1957 Fiat Abarth 750GT Corsa Zagato
Between 1956 and 1971 engineer Carlo Abarth and his team became synonymous for converting inexpensive everyday cars into something much more special. His company Abarth & Co. struck such a chord when they won the World Manufacturers' Championship seven times and were class champions at Le Mans, the Mille Miglia, Daytona, Sebring, and on the Targa Florio. A highlight was on the 1957 Mille Miglia where Alfonso Thiele won the 750cc class and his two teammates finished second and third respectively, all driving a new Fiat 750GT Abarth. Thiele finished the 1,000 miles at an average speed of 117.9kmh (73.7mph).
Officially called the Fiat 600 Derivazione Abarth 750 GT Carrozzeria Zagato, the car was built on the floorplan of the regular Fiat 600. Modifications by Abarth included a kit which enlarged the displacement to 750cc by adding or changing performance parts such as the crank, cam, pistons, carburetor, exhaust header/silencer, tachometer, spinner hubcaps, and a new grille. This package was then fitted with a beautifully sculpted body made by Zagato, the famed Italian stylist noted for their low-drag aluminium coachwork and for having bodied many Italian sports and racing cars. The aerodynamic shapes of the Abarth Zagato were accentuated by the signature ‘double bubble’ roof and, weighing in at a mere 570kgs, the top speed was close to 100mph.
The Fiat Abarth Zagato "Double Bubble" (750 GT) is considered by many to be the most attractive of all Carlo Abarth's cars. The car is beautifully designed, from the flush chrome door handles to the echo of the double roof curve replicated into the design of the engine bay lid; from the covered headlights to the sensuous lines of the bumpers.
It is understood that only some 21 ‘Corsa’ or race versions of the 750GT were originally produced and this example, chassis # 341309, is properly documented in the Jan De Boer Registry of cars built. Delivered new in December 1957 to the USA it has a long and known ownership history. Importantly it retains its original engine, bored to correct 750cc displacement and which was just fully rebuilt by Abarth specialist Berni Motori in Maoli, Italy prior to entering 2018 Mille Miglia. Further mechanical work performed in recent years has included new brake shoes, a complete new wiring harness and refurbished generator and starter. All the instruments and gauges are working correctly, and subtle upgrades now include internal and external power switches, Halogen light bulbs, a Schrotter 3-point safety belt harness and an auxiliary horn button for the navigator to use. Since the car is a Corsa version (thus with Plexiglass side windows, special sump and more) rear seats were never fitted and the owner has cleverly installed a custom fit metal Halliburton suitcase which is bolted to floor to carry spare parts and tools.
The current custodian, a truly knowledgeable enthusiast, has successfully completed the Mille Miglia three times in the car; it is offered with an original Fiat took kit, current FIVA passport (A3 category) and a feature magazine article on it by the in-house Petersen Automotive Museum Checkered Flag 200 publication. The car has been shown at the Greystone Concours in Beverly Hills where it came 1st in Class and was also the feature vehicle in a 2014 ‘Petrolicious’ video.
A highly eligible Mille Miglia entry; viewing of the car is by appointment only as it is currently on display at the Zagato Museum in Italy.