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