Fiat 131 Racing in South Africa

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Billym
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Fiat 131 Racing in South Africa

Post by Billym » July 17th, 2006, 5:05 am

This genuine Fiat 131 was raced as part of the very exciting Group 1 racing in South Africa in the late 70's and early 80's. It has been restored over a period of years and was raced by me in the International Historic race in Cape Town in Feb. 2006.
The Galaxie is from the UK


(131 photo edited by GC after resize)
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Fiat Hist1.jpg
The Galaxie is from the UK
Fiat Hist1.jpg (7.98 KiB) Viewed 6148 times
fiat_131_race_car1_113_745.jpg
fiat_131_race_car1_113_745.jpg (78.34 KiB) Viewed 6092 times
Billy Fiat131R

Guy Croft
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Post by Guy Croft » July 19th, 2006, 3:10 pm

Billy, good afternoon.

I'm sorry I did not write sooner. Thank you for joining and posting too, welcome to new GCRE! I like the background with the 131, I've never been to SA. I want to see more of the 131, hear more about it, it's my favourite rally car of all time.

Member Leon Bester has a beauty too, based SA also, fingers crossed we'll see it here soon.

With the very kind help of Denmark-based member Peter Andersen (thanks Peter) I have edited your photo to make for better viewing on dial-up.

Talk to you again soon I hope.

GC
Last edited by Guy Croft on July 19th, 2006, 3:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Billym
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Post by Billym » August 8th, 2006, 5:10 am

Thanks for the welcome Guy!
This 131 is one of the original 131 Racings built by Fiat South Africa to compete in Group N racing. According to official records only 16 were built. They were all 2 litre with twin downdraught carburettors - some with 40mm and some even with 44mm. It had special cams with 280 degree overlap. They raced in the late 70's early 80's and were very successful until banned because not enough cars were produced. The rules stated that at least 200 cars should have been produced.
My car was one of 4 raced with factory support and was raced by Brian von Hage in Cape Town. I bought it in pieces about 6 years ago and rebuilt it to it's present spec which is very close to original standard spec. The only changes are the brakes with 6 pot calipers in the front with Lancia rotors, twin 40mm side draught Webers and a 4.44 diff ratio. The car was dyno tested with 96Kw on the back wheels. I really would like to have one of your engines fitted to the car!!
There is a new interest in restoring especially Fiat 131s in South Africa and so far we have 5 competing in the increasingly popular Historic Racing car series in South Africa. The main competition are Alfa Romeos of all shapes and sizes.
Kind regards
Billy Fiat131R

sumplug
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Post by sumplug » August 8th, 2006, 7:50 am

My question billy, is how many 131R's are there in South Africa? Reason i ask is for anyone here wanting to import one over here. 131's here Billy, are getting rare, as most ive seen recently are complete basket cases.
Love your car. As Guy, one of my all time favourite cars. :)

Andy.

Billym
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Post by Billym » August 8th, 2006, 8:22 am

Andy, According to records only 16 genuine 131 Racings were built in South Africa. Homologation required 200 but that never happened and hence the disqualification after, I believe little bit more than a season of racing. 4 cars were works supported cars of which only 2 remain as far as we know - mine and another one that still belongs to the original owner! The other 2 cars were written off in racing accidents. They were really successful racers and won many races against the Mazda RX2's and Alfa Romeo GTV's of the day.
How many remain of the original cars is very difficult to ascertain as a 2 door Rally version was also available but with a 1600 pushrod engine and quite a few of these have been "converted" to the 131 Racing specs with 2L twin cam engines and offered as 131R's. I personally know of 3 genuine 131R road cars all in very lovely condition and with no rust! The original cars also had 13" magnesium Abarth rims and I still have the set that came of my car. I fitted 15" Lancia rims to accommodate the bigger brakes.
Even though the South African climate is much more rust friendly than the UK, quite a few cars here also succumbed to RIP (Rust In Peace)especially at the coast and mainly because of neglect. It is only recently that there has been a renewed interest in restoring/finding the available cars. Quite a few has been fitted with the Abarth body kits as moulds were available locally but I believe there is only one genuine Abarth here and that used to belong to Leon Bester but I believe was sold.
If there is an interest in South African cars please let me know and I can find out.
Billy Fiat131R

Billym
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Post by Billym » August 8th, 2006, 9:23 am

Guy, I have sent it to you per separate email. I checked the size and include it for the benefit of anybody else
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Fiat Engine bay3.jpg
Fiat Engine bay3.jpg (28.56 KiB) Viewed 5927 times
Billy Fiat131R

sumplug
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Post by sumplug » August 8th, 2006, 9:38 am

Billy.
I would like to see some form of filtration on the engine to keep out the dust. A must if you do any track work. ITG or Pipercross for example do nice filters.
Engine bay looks superb by the way. Very very nice!! :)

Andy.

Billym
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Post by Billym » August 8th, 2006, 9:49 am

Thanks Andy. Our next step is to built a proper air box that is shielded from the engine heat and will draw air from the front with a filter. I really believe in cold air and have had excellent results with my Alfas.
Billy Fiat131R

arguti
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Re: Fiat 131 Racing in South Africa

Post by arguti » June 10th, 2019, 2:48 pm

Hi Billy

Thread resurrection.....would love to know more about these as contemplating getting a 131 Racing after so many Alfas and Lancias. I own two of the South African Alfetta GTV6 3.0s - another South African special but dont know much about these.

out of interest, does anyone in South Africa keep a register of the original chassis numbers etc as I know with the 3.0 GTV6s several fakes have appeared over the last few years as the prices creep upwards.

thanks
stephen
GC_48

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