'The performance of FIAT engines, as modified by Carlo Abarth, has for long been held to verge on the supernatural.' John Bolster, Autosport magazine.
After leaving Cisitalia in 1948, Austrian-born engineer Carlo Abarth set up as an independent in Turin, the home of the Italian auto industry. From producing induction and exhaust systems, Abarth branched out into selling performance kits for - mainly FIAT - production cars, later building a highly successful series of sports prototypes and limited-series production cars, many of which were produced in conjunction with Carrozzeria Zagato. An innovative concern with a sporting pedigree second to none, Abarth was taken over by FIAT in 1972.
The car offered here was built by Mike Jordan, owner of the Jordan Racing Team and father of Andrew Jordan, outright BTCC champion in 2013. It is a re-creation of the car his wife drove during their courtship days. The basis of this Abarth re-creation was a mint and rust free FIAT 126 discovered on display at a FIAT main dealership in 2011. The one elderly lady owner had covered a mere 6,668 miles in the car, making it the perfect candidate for restoration and upgrading, not to mention repainting in an eye-catching colour scheme.
The little FIAT was then stripped and totally rebuilt by Mike, who modified it by removing the plastic bumpers and side trims before despatching it to the highly respected Normandales body shop for a complete repaint in bright orange. The interior was re-trimmed in black vinyl with new matching carpets, and new chromed bumpers fitted together with new Minilite wheels and new tyres. Noted Abarth experts Middle Barton Garage rebuilt the engine to Abarth specification complete side-draught carburettor, Abarth camshaft, new pistons, new clutch, up-rated gearbox, stronger drive shafts and an Abarth exhaust system.
This unique Abarth re-creation is one of Chris Evans' more recent acquisitions, catching his attention due to its bright orange colour, which matches his hair. Built to an extremely high standard by experienced practitioners, it affords the prospect of enormous fun for a relatively modest outlay.