1960 Fiat-Abarth Sestriere
Coachwork by Zagato
Chassis no. 757464
Engine no. 100.000 812848
747cc OHV Inline 4-Cylinder Engine (see text)
Single Weber Carburetor
43.5bhp at 5,800rpm
4-Speed Manual Transmission
4-Wheel Independent Suspension
4-Wheel Drum Brakes
*Single family ownership since 1964
*Long time Southern California car
*Remarkable, preserved example
*Rarely seen Zagato Sestriere coachwork
*Original black California license plate
The Fiat-Abarth 750 Sestriere Zagato
From high efficiency exhaust systems in the 1930s, Karl (later Carlo) Abarth branched out into other performance parts for Italian cars small and large. In the early years after WWII he became the Italian distributor for Porsche and through that connected Ferry Porsche with Piero Dusio of Cisitalia to realize the Type 360 Grand Prix racer project. Cisitalia was forced into bankruptcy shortly thereafter and as a consultant to the company, Abarth was awarded most of the assets of Cisitalia as payment for his work. He developed the last of the Cisitalia chassis as Abarths, and then turned to building original Fiat-based cars.
Abarth hit his stride when the Fiat 600 of 1955 was launched, for in addition to supplying tuning parts, he developed an enlarged 750cc version of the 633cc engine, selling derivazione high-performance kits to dealers and garages for fitting into stock 600s. He also built complete cars in his factory, the best known of which were sleek, lightweight Zagato-bodied competition cars. The Fiat 600 Derivazione 750 Abarth Zagato made its debut at the 1955 Turin Auto show and began its racing career in 1956. It quickly established itself as a winner in European events and made a sweep of the first three places in the 750cc class at the 1957 Mille Miglia. His affordable miniature GT car was ideal for the private entry racer, the perfect "drive to the track, race and drive home" car. Through a sponsor partnership deal secured with Fiat, he was paid for every win or second place a "Fiat-Abarth" scored. The cars were equally successful in the US, on all types of tracks across the country.
As was the case with the Italian carrozzeria, the derivazione extended to the coachwork as well, and various versions of the Zagato-bodied car left the Zagato coachbuilding works. A special model named the "Sestriere", as seen here, had upright fixed headlights and was built normally in steel, with two prominent air scoops atop the tail for better engine cooling.
The Sestriere model was named after the Rallye de Sestriere, one of Europe's most punishing Alpine rally events on the annual calendar at that time, providing the Italian round of the contemporary rally drivers' Championship. Above all, the Fiat-Abarth 750 Sestriere was a tough and resilient little competition car in true Abarth fashion.
The Motorcar Offered
This remarkably preserved, very original Fiat-Abarth Sestriere Zagato is a survivor that evokes all the romance of a true "barn find".
The Abarth has been in the vendor's family in Southern California for some 50 years, since it was gifted to the consignor's step-father by his father in the early 1960s. A copy of the February 1964 California "pink slip" Certificate of Title on file lists Donald E Thomas of Santa Ana, California, as the registered owner at that time, and lists 810104 as the engine number (likely the original unit). A fan of the styling and handling of Italian classics, Thomas owned a handful of Fiats and Alfa Romeos during his lifetime, though his prized possession was always his Fiat-Abarth Sestriere Zagato.
Remaining in Orange County at the same address with Thomas for most if not all of its life, the Abarth was reportedly running as recently as 2010 prior to his passing. Upon inspection today, the Abarth appears to be complete with its hard-to-find original trim pieces, glass, interior components, bumpers, and more, though its original fuel tank and chassis data plate seem to have gone missing. The car retains its original black California license plate matching the 1964 title, while the consignor believes the indicated mileage of under 44,000 to be original. The engine presently installed appears to be a period-correct 633cc Fiat 600 block with unknown internals.
Titled as a 1961 (quite possibly the year the Abarth was first sold), the Abarth now presents a ripe opportunity for a sympathetic recommissioning to put it back into service. A great candidate for a vintage rally events true to its Sestriere name, it is rare and quite remarkable to find a Zagato-bodied Abarth this original and complete today.