Events

A pre­vi­ously un­seen col­lec­tion of Abarth cu­rios hum­bles the man­u­fac­turer’s own

Classic Cars (UK) - - Contents -

In­cred­i­ble Abarth col­lec­tion un­veiled in Paris, Ger­man metal dom­i­nates the NEC, and we re­mem­ber the lives of Dan Gur­ney and Gérard Wel­ter

A20-strong dis­play of Abarth pro­to­types, the first time they’ve been seen to­gether out­side of the Swiss col­lec­tion they’re usu­ally con­fined to, com­pre­hen­sively up­staged Fiat’s own Abarth Clas­siche stand at Rétro­mo­bile.

The prop­erty of Swiss Gm-opel dealer and for­mer Abarth works driver En­gle­bert Möll, they were ac­quired af­ter an ac­ci­dent at the Nür­bur­gring ef­fec­tively ended Möll’s rac­ing ca­reer, a few years be­fore Abarth him­self sold up to Fiat. Rac­ing sports-pro­to­types in­cluded two exar­turo Merzario race-winners and a brace of ex-jo­hannes Ort­ner hill climb cham­pi­ons.

OT2000

‘The OT2000 is, for me, the cra­zi­est car here,’ said Franz Stein­bacher, man­ager of the Möll Col­lec­tion. ‘It was es­sen­tially a Fiat 850 Coupé that Abarth fit­ted with a 2.0-litre en­gine, in the back, which gave 150bhp – in 1966. It was aimed at the Amer­i­can mar­ket but they didn’t take to it.

2000 Sport Spi­der

‘This 2000 Sport Spi­der Pro­totipo SE014/019 is the most orig­i­nal Abarth sports pro­to­type left in ex­is­tence,’ said Stein­bacher of the car Ar­turo Merzario used to beat the works Porsche 908s and Alfa Romeo T33s to win back to back Mugello Grands Prix in 1969 and 1970. ‘It was orig­i­nally built for the 1968 sea­son, but was re­bod­ied as a ‘Cu­neo’ – Ital­ian for ‘cor­ner’, a name given to Abarth’s new wedge-shaped high-down­force body­work – for 1969.

‘It also re­ceived the new 2.0-litre pro­duc­tion-de­rived Fiat block fed by two dou­ble-choke We­ber 58 car­bu­ret­tors. It was the last Abarth to fea­ture car­bu­ret­tors – this en­gine made 240bhp, but with fuel in­jec­tion in­tro­duced from 1971, it was mak­ing 258bhp. This car has re­mained com­pletely orig­i­nal and unrestored.’

T140 V12 en­gine

‘This is what we’re most proud of,’ said Stein­bacher, ges­tur­ing to the pair-of-v6s T140 V12 en­gine. ‘There were four made, of which this is the only sur­vivor – one was a show mock-up and an­other was de­stroyed in test­ing. It was in­tended for the Tipo 240 Le Mans pro­to­type de­signed in 1967.

‘The 6.0-litre V12 was de­vel­oped to com­pete in World Sports Car Cham­pi­onship rac­ing, and gen­er­ated 600bhp on the test run, but rule changes ahead of the 1968 sea­son lim­it­ing pro­to­types to 3.0 litres killed the project.’

2400 Coupé

‘Carlo Abarth’s per­sonal car sums up his as­pi­ra­tions for his mar­que,’ said Stein­bacher of the 2400 Coupé. ‘It used the Fiat 2300S Coupé as a ba­sis, but re­placed the stan­dard Ghia coach­work with bod­ies by Alle­mano or El­lena, and bored the en­gine out to 2.4 litres. Many think the El­lena ver­sion was more at­trac­tive, but Carlo pre­ferred the Alle­mano, prob­a­bly be­cause it looked more like the Maserati 3500GT and Fer­rari 250 that the coach­builder clothed around the same time.’

OT2000, ex-ar­turo Merzario 2000 Spi­der Pro­totipo SE021 and ex-jo­hannes Ort­ner 2000 Sport 4-Fari SE010 head up mas­sive pri­vately owned Abarth dis­play

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