Monte Carlo, 1980. The relative calm before the Group B storm, when a small, normally aspirated 4-cylinder car could still win on the world rally stage. Fiat’s 131 was well proven by this point, and had some of the world’s best drivers at its helm, including Walter Rohrl, Bjorn Waaldegard, Markku Alen, Jean-Claude Andruet, and certainly not least, today’s subject Michele Mouton (heart flutters).

The WRC Group 4-spec 131 Abarth had a 2.0L twin cam four good for 230hp, more than enough to throw its 1000 kilos (2200lbs) down the road, and a very close ratio ZF-Colotti 5-speed to ensure it was always on the boil. First raced in 1976, the little Fiat was Italy’s version of the Ford MkII RS and had held its own through the late 70's. Though it was a bit long in the tooth, Walter Rohrl would take the win in one at the Monte in 1980, his first there. Our heroine Michele would come in 7th in this car, some 23 minutes behind after a tough event that saw incredible attrition.

This model is in 1/43, once again an IXO/Altaya in the Calberson freight company livery like Friday’s R5, although this one is good enough to be a true IXO. I wasn’t so sure from the auction pictures but I’m not disappointed, it’s an awesome buy. Happy to add another Mouton car to the collection to complement my quattros.

Hope you’ve had a great weekend!