1970 Abarth 2000 GT


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1970 Abarth 2000 Sport SE014 'Europeo Montagna'
Registration no. Not registered in the UK
Chassis no. SE014/001

The Abarth marque, known within Italy as 'The Scorpion' after its distinctive brand emblem, ended 1970 with no fewer than 790 victories somewhere around the world recorded in one category or class, or another. The marque won the European Touring Car Championship's Division 1 yet again with Johann Abt of Germany driving a Group 2 Fiat Abarth 1000 Berlina, while the European Mountain Championship title fell to Austrian Johannes Ortner in an Abarth 2000 Sport as now offered here.

For the new 1970 season Abarth had introduced its latest evolution of its big 'centrale-engined' 3-litre V8 sports-prototype. Supporting the costly 3-litre project was the 2000cc for Sport and Sport-Prototype racing plus the important European Mountain Championship competition. In line with new regulations the rear end of the new Sports models was left open to the elements without shrouding transom body panelling. Safety fuel tanks were also fitted as a fresh development for the new year.

A works entry was to be made in the European Mountain Championship series, and in the SE014 model as offered here the 2-litre 16-valve single-plug ignition power unit was overhung as Carlo Abarth still preferred outboard of the rear axle line. But at the end of March 1970 an alternative model – the Sport 2000 SE019 with 'MC' engine location – 'motore centrale'. Plainly the years-old argument between Carlo Abarth and his Technical Director Mario Colucci continued to burn...

The 1946cc 4-cylinder engine, with bore and stroke dimensions cited as 88mm x 80mm, was by this time offering some 260bhp, and with a dry weight of 610kg – c.1,344lbs – the new car was to be given its debut circuit-racing at the European 2-Litre Championship round at Ricard-Castellet in France, driven by Mario Casoni. At Mugello the Abarth works team entered four cars, three with motore centrale configuration and one overhung outboard and the latter was driven by Arturo Merzario who always excelled in those cars.

But as specialist Abarth historian Luciano Greggio has written: "Abarth's predilection for cars with outboard engines paid off many times during hill-climbs, in which that layout – unloved by his technicians, starting with Colucci – limited rear wheel spin in acceleration coming out of a corner, due to the greater load placed on the back end by the engine and, consequently, the car's better pick-up and more speed when exiting hairpins. This engine disposition also accentuated the Sport Spider's oversteer, which could be exploited by drivers on twisting ascents that were not so fast...".

The opening round of the 1970 European Mountain Championship was run on May 24, 1970, at Montseny, Spain, where Mario Casoni won for Abarth in a 2000 Sport Spider followed home by Carlo Benelli (driving under his pseudonym of 'Riccardone') and the veteran Luigi Taramazzo in sister cars. Johannes Ortner then dominated the Mont Ventoux round in France in a works 3000 Sport. At Cesana-Sestriere in July, Arturo Merzario won in his preferred outboardengined
2000 Sport, followed on the timing chart by Johannes Ortner, Franco Pilone, 'Pogo' and Luigi Taramazzo – all in sister Abarth 2000 Sport cars. With accumulative points scored in the final rounds at Freiburg-Schauinsland, Mont Dore and Dobratsch, works driver Johannes Ortner eventually claimed the 1970 European Mountain Championship title with 64 points against fellow 2000
Sport-mounted specialist, Franco Pilone.

We at BONHAMS unfortunately have very little information from the Collezione Maranello Rosso concerning this particular car now offered here, chassis 'SE014/001'. It is accompanied by an original Abarth & C. Torino Certificato d'Origine (No 783) confirming it as a Tipo Fiat-Abarth 2000, but there is no other documentation in the file.

We hope to discover more in time for viewing at Goodwood and will post any additional information as it is received on the internet website and at the Sale venue. Upon inspection we can report that this car's water pump which is belt-driven at the exposed tail of the engine is seized. Unmounting the drive belt allowed the engine to be test-turned by hand, and it proved to be free. Unfortunately it was not possible to insert an borescope to examine the No 2, 3
and 4 cylinder bores since the relevant spark plugs are seized in the cylinder head. The cylinder bore in No 1 appears to be in good condition, however. The clutch proved to be seized and nonoperational but it is possible to select all gears. Work will be needed to recommission the car's electrics, fuel and ancillary systems. The brake master cylinder is also seized and the brakes will require a full strip and rebuild prior to the car being used. All of which is of course perfectly predictable for any motor car which has been standing on
static museum display for so many years.

Amongst all the Abarths exhibited in Fabrizio Violati's Collezione Maranello Rosso museum at Falciano, this 2000 Sport 'Europeo Montagna' offers the highest-specification racing engine, with its 2-litre twin overhead camshaft unit featuring 16-valves and single plug per cylinder ignition. It is a car of considerable stature and immense performance potential. It has the indelible cachet of having been the Maranello Rosso Collection long-term exhibit amongst
so many illustrious sisters, and we recommend that it receives the closest consideration.

Please note this vehicle is subject to import tax should it remain in the EU.