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1957 Abarth 750 Spyder by Zagato

This design was rejected by Carlo Abarth, after which most of the Abarth 750 Spiders were produced by Allemano. An innovative concern with a sporting pedigree second to none, Abarth branched out from producing induction and exhaust systems into selling performance kits for - mainly FIAT - production cars, later building a succession of aerodynamically stylish sports prototypes and limited-series production cars.

One of Carlo Abarth’s most successful series of GT cars was based on the FIAT 600, the first of these handsome little Zagato-bodied coupés - the 750 - appearing in 1956. The 600 chassis was used with scant modification, from changing spring rates and up-rating the front brakes to twin-leading shoe operation. However, despite this apparent handicap coped remarkably well with Abarth’s significantly increased performance. The latter was achieved by boring and stroking the 600’s 633cc four-cylinder engine to 747cc and modifying or replacing just about every other component, the result being an increase in maximum power from 23bhp at 4,000rpm to 44bhp at 6,000 revs. Tested by The Autocar magazine in 1958, the Abarth Zagato 750 GT scorched through the standing quarter-mile in 20 seconds on its way to a maximum speed of 95mph, outstanding figures for such a small-engined car.

Its makers were well aware of the potential market for a soft-top or Spider version; the first of these were exhibited at the Turin Auto Show in 1957. A second car was shown the following year, but Zagato was far too busy turning out coupés to devote much time to Spider production, and it is believed that only 2-4 cars of this type, each one unique, were ever constructed.


Images: Zagato;

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