Avanti Motorsport started out in 1977 as Avanti Tuning and was formed by Franco Rizzuti in response to enquiries by other competitors as to why his car was so fast! Frank had been rallying for a number of years prior to this, starting at first in a Mini Cooper S, then proceeding on to the venerable Ford Escort. Firstly in a crossflow powered car then onto an RS2000 then a Lotus Twincam version.
His interest in modifying his own vehicles started not long after he left school and while on his motor vehicle apprenticeship, by trying to get his Lambretta to go faster than all his friends similar machines. ( Yes, Frank used to be a mod!). He succeeded and soon was modifying motorbikes for his brother and others. When the rallying bug bit, he decided that the best way to go fast was to buy the best parts but do all the work himself, with his own ideas as to what would give him the most power and reliability. The cars were very quick compared to most he competed against and very reliable although at times this was difficult to prove as Frank's enthusiasm and driving ability sometimes allowed the car an early visit to the scenery! Afterwards the comments were usually "Your car was really quick and you might have won if you had not hit that fence/tree/bulding/other car!"
The learning curve was steep but in no time at all they were starting to modify all things Fiat, from the 500 upwards. Before the 70's ended Avanti was going strong and became the UK arm of the worldwide FAZA ABARTH Fiat tuning group. This was a circle of independent Fiat tuners who joined forces in association with Abarth to develop and produce the best Fiat, Lancia and Alfa Romeo parts that money could buy. With the help of a machine shop in Italy that we joined forces with in the late 70's, we started to design and manufacture our own range of competition gearbox parts including limited slip differentials and close ratio gears for most Italian cars. Now, at the start of the 21st century we can manufacture and supply a full competition gearbox for just about any car, Italian or not. If you require a pair of limited slip differentials for your Bugatti EB110, we can supply! A close ratio gearbox for a Ferrari 355, no problem! We can even provide you with a 6 speed dog gearbox for a Fiat 600D. In the mid 80's it was decided that the Fiat name in England needed a boost so a plan was formulated to tie up the brand with a fully supported motorsport series.
And so the Fiat Challenge was created as a low cost entry level one make series. This was open to all Fiat front wheel drive cars with a maximum engine capacity of 1301cc. The series was very successful and gained popularity very quickly, sometimes having as many as 25+ cars competing in an event. I joined Frank in 1988 to help on the sales side of the business as he had too many engines and gearboxes to build and not enough time to answer the phone. Maybe I'm just here to preserve his sanity! Pressures of work commitments meant that Frank had to give up driving but we built, supplied and maintained an Uno for George Mullins for many years not only on the Fiat Challenge but also on the RAC Rally and many ventures abroad. We have in recent years run our own circuit racing Uno in the Auto Italia magazine sponsored series. But again work and family commitments have led us to stand back from the world of motorsport and just have our name out there on the dozen or so cars we sponsor in various different championships and types of competition. In 2001 we were back out competing in an ultralight, 190 bhp Uno turbo in the Pagid Brakes circuit series based at Castle Combe racing circuit in Wiltshire. This car was fast!
red and yellow FIAT 128 Forest Rally car.
As we are now in the new Millenium ( cue Robbie Williams soundtrack! ), we are expanding our ranges of services to the Italian car owner and motorsport competitor alike. The range of services now include engine and gearbox reconditioning, brakes, suspension, chips and electronic tuning parts, exhausts from some of the worlds best suppliers, carburettor reconditioning and performance carburettor replacements, styling and bodykit parts for most cars and finally competition transmission systems for most cars. There's probably more that I've forgotten to include but this gives you an idea of where we came from and maybe where we're heading (If you do have any idea where we're heading, we would be pleased if you could let us know!). Many thanks for spending the time to read this and I hope we can supply you with some of our quality parts in the future.
Frank Rizzuti and Darren Appleby
Tel: (0044) 1458 446517