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Abarth 750 GT Zagato: Spotted

Remember when cars were achingly pretty and only needed 56hp? No, us neither...

By Sam Sheehan / Thursday, May 16, 2019

We stumbled upon this Italian slice of loveliness searching for this week's Showpiece. The Zagato-designed Abarth 750 GT is now sixty years-old, and, it turns out, brimming with history. Finished in a shade not dissimilar to French Racing Blue and sporting a double bubble bum, the two-door is one of only 100 examples in homologation specification.

Beneath that rear engine cover is a 747cc twin-cam engine producing 56hp, measly by today's standards but a 14hp gain over the non-Gran Turismo homologated model and with only 535kg to shift, power-to-weight was a respectable 104hp per tonne. Still, it took a full 15.8 seconds for the 1958 GT to hit 60mph and you'd need a lot of space to reach its 95mph top speed. This was a time when competition cars weren't always fast. Pretty, though!

Even without much grunt, the Zagato-shaped 750 went on to win at Sebring and a 982cc version continued the success with a Daytona win for sub-1.0-litre cars. A one-off 698cc model was then produced for the 1960 Le Mans' smallest class, but it only completed 31 laps, preventing Abarth's Fiat 600-based two-door from earning any more significant success. Several versions of the 750 and 1000 Zagatos did remain in motorsport in the following years, however, and a few surviving examples take part in historic driving events this day.

Today's Spotted falls under this banner because it's a late Zagato that was built in 1959 for competition in the USA. It was ordered with a lightweight crankshaft and in Mille Miglia-specification, making it unique both in terms of performance and finish. Exactly where this car competed is not known by the seller, because its history documentation only extends back to 1977. But perhaps this could be because the original custodian used the blue two-door exclusively for competition, so no paperwork relating to its roadworthiness was produced until it was 18. Or the sheets were lost. We'll probably never know.

Whatever the story, there's no questioning the conditioning of the car as it stands now. Having undergone a full nut and bolt restoration that took three years by Abarth specialist TurinOne, it's at least as good as new. The seller describes it as being in concours condition, but because it's also finished as it would have been back in 1959 and has an Abarth Classiche Certificate of Authority, it remains eligible for entry into classic competitions and events. Coincidentally, its restoration has been completed on Zagato's centenary year.

The buzz from that, along with the fact this is one of the loveliest classic homologations cars to have existed - not to mention one of the rarest - explains the predicted €100,000 to €120,000 auction sale price. Fancy it? The car goes under the hammer in just nine days at RM Sothebys' Villa Erba event.


SPECIFICATIONS - ABARTH 750 GT ZAGATO
Engine:
747cc, four-cylinder
Transmission: 4-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 56@6,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): N/A
MPG: N/A
CO2: N/A
First registered: 1959
Recorded mileage: N/A (fully restored)
Price new: N/A
Yours for: €100,000 - €120,000 (auction yet to run)

 

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