The Pick of the Day is one of those best things that comes in a small package, a 1959 Fiat Abarth 750 GT Zagato[RG1] , a piece of Italian artwork on wheels known for its racetrack prowess against much-bigger, more-powerful competition.
“This aluminum-bodied masterpiece by Zagato is a triumph in coachbuilding and features Zagato’s iconic ‘double bubble’ roofline and mirrored by the bubbles in the engine cover… so Italian!” according to the Newport Beach, California, dealer advertising the coupe on ClassicCars.com.
The double bubble was a signature styling feature of Carrozzeria Zagato, the legendary Milanese-based firm that bestowed its aerodynamic designs on so many great automobiles over the decades, including quite a few from Fiat. This Zagato is based on the pedestrian Fiat 600 rear-engine passenger car, but one that had been performance upgraded for the track by yet another automotive legend, Carlo Abarth.
Abarth, a naturalized Italian citizen born in Austria, was a mechanical wizard who worked his magic on any number of competition cars, creating his own iconic brand that used a stylized scorpion as its logo, readily visible on the nose of this Fiat.
The Fiat Abarth 750 coupe was built as a race car, making its presence known right out of the box by finishing second in class in Italy’s grueling Mille Miglia in 1956 and winning its class the following year. The car became a highly regarded “tiny racetrack giant killer,” the seller notes, that today would be accepted in most high-end vintage track and rally events.
The Zagato body is suitably aggressive-looking, with a smoothly rendered form typical of the designer. The styling has been widely admired, though with some pushback regarding the pronounced humps on the engine lid, required to clear the engine’s carburetor and air cleaner. The covered headlamps are an attractive feature, and the Abarth badge looks suitably bold.
This car was produced as a road-going version of the Fiat Abarth 750, and included some extra trim. It rides on correct Compagnolo wheels, with Jaeger gauges and a Nardi steering wheel. The red coupe looks to be holding up quite well after a sympathetic restoration some years back.
This Abarth has had a bump up in power, with its original 747cc inline-4 replaced by a tweaked 903cc engine, which should provide plenty of gusto for the lightweight minicar, which weighs less than 1,200 pounds. This would be an exciting craft for cutting through winding canyon roads with all the brio of a Mille Miglia racer.
The Abarth Zagato is a rare and highly desirable collector car for those who appreciate spicy Italian flavor, and the current values reflect that. This one has an asking price of $119,800.
To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day