Words & photos - Daniel Bevis
This might not necessarily be the first car that pops into your mind when you think of Abarth-tweaked Fiats...
The 1500 (Millecinquecento) was a rather sensible offering from Fiat in the 1960s, aimed to appeal to small families and sales reps - an Italian alternative to the Ford Cortina, if you will. It was a solid and dependable thing, and sold rather well in period. But of course, there was always an enthusiasm for go-faster parts across the spectrum, and Fiat and Abarth were keenly intertwined at this stage - and so it was that the tuner began to offer kits of upgrade parts to owners, in order for them to craft their own Abarth 1500s.
The car you see here is owned by Guy Harman, and may be familiar to some from its various competitive outings at Goodwood. It's a 1962 model that had enjoyed a lot of competition use in Denmark before being imported to the UK in 2012; it was taken in its road-rally state to renowned retro fettlers CCK Historic in order to freshen things up. They made it fully FIA-compliant before turning their experienced hands to optimising the handling - lowering the suspension and playing with the spring rates, tweaking the camber, banding the 4"-wide steel rims to a more helpful 6"... they also threw in an LSD and a fuel cell (with super-cool filler poking through the bootlid), and gorgeously handpainted the Abarth emblems on the wings. Pretty snazzy, huh? And a wonderful car for making enthusiasts scratch their heads and say 'Er, it's an Abarth, but... um...'
Spotted at 72MM - click here for more photos.