Cisitalia Abarth 850 Scorpione, all-Italian by way of Argentina

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Abarth
The Cisitialia Abarth Scorpione packs a lot into a small package

Saturday is the biggest day of the year for Italian car lovers, Concorso Italiano, which also happens to be the largest concours gathering of Monterey Car Week.   Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Maseratis, Alfa Romeos, Lancias, Fiats and other artistic expressions of Italian motoring will be presente in abbondanza.   

The Pick of the Day is a rare sports coupe that despite its minuscule size would be a major standout at Concorso.  The 1961 Cisitalia Abarth Scorpione is distinctively attractive, clad in elegant styling by Michelotti, and has a reputation for being a little performance dynamo. 

Abarth
The Scorpione was styled by Italian coachbuilder Michelotti

Although produced in Argentina, where the Cisitalia auto company relocated, the Scorpione is as Italian as they come, built from Fiat components enhanced by motorsports great Carlo Abarth.  Essentially the same car was produced and sold in Italy, where it was known as the Fiat Abarth 850 Scorpione Allamano.  Only a few hundred of each brand were assembled.

Lightweight and powered by a competition-tuned 847cc 4-cylinder engine located in the rear, the Scorpione is as quick and agile as many more-substantial sports cars of the era.  Riding on a 79-inch wheelbase and weighing a svelte 1,400 pounds, the attractive coupe gets a lot of performance from the free-revving, 55-horsepower engine.

Abarth
The engine is tuned to get the most out of its 847cc

“This delectable Cisitalia Abarth Scorpione from 1961 is one of the incredibly rare Argentine-built 850 Allemano variants,” according to the St. Louis, Missouri, dealer advertising the Cisitalia Abarth on ClassicCars.com. “Finished in an understated shade of Bronzo Metallizato over a light tan interior, it is very well-presented and restored to original specification.”

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The Scorpione was originally sold as a premium car, well-equipped and furnished with high-quality seats and trim. 

“Despite the diminutive proportions, this was a rather expensive GT car in its day, so was well-equipped with a full array of Jaeger dials, leather luggage straps, and upmarket upholstery materials,” the dealer notes. “In this car, the driver grips a fabulous, period-correct Franco Conti three-spoke steering wheel, and it features one of our favorite period accessories, a rare and super-cool Voxson Vanguard 736 combination radio/rear view mirror.” 

Abarth
The coupe boasts an elegant interior

While the Scorpione would be welcomed enthusiastically at just about any Italian car gathering, with an asking price of $98,500, it would most-likely be the most modestly priced car in the sea of Ferraris, Lamborghinis, etc. 

And as much fun to drive as any of them.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day

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Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

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