1959 Abarth-Alfa Romeo 1300 Berlinetta

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Lot 245
1959 Abarth-Alfa Romeo 1300 Berlinetta

£ 65,000 - 75,000
US$ 79,000 - 92,000
1959 Abarth-Alfa Romeo 1300 Berlinetta
Coachwork by Luigi Colani


  • Here we are delighted to be able to present a most unusual high-performance Berlinetta, and one which has attracted considerable comment and discussion amongst real enthusiasts over many years. It is the 1957 Abarth-Colani Alfa Romeo in which German designer Luigi ‘Lutz’ Colani put into practice a combination of his own styling ethos and the thinking of none other than the great Carlo Abarth in Turin.

    Abarth had been testing his aerodynamic car design theories in serious and consistently successful attempts on various small-capacity World speed records. His real obsession with these cars was to improve their straight-line penetration and minimise their aerodynamic drag. Since he was always running with very small engines – commonly from 350 to 1300cc and rarely up to 2-litres – the brilliant Austrian-born designer was obsessive about aerodynamic influences upon his cars’ performance.

    It was in 1957 that he commissioned Lutz Colani to build an experimental aerodynamic car based upon an Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider platform. It emerged as an instantly recognizable Colani body form, while also showing circumstantial evidence of external influence, much from Abarth’s own recent experience. The long, pointed nose treatment seemed derivative of Pinin Farina practice, while the ‘double bubble’ roof line was characteristically an Abarth motif. Of greater interest was the rear end treatment that was probably unique at the time, and attention was also clearly paid to airflow management beneath the car – which in that period was quite unusually sophisticated.

    The car emerged weighing just 780 kg and with 110bhp from its 1300cc engine the Colin Abarth Alfa Romeo was claimed to achieve 210 km/h – a shattering 130mph. It was also acclaimed as the first GT car to lap the Nürburgring in under 10 minutes.

    German industrial designer Luigi ‘Lutz’ Colani was born in Berlin in 1928 to a Swiss father and Polish mother. He developed an entirely characteristic design ‘signature’ featuring fluidly organic forms which he described as being ‘biodynamic’. Many of his designs for small appliances including kitchen equipment have gone into mass production, but few of his larger designs have actually been built.

    After studying sculpture in Berlin and aerodynamics at the Sorbonne in Paris 1946-48, Lutz Colani became a styling consultant to Fiat in the mid-1950s after a brief spell connected with the Californian aeronautical industry. He diversified into racing boat design with a catamaran and has been credited with a styling concept for the BMW 700 in 1959. His Colani GT was produced as a kit car in 1960 and through that decade he achieved worldwide success in furniture design. In 1972 he was responsible for the unusual – but striking – aerodynamic form of the Eifelland-March Formula 1 car driven by Rolf Stommelen, and later in the ’70s he presented interesting aeronautical designs, plus cars, trucks and even ship studies which he presented with tremendous showmanship around the great industrial exhibitions of the world.

    In 1981 he claimed a world economy record of 1.7-litres for 100km using a Cirtoen 2CV modified to his own concepts, and after a period in Japan established Colani Design in Berne, Switzerland. By 1995 Colani was re-established within Germany and designes for cars, aircraft, bottles, tea-pots and more continued to issue forth into the 21st Century.

    This Colani-Abarth Alfa Romeo 1300 has been preserved on public display for many years and we recommend expert inspection and preparation before any attempt is made to start and run the car. Even so, it is a fascinating 1950s aerodyne, one of the rarest Abarths ever built which can also be said to be road useable, and it is available right now here at Goodwood…
1959 Abarth-Alfa Romeo 1300 Berlinetta
1959 Abarth-Alfa Romeo 1300 Berlinetta
1959 Abarth-Alfa Romeo 1300 Berlinetta
1959 Abarth-Alfa Romeo 1300 Berlinetta
1959 Abarth-Alfa Romeo 1300 Berlinetta
1959 Abarth-Alfa Romeo 1300 Berlinetta
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