Lot 595: 1957 FIAT-Abarth 750 Record Monza Coupé
Coachwork by Carrozzeria Zagato
An innovative concern with a sporting pedigree second to none, Abarth branched out from producing induction and exhaust systems into selling performance kits for - mainly FIAT - production cars, later building a succession of aerodynamically stylish sports prototypes and limited-series production cars, many of which were produced in conjunction with Carrozzeria Zagato.
One of Carlo Abarth’s most successful series of GT cars was based on the FIAT 600, the first of these handsome little Zagato-bodied coupés - the 750 - appearing in 1956. Although the 750 was production based the customer had such freedom of choice, including engine specification, that it is rare to find two identical cars. The 600 chassis was used with scant modification apart from changing spring rates and up-rating the front brakes to twin-leading-shoe operation, yet despite this apparent handicap coped remarkably well with the Abarth’s greatly increased performance. The latter was achieved by boring and stroking the 600’s 633cc four-cylinder engine to 747cc and modifying or replacing just about every other component, the result being an increase in maximum power from 23bhp at 4,000rpm to 44bhp at 6,000 revs. Tested by The Autocar magazine in 1958, the Abarth Zagato 750 GT scorched through the standing quarter-mile in 20 seconds on its way to maximum speed of 95mph, outstanding figures for such a small-engined car.
The next stage of development saw the 750 equipped with an Abarth-designed double-overhead-camshaft cylinder head that helped liberate 47bhp from the tiny engine, models thus equipped being dubbed ‘Bialbero’ (Twin-cam). Abarth’s diminutive coupés were soon dominating the small-capacity classes in international GT racing. Indeed, in North American SCCA events the 1.0-litre Abarth was obliged to compete against rivals displacing up to 3.8 litres and still proved capable of winning!
Restored in the early 1990s, this original, matching numbers example formed part of an important European Zagato collection until 2007 and is offered fresh from total re-commissioning by JD Classics earlier this year. A fun historic car offering tremendous value, it is offered with old-style logbook, road fund licence/MoT to February 2009 and Swansea V5 registration document.
Goodwood Festival of Speed|
Bonhams, Goodwood, Chichester, Sussex
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