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The Abarth Steering Wheel has been a very popular steering wheel for a lot of classic car fans for many years. No matter if you drive a Porsche, Fiat, Lancia, Alfa Romeo or BMW. Maybe it’s still a bit under the radar, rather for connoisseurs, while everyone who considers himself and his car sporty, buys a Momo Prototipo.
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The steering wheel was used in rally cars a lot in the 60s and 70s, thats why it earned the nickname Abarth Rally. Officially, however, there is no name for the classic Abarth Steering Wheel. It was available in three sizes, 320mm, 350mm and 370mm. There are also structurally identical steering wheels but without “Abarth” lettering. These steering wheels were made for automakers such as Autobianchi and Lancia, which were also available in 330mm and 380mm diameter. Only the Abarth variations received the steering wheels with the inscription “Abarth”, such as the Autobianchi A112 Abarth, the Fiat 124 Abarth, Fiat 131 Abarth, the Fiat 500/600 Abarth and some others. It was available in black (anodized aluminium) and silver (brushed aluminium).
Black Abarth Steering Wheel – 370mm
Apart from the Abarth vehicle versions of the manufacturers, the steering wheels were of course also commercially available and enjoyed great popularity. Rally legend Walter Röhrl also swears by the Abarth Steering Wheel and some of the rally vehicles he used to drive had the Abarth Steering Wheel installed. Check out how Walter Röhrl works with the Abarth Steering Wheel.
In the video, Walter Röhrl drives a 1971 Porsche 911 S with the legendary Abarth Steering Wheel. Over the years I have collected some of these steering wheels, they are available here. Porsche is a also a good keyword. Often the steering wheel is associated with the legendary 1967 Porsche 911R, which is not quite correct. The steering wheel of the 911R is a special Momo Monza that featured spoke slots unlike the standard Monza, which had round openings. The 911R Monza was a flat and not a semi dish steering wheel like the Abarth. Due to this similarity, the Abarth Steering Wheel is very popular with Porsche fans. Optically and technically the best alternative to the original 911R steering wheel, which is very hard to find and if – prohibitively expensive.
The Orginal Porsche 911R Steering Wheel, Credits: Google
The Abarth Steering Wheel – 350mm
early Abarth Steering Wheel, 66-67, Credits: Mark M
Patent No 12707, Credits: Mark M
Shortly after the founding of the Momo brand, the steering wheels then bore only the Abarth trademark, no further engraving, a few years later was “Made in Italy” engraved on the back of one of the side spokes. Also, the diameter of the handles changed, the earlier version without engraving on the back has a diameter of about 28.6 mm, the later a diameter of about 31.2mm. That does not sound like much and you can’t really see it, but it is clearly noticeable if you have it in your hands.
earlier version with thiner grip and without any marking on the back
later version, slightly thicker grip, Made in Italy on the back
Made in Italy on the back of the left spoke
Made in Italy on the back of the right spoke
Sometimes the engraving was on the back of the either left or right spoke of the steering wheel. Reason behind is unknown. Just like Momo, there were lots of different Abarth horn buttons available – in various colours and earlier ones (with a chrome ring) and later ones (without the chrome ring).
early chrome ring Abarth Horn Button
Overall, a very nice alternative and a way to stand out of the Prototipo crowd.