Bonhams will auction off a trio of recent “barn find” Abarth sportscars next month at its Greenwich Concours d'Elegance sale, the three kicking off with a Zagato-bodied Fiat-Abarth 750 Record Monza from 1959 which has been discovered still in running order but which will clear require a full restoration.
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 were 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.
The car also featured a 4-speed manual transaxle, four-wheel independent suspension and drum brakes on each of the wheels.
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.
This particular Fiat-Zagato sports car is a recent barn discovery by Chasing Classic Cars star Wayne Carrini. The discovery of this remarkable triple Abarth collection is featured in a current season episode.
The auctioneer says that it’s being offered now in running condition [but] the Abarth will require either a restoration or careful recommissioning before regular use. The car is highly complete and appears quite sound. “
Bohnams reckon that “this is a fairly straightforward car to get back to road condition thanks to its simple mechanicals and largely aluminium construction. Once back in action, it will reward its owner with a very fun to drive car eligible for many exclusive events.”
They have estimated the car, which is from 1959, as fetching between US$30,000 and US$40,000 when it goes under the hammer at the Greenwich Concours d'Elegance Auction on 3 June.