To trace the history of Abarth is to dive into one of the richest and most varied engine genealogies in European industry. A whole panoply of versions and preparations that even have differences between different units of the same series. And it is that Carlo Abarth's creations were not only made in an almost artisanal way. But they also evolved day by day according to a multitude of tests. What's more, to add complexity to the matter some models such as the Abarth 1000 Bialbero were dressed by different bodybuilders. Thus altering the appearance and therefore the ease of knowing what exactly one has in front of.
An enormous complexity in which, in addition, we must add the modifications made by each driver and team. In this way, it can be said that it would be rare to see a model of the scorpion house the same as another in all respects. At least until FIAT's purchase of Abarth in 1971. Moment in which his interventions begin to be disciplined in large series such as that of the Autobianchi A112 Abarth. Of course, coinciding with its dissolution in practice when all its engineers became the nucleus of the FIAT Group's competition department.
A place from which Abarth intervened in models such as the Lancia Delta for the WRC or the LC2 for Le Mans. But already from the anonymity that comes from being within the production process of a large company where you have sold your independence to become one more department. However, beyond nostalgic memories about the end of small independent manufacturers, the truth is that Abarth signed some of the best pages in motorsports during the sixties. Decade that began with models like the Abarth 1000 Bialbero. A mythical specimen that is presented here in the body of Zagato.
ABARTH 1000 BIALBERO, THE VICTORY OF LIGHTWEIGHT
When Carlo Abarth founded his company in 1949, it was basically dedicated to survival. And it is not uncommon for this to be the case. After all, during the harsh postwar period, BMW settled the accounts by making pots and kitchen supplies. And that's not to mention the reconversion that the British BSA had to do at the end of the contest. Turning towards the mass manufacturing of motorcycles to replace its old billing as a supplier of arms for the allied armies. Nevertheless, Abarth did focus its activities within a more or less delimited segment: sports cars.
Thus, Abarth was in charge of making all kinds of preparations for small races of amateur or semi-professional pilots. In this way he was gaining prestige. Acquiring a knowledge that was mainly based on the same formula that Colin Chapman used in Lotus. "Don't give me horses, take my weight off". In this way, Abarth began to be dominant in the categories of less displacement. Being capable of turning the mechanics of simple FIAT utility vehicles into fearsome weapons responsible for dealing face to face with much superior models.
Something that caught the attention of the Agnelli's house. Which began to provide chassis and mechanics to Carlo Abarth giving an aura of official recognition to his creations. Therefore, until the arrival of the self-created tubular chassis designed by Mario Colucci the Abarths are attached to chassis from the smaller FIATs. Especially of the popular 600. Model launched in 1955 and on whose D series the Abarth 1000 Bilabero is based. Presented at the Turin Salon in 1961.
MECHANICAL FINE ON A VERY SIMPLE BASE
One of the characteristics that makes Abarth's history extraordinary is its ability to make everyday life extraordinary. And not. We are not using any kind of metaphor as empty as it is honeyed. We really do talk about tangible facts. At the end of the day, the basis of the mechanics of the Abarth 1000 Bilabero is in the same engine of the FIAT 600. Of course, here the increase in displacement up to the liter and especially the two overhead camshafts - hence the name Bialbero- increase power up to 102CV. A true mechanical finesse. Being always striking to see the exquisite operation of this mechanism responsible for obtaining unexpected benefits from the simple engine block of the popular utility.
Something that the two Weber 40 DCOE carburettors contribute to. A perfect propeller as long as it is incorporated into a lightweight mount. Precisely one of the playing fields best dominated by Abarth, leaving the whole of the Abarth 1000 Bialbero in just over 550 kilos. Undoubtedly, this generates a magnificent power-to-weight ratio, working the miracle by starting from elements of a totally ordinary series car to reach sporting heights capable of putting the best Ferrari or Porsche models in trouble if competing on highways of curves.
Regarding the body, the Abarth 1000 Bialbero received different bodies. In that sense, the most elegant and stylish are not Zagato's. But they may be the most effective as they have excellent aerodynamics and a very contained weight thanks to using materials such as aluminum or fiberglass. In addition, in the aesthetic section the truth is that it is magnetic to see the typical muscular details of this bodybuilder. Expressed here in the imposing rear humps responsible for the air intakes for cooling. Elements that make this Abarth 1000 Bialbero Zagato one of the most interesting units of the model.
P.D. To illustrate this article on the Abarth 1000 Bialbero We have opted for a unit built by Zagato in 1963. In addition, this one in particular was for more than three decades in the hands of the mythical and extinct Maranello Rosso collection. After its dismantling, it was offered in 2015 by Bonhams, which delivered it as part of the Goodwood auctions.