By the mid-Fifties, Abarth had already built up an considerable reputation as one of the most expert Fiat engine tuners, allowing the Italian giants to branch out into motorsport , enhancing both their reputation and market penetration.

To allow them to successfully compete in the 750cc class in the Grand Touring Championship, category Abarth commissioned Zagato to design the body of the compact class Fiat 600.

Abarth's first model Fiat 600 based appeared in late 1955 not long after the launch of the standard 600.

The new model was a 210 A Spyder, based around the standard 600's bottom plate fitted with a Fiat modified engine. The Spider was little more than a prototype, although it provided Fiat with the tools and appetite to move on to better things.

Fiat and Abarth’s vision was fulfilled by Zagato, who thanks to their Zagato’s weight- saving body design, later versions were capable of operating with Abarth’s 747cc tuned engine, while weighing in at less than 1200 lbs. (550 kilos)

Thanks to its high compression head and specially developed exhaust, system, the Fiat Abarth 750 GT Zagato generated 47 bhp while reaching 6000 rpm.

Soon, a number of prototype Abarth- engined, Zagato- bodied 600s began to appear on the race tracks of Europe in the Fifties, one of them even taking second place in their class at the 1956 Mille Miglia.

Impressed by the positive results, Fiat decided to launch the 750GT Zagato as a production car, launching it at the 1956 Geneva Motor Show.

Production got underway early in 1957 , with the model featuring a few design tweaks, most prominently twin bumperettes on the front, a trademark “ double bubble” roof and twin intakes on the rear engine cover.

On the track, the Abarth 750 GT Zagato continued to make waves, with no less than five successfully completing the Mille Miglia of 1957, with one of them driven by Alfonso Thiele taking first place in the 750cc class.

At the 1958 Paris Motor Show, Abarth relaunched the ‘750 GT Zagato’ as the ’750 Record Monza Zagato’ to honour the results achieved at the previous year’s Monza race meet. car. Improvements to the model included a DOHC valvetrain and three-quarter windows.

The ’750 Record Monza Zagato’ was fitted with the standard Fiat 633 cc engine tweaked to provide 24 kW, although an enlarged 710 cc 29 kW engined option was available. The larger engined version was reportedly capable of reaching 93 mph 150 km/h.

Looking as ever for export sales, Fiat launched a more The original model was also offered in a more luxurious variant of the 750 Zagato for the US market, which they unsubtly labelled the "America".

The story of Abarth’s long and fruitful cooperation with Fiat is the stuff of legends, with Zagato also playing their part. While their success on the race track did play a major part, the Fiat Abarth 750 Zagato was far from being a commercial success.

Estimates are that just over 600 models were sold during their close to five- year production run, with only a scarce few remaining today.


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A guide to acquiring, restoring and maintaining UK or European Classic Cars of the Fifties and Sixties- as well as a recollection of the iconic cars of the era and the visionaries that produced them.