1959 Fiat-Abarth 750 Record Monza

Summary

  • Year of manufacture 
    1959
  • Chassis number 
    577 535
  • Lot number 
    9
  • Drive 
    LHD
  • Condition 
    Used
  • Number of seats 
    2
  • Location
  • Exterior colour 
    Other
  • Drivetrain 
    2wd
  • Fuel type 
    Petrol

Description

Ex-Ernesto Prinoth
1959 FIAT-Abarth 750 Record Monza Coupé
Coachwork by Carrozzeria Zagato
Chassis no. 577 535

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, many of which were produced in conjunction with Carrozzeria Zagato.

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. Although the 750 was production based, the customer had such freedom of choice, including engine specification, that it is rare to find two identical cars. The 600 chassis was used with scant modification apart from changing spring rates and up-rating the front brakes to twin-leading-shoe operation, yet despite this apparent handicap coped remarkably well with the Abarth's greatly 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 maximum speed of 153km/h, outstanding figures for such a small-engined car.

The next stage of development saw the 750 equipped with an Abarth-designed double-overhead-camshaft cylinder head that helped liberate 47bhp from the tiny engine, models thus equipped being dubbed 'Bialbero' (Twin-cam). Abarth's diminutive coupés were soon dominating the small-capacity classes in international GT racing. Indeed, in North American SCCA events the 1.0-litre Abarth was obliged to compete against rivals displacing up to 3.8 litres and still proved capable of winning!

This beautiful example of the FIAT-Abarth 750 Record Monza Coupé was delivered new to Ernesto Prinoth, the Italian racing driver and founder of Prinoth AG, manufacturer of snow groomers and other types of tracked vehicle. No records of the car's early career have been found; nevertheless, it has been inspected for the vendor by immensely experienced marque experts who have expressed no doubts that it is a highly original and absolutely authentic example of the type. Paperwork in the accompanying documents file confirms that it was registered in April 1959. There is also some evidence that this car had previously been part of the Abarth works effort, as it features the special 14-hole Borrani alloy wheels and front disc brakes. It has also been suggested, although not confirmed, that it is one of the cars that participated in the Mille Miglia, Targa Florio, and Coppa Sant Ambrosius in 1959.

John de Boer's renowned book, The Italian Car Registry, lists this chassis - number '577 535', with body 'Z47' - as having been manufactured on 20th April 1959. On 27th June 2012, ownership was transferred from Jobst Heemeyer of Osnabrück to Rome-based Federico Vitto, from whom the car was purchased by the current private vendor.
Since then the Abarth has undergone a complete body-off professional restoration that took more than two years to complete and was finished in 2016. Special attention was given to the Zagato body and other parts to preserve the car's originality as much as possible. At the same time, the engine was replaced with a more competitive 847cc Abarth unit as the original Bialbero had broken during its racing career.

During the restoration it became obvious that this car was built for racing, as many features were different from the road version: suspension, brakes, wheels, lightweight parts, and an additional temperature gauge for the transmission oil. Finished in yellow when acquired, the Abarth was repainted in its original Rosso Corsa with white stripes, the same colour scheme it had when taking part in the Targa Florio. The seats were reconstructed in the correct Zagato style using the original frames, while the original instruments were overhauled. Amazingly, all the glass is original, even the rear air-intake windows typical of this model. Four spare original Borrani wheels are included in the sale and the car also comes with a FIVA Identity Card.

At the Zoute Grand Prix of 2016, this lovely little Abarth received a special prize for its originality among all competitors. We are advised that this well-prepared car is fast and is as stable in tight bands as it is on straight roads, making it ideal for the Zoute GP and other similarly prestigious events.