1960 Fiat-Abarth 1000 Monoposto Da Record "La Principessa"
In the 1950s Abarth was designing and building its own race cars, making itself pretty well known in the international motorsport community. To help promote the company name and brand, Carlo Abarth – the founder of Abarth & Company – looked to competing for international speed endurance records. In doing so, the company created a number of number of vehicles, but the most important cars, arguably, came from a collaboration between Abarth and Pininfarina. The first car developed from this collaboration was a 750 cc Monoposta that debuted in 1957. It went on to set a Class H record by maintaining an average speed of 102.743 mph for 72 hours.
Around the same time, Abarth had another breakthrough using its new Bialbero engine. With this engine in the Pininfarina-designed Monoposto, Abarth was able to smash its own three-hour record by more than 8.5 mph. With the thirst for record breaking taking hold, Abarth continued to improve its designs with Pininfarina and eventually built a final series of these streamlined record setters. And, the one you see here was Abarth’s primary 1,000 cc that goes by the name La Principessa.
Powered by a type 229 Bialbero engine, this baby had just 108 horsepower and could hit a top speed of 136 mph. It set a number of Class G records at Monza between September 28 and October 1, 1960, including an average speed of 126.545 mph over 12 hours, 123.525 mph over 24 hours, 118.224 mph over 48 hours, and 116.001 mph over 72 hours. The car has been kept in storage most of its life and has been owned by the same family for most of it existence. Recently going under the hammer at the Gooding & Company auction during Monterey Car Week 2016, we finally got a good look at this piece of Abarth history, so let’s dive on in and talk a little more about it.
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The Abarth Scorpione is different from the Abarth cars that we know today, with the first clue to this being right in the name. Modern Abarths aren’t branded exclusively as Abarths, but rather as a trim/sub-brand for Fiat. The Scorpione is indeed the last car developed entirely by Abarth, although there are still plenty of Fiat parts to be found in it. The car is a reworked tuner version of the Lombardi Grand Prix, itself a heavily reworked version of the Fiat 850. Making the Scorpione doubly tuned, if that’s a thing. This one was sold to be a race car, but was modified once again by its second owner, who made some motorsport-specific changes to the car.
The car was first developed as a Lombardi for 1968, with the Abarth model following shortly thereafter. The Lombardi would last until 1972, but when Fiat bought out all of Abarth in 1971, one of the first things it did was kill off the Scorpione. So with as rare as the Grand Prix is, the Scorpione is even rarer. But the one you see here, from 1969, is a unique version of the car, and quite possibly the most powerful example in existence.
Continue reading to learn more about the 1969 Abarth Scorpione Prototipo.