1961 Fiat Abarth


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1961 Fiat Abarth 850 TC Nurburgring Corsa Berlina Four-Seat Competition/Street Saloon
Registration no. Not registered in the UK
(previously registered in Italy: BA 288121)
Chassis no. 906.3872

The superbly successful ever-developing line of Fiat-Abarth 850 TC saloon cars produced and campaigned during the 1960s featured this 'Nurburgring' variant which was itself produced in two different versions – normal road-going trim and stripped, stark racing.

The Fiat-Abarth 850TC Berlina (Turismo Competizione, or 'touring competition') was introduced towards the end of 1960. It used the Fiat 600 integral bodyshell with suitable high-performance modifications, most noticeable of them being the add-on nose pod that was provided by Abarth to accommodate the oil cooler matrix. Wheel arches were also bulged to accommodate the widest wheels and tyres that contemporary regulations would accept, while the engine was a fourcylinder in-line unit mounted in the car's tail, derived from the Fiat 600, taken out to a nominal 847cc capacity producing around 52bhp.

In 1962 the 850TC Nürburgring model was introduced, with 55bhp power output at 6,500 rpm. The name of the world-famous German circuit in the Eifel mountains had been adopted to commemorate the Fiat Abarth 850s' class victory at the 1961 500km race there.

Subsequently the 850TC series itself would be followed by the 850TC/ SS with slightly more horsepower; which was renamed the 850TC Nürburgring Corsa. In more detail the engine was derived from the Fiat 600D 4-cylinder design with bore and stroke of 62.5mm x 69mm displacing 847cc. On a compression ratio of 9.8:1 and breathing through a single Solex 32PBIC carburettor – the little engine developed some 58bhp. Transmission was via a 4- or 5-speed gearbox and disc brakes were featured at the front, drum brakes at the rear. The two-door four-seat Fiat 600D bodyshell was suitably reinforced and stiffened where legal – or sometimes where not – for competition use and today its retention of original-design front-opening 'suicide doors' is notable. The car's tiny dimensions – wheelbase only 2000mmm, front and rear track widths 1150mm and 1160mm – restricted its overall weight to around 470Kg – 1,036lbs – only.

This most appealing little 'look alike' competition saloon was first registered for public road use to Pasquale Lovreglio on December 7, 1970, passing subsequently to Vito Paparello of Bari on November 23, 1970, then Raffaele Rimini of Bari on January 13, 1978.

The car was acquired for the Collezione Maranello Rosso on June 12, 1990, its declared price being Lire 4,880,000. The original Bari registration plates are included with the Lot.

This particularly attractive example of the model evidently began life as an 850TC Stradale (fully-trimmed interior with small front radiator, small Girling front disc brakes, rear 600D drums, standard roadgoing suspension etc). At some stage the car has been re-trimmed with front bucket seats and bench-type rear seat, but not to the original, simpler upholstery finish. A 1967-1969 period front oil cooler and water radiator set-up has also been added, together with similarperiod deep-intake fibreglass shroud.

The small retractable Stradale engine-lid props have been replaced by a pair of tripod competition supports, while the female component of the original Stradale supports remain visible beneath the lid. The rev counter is a 10,000 rpm competition type, while the power unit appears to be a competition engine which could displace either 850 or possibly even a full 1000cc. The installation is complete with an external Carello oil filter and pressure/temperature control unit. All these parts are perfectly original Abarth components.

The car's Fiat chassis number agrees with the Abarth & Co chassis plate. There are four-digit Abarth chassis number and type (214) stampings both of which look absolutely correct to model and period.

Obviously any car which has spent many years as a static museum exhibit will require expert inspection and some degree of recommissioning before a new owner could use it in earnest.

Upon initial examination we have found that this Fiat Abarth 850 TC's engine bores appear visually to be in good condition with no evidence of corrosion. The engine turns freely by hand, but the water pump is seized, one suspects due to internal corrosion. The clutch is operational, and all gears can be selected easily. All brakes are binding but operational, and the system would plainly require a full strip and rebuild prior to the car being used.

Overall, this little Berlina is a most attractive presentation of the Fiat Abarth 850 TC Nurburgring genre, and it could provide a new owner with some highly entertaining motoring on both road and track. We recommend the closest consideration as it will always have the additional cachet of having for so many years been part of the Collezione Maranello Rosso Abarth museum display. The car's original Bologna registration plates are preserved within the documentation file accompanying this car, together with its original Italian registration libretto booklet, an Automobile Club d'Italia Foglio Complementare follow-up document and other paperwork relating to the car's verification and accession – in 1989 – as a Maranello Rosso Collection exhibit.

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