driver side also provides the communication device housed within the upper section of the roofline.  Love it!

In all, the re-issue of the Kyosho Fiat 131 Abarth is welcomed addition.  For fans that are new and old, it does provide an option to some of the earlier works by Kyosho.  We did a quick search, some are selling in excess of $600+ CND.  Nuts!  With the new supply coming to dealers on this side of the pond soon, we think you’ll be more than entertained with the latest releases.

Someone mentioned in the comments from the earlier Lancia review that it would be nice to have a completely updated version of these classics.  Meaning updates to the hinge work and related features.  We’re all for it, but is the juice worth the squeeze?  Will this evitability add more cost and a higher price?  That’s for Kyosho to answer.  Enjoy the pics!

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7 Responses to "REVIEW: Kyosho Fiat 131 Abarth Alitalia #1 Rally Portugal 1978"

  1. ss19 says:

    What you want from a model who is 15 years old. Kyosho in this release changed only the shape of the wheels. Well, the price, of course.

    • DS Team says:

      Yes, the model hasn’t evolved much, but in Kyoho’s defence has the hobby in 2021? Hell no, it is quite the opposite. As for price, there is no chance of retail remaining as it did in the golden era. Though some brands in current time have proven otherwise…

  2. SamtheCat says:

    Nice review! I’ve been checking pictures of the real car and the original Kyosho releases. The engine, although lacking detail, it’s correct-ish: Not all looked the same and some components changed positions and shape, but the pictures I’ve found that correspond with the one depicted here show that the mesh over the trumpets was the only thing protecting them, no filter there. What I coudln’t find, are pictures with the indicators, reflectors or whatever on the second row, so they seem to be new. Perhaps that’s the reason why they have a pinhole, as they needed to drill the old mold to fit them? At least they didn’t use the version with painted indicators.

    What I don’t like about this model, but I think Kyosho’s not to blame here, since there are some pictures where it does indeed look quite like this, is how in the wheels are. It reminds me of when in the early 2000 you’d see modified cars with widebody but that couldn’t afford wider wheels or separators so they were the original width hahaha

  3. Charlie says:

    My tow cents: The original release, Alitalia liveried cars were the ones that brought the big money on the secondary market. Simply put, it’s the way most people remember the car. Who cam blame Kyosho for dusting off the mold, and doing another version for what must be an excellent profit margin? Now my only nit is the the one thing that differentiates this release from all the previous ones….those Campagnolo wheels. Yes, they may be correct, but the 131 Fiat-abarths that everyone remembers ran those super wide, deep dish wheels all the earlier releases wear. So my guess is that a small handful of completeists will buy it for that difference, but most folks will opt for a car with the more iconic wheels. IMO this car, because of the wheels was a bad idea.

  4. slartibartfast229 says:

    The narrow wheels on this veersion of the 131 are because most of the Portugese rally was ‘loose surface’. Kudos to Kyosho for making this change. The wider rims seen on other versions of this model represent cars running on sealed surfaces, such as the Tour de Corse. The device over the co-drivers head is more likely to be a map light, the ridges suggest a ‘goose neck’ support. I think it should also be steel coloured.

  5. Giorgio262 says:

    reissuing older, I’d dare to say successful, models seems like a move from Kyosho to stay afloat in the diecast market without having to invest into making entirely new models. It does make perfect sense, but the fact that they wouldn’t update the tooling is revealing of the fact that they are just trying to sqeeze some more money out of these models. And it’s also a bit of a missed oportunity. still, if it helps pushing down the price of used models, that might be good enough for some of us.

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