1958 Fiat-Abarth 750 Spider
words by Samuel Cuthbert with photography courtesy of Bonhams
The other half of our pair of Fiat-Abarth cars headed to Bonhams in Paris next month is a cheeky little Spider. While not personally drawn to many roadsters (though I am looking forward to trying the lightweight 2015 Miata at some point) I can't help but smile at the cheerful styling of this car.
Carlo Abarth was convinced that the market for his range of closed-cabin Fiat-based sports cars was the limiting factor to growing his company and personal wealth, so he set out to produce an open car suitable for competition, hoping to win some new clients. He knew that the appetite for sporting Spiders was strong in the U.S, and to be fair, many of his clients had already expressed a preference to race with open-top cars (how safety regulations have changed since then!) so he got things started by commissioning a styling study to judge their reactions.
They didn't get it right the first time though. Initially, Carlo turned to Zagato for the job, and they produced their concept based on the 750 GT, but the design received a middling response from those that viewed it, and it was scrapped. His second commission was successful though, having turned to Carrozzeria Allemano and approved this final design we see in the album. Serafino and Mario Allemano's styling house reached the final design by tweaking an existing design (penned by Giovanni Michellotti) for an original roadster, to fit the Fiat's dimensions.
The car you see is very original and correct with the body, but the engine is the standard Fiat unit, rather than the hotter Abarth engine. Still, being both exceedingly rare and yet quite attainable (the estimate for this listing is €20,000 - 30,000), I imagine it will find a place in a tasteful collection somewhere - or even better, in the hands of a new owner that will actually drive it and share the joy of its unmistakable Italian styling with other car enthusiasts.