The story of Abarth and the history that the company shares with Fiat is an essential chapter in the history of top tier motorsport. Originally founded by Carlo Abarth in 1949, he chose to use his astrological sign (Scorpio) as the official company logo and despite the company’s later association with Fiat, they started out creating custom exhaust systems for Cisitalia vehicles.
Abarth would later work with Lambretta and Fiat before being acquired by Fiat in 1971 and being officially designated the “Skunk Works” division of the Italian auto maker. Long before this official relationship began, one of the first performance vehicles built by Abarth on a Fiat platform was the car you see here – the 1959 Fiat-Abarth 750 Zagato.
With the chassis built by Fiat, the body designed by Zagato and the engine/transmission built by Fiat, the 750 is one of the most thoroughly Italian cars ever created. It’s also one of the most beautiful thanks to the work of Carrozzeria Zagato – an automobile designer directly responsible for some of the most visually stunning and aerodynamically slippery cars built in the mid to late 20th century.
The relatively small engine fitted to the Fiat-Abarth 750 was tuned to within an inch of its life, the usually meek 4 cylinder engine was fitted with a twin overhead cam and increased in size to 835cc. In this trim the engine produced an impressive 85bhp at 8,000rpm, the car was entered into small-capacity classes in international GT racing where it saw significant successes – often against cars with engines 3-4 times larger.
The car you see pictured here is thought to be one of 4 Ex-Team Roosevelt vehicles campaigned at Sebring in 1959, it also has an estimated price tag of just $175,000 to $250,000 – making it one of the cheaper vintage Zagato designs to come up for sale in recent memory.
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