The Abarth 1000SP returns (briefly) as a resurrected Alfa 4C | Top Gear
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Tuesday 3rd October

The Abarth 1000SP returns (briefly) as a resurrected Alfa 4C

A limited-run, carbon-bodied small Italian supercar? Sounds good, but looks... well, like this

Published: 24 Oct 2022

Let’s make something perfectly clear from the outset: this isn’t an Abarth.

Sure, the badge is there, as is the name – 1000 SP – which was plucked from an old race car that 999 out of 1000 people have never heard of. But even blind Freddie (who, coincidentally, would probably love those looks) can tell that it’s an Alfa Romeo 4C with some new bodywork and badges. 

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So underneath, it’s broadly what you’ve come to expect from Alfa’s small sports car – carbon/aluminium construction for an 1,100kg-ish kerb weight, a 240bhp turbocharged four-cylinder driving the rear wheels through a twin-clutch gearbox, and the nagging feeling that it really deserved better. 

But, aside from that nagging feeling, not much else is really what you’d call a bad thing. OK, that gearbox. But not much else besides. And it’s not like Alfa Romeo and Abarth didn’t cross paths in the past – the 750 Competizione, for instance, or the Alfa-Abarth 1000 – so a modern mashup fits historically. 

The original Abarth 1000 SP, however, was based on the basic running gear of a Fiat 600. It was also a bona fide race car that weighed less than half a tonne, and left most people wondering where exactly Fiat bits actually fit into the finished product. So to take the running gear from a modern Fiat 500 and build a featherweight, rear-mid-engined track/race car would have been an amazing way to re-launch Abarth as a standalone brand.

But that’s the kind of thing that costs real money, and there was a) already a recent light-ish rear-mid-engined car in the Stellantis stable, and b) apparently already a plan to release the 1000 SP, back when the Alfa 4C was still in development. 

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So what we’re left with is a restyled version of an old car that harks back to an even older one. Which really isn’t what Carlo Abarth was about: racing sports cars, and selling go-faster bits to anyone else who liked the idea as much as he did. 

But then, as we made rather clear from the outset, this isn’t an Abarth.

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