Fiat Abarth 750 Berlina Derivazione Double Bubble by Zagato

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Abarth 750 Berlina Derivazione Double Bubble by Zagato





The Fiat-Abarth 750 is a compact sporting series of automobiles manufactured by the Italian manufacturing firm Abarth & C. of Turin, Italy in the 1950s and 1960s. The cars used the floorpan and often the bodywork of the Fiat 600 but were fitted with Abarth's modified engines. Abarth also offered a number of bodyworks by other designers for the 750 and its derivatives, most famously Zagato but also Allemano and others.

Abarth's first model based on the Fiat 600 was the Spyder 210 A, which first appeared in late 1955 - soon after the introduction of the 600 itself. Using the standard 600's bottom plate and a modified engine, its sleek bodywork was by Boano. It has a low-cut windscreen, vestigial rear fins, and a single center mounted headlight. The 633 cc engine offers 32 CV (24 kW) while an enlarged 710 cc 39 CV (29 kW) option was also available. Both engines have a 9.5:1 compression ratio, dual exhausts, and reach their max power at 6900 rpm. Wheelbase is 195 in (4,953.0 mm) and dry weight 409 kg (902 lb); top speed for the larger model was claimed to be 150 km/h (93 mph).

Abarth offered their 750 cc derivative of the Fiat 600 both with the original ("Berlina") bodywork and with more slippery bodywork from others. Most famous is the aerodynamic Zagato-bodied range of Abarth 750 cars. As a footnote, failing Fiat modifiers Siata were owned by Abarth from 1959 until 1961. Siata's own 600-based "Amica" design and 735 cc engine conversion was thus marketed as the Siata-Abarth 750 during those years, but there was little to no actual Abarth involvement with these cars.

Appearing in early 1956, Abarth's 750 Gran Turismo Derivazione was the first Abarth product to use the standard Fiat bodywork. Fiat delivered these cars incomplete, to make it easier and more cost effective for Abarth to carry out their performance modifications. Rather than the 633 cc original or Abarth's own 710 cc model, the engine now displaced 747 cc thanks to a one millimetre wider bore and a stroke increased by four millimetres (0.04 and 0.16 in respectively). Sharper cams, lighter flywheel, a bigger carburetor, and a myriad other traditional tuning tricks were employed; as a result power nearly doubled, up from 21.5 to 40 CV (16 to 29 kW). Claimed top speed was 80 mph (129 km/h).

Originally the aerodynamic 750 Zagato "double bubble" had a single-cam engine. It was first presented at the 1955 Turin Motor Show. The original model was also offered in a more luxurious variant for export (called "America", as it was almost strictly meant for the United States) and a stripped down model with lower, uncovered headlamps and smaller taillights for the domestic Italian market. The "America" also has a different layout around the rear license plate. The all-aluminium bodywork has Zagato's famous "double-bubble" design and Abarth's tuned derivazione engine with 43 CV (32 kW; 42 hp). Aside from the floorpan, not much of the Fiat 600 remains in use for these cars. By the time of the appearance of the Abarth Zagato Record Monza 750 Bialbero, the bodywork had been unified into a separate model with a rather large hump on the engine lid, made necessary by the taller twin-cam motor. There were then three distinct models 750 "Double Bubble," 750 Record Monza, and 750 "Sestriere." The Sestriere had a single cam pushrod engine, and the majority were built with a steel body, a very small number of Alloy cars, and there is one aluminium car known to exist today. The Sestriere had upright headlights, and two very large air intakes on the engine lid, much wider than a double bubble. (The Sestriere was believed to be the last model produced for Abarth by Zagato, due to disagreements between Abarth and Zagato)

The 750 GT Bialbero model appeared at the 1958 Turin Auto Show; along with various alterations to the bodywork it has the new twin-cam engine with 57 CV (42 kW; 56 hp) at 7,000 rpm. The first series constituted 100 cars, enough to homologate the car for the Gran Turismo competition category. "The Record Monza" was the most successful racing Abarth in the USA under the Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr Racing team, (Abarth cars winning over 700 races worldwide), including both Sebring with the 750cc Bialbero engine and Daytona under 1,000cc races in 1959 widely believed to have had the first 982cc Bialbero engine.

There was also a very rare Zagato Spyder version produced, only between two and four examples are believed to have been built. This model was first shown at the 1957 Turin Auto Show, and it was then shown again the next year. The design has the usual sleek Zagato front end, with distinct fins at the rear. The bump on the engine lid came in for some period critique for disfiguring the overall design. Max power from Abarth's 747 cc engine is 44 CV (32 kW; 43 hp), enough for a top speed of 153 km/h (95 mph) in a period road test or 145 km/h (90 mph) according to Abarth themselves. The Spyder's list price in Italy was the same as for the berlinetta Zagato, 1,535,000 Lira in 1958.The 1958 Turin Show car had the twin cam engine, with similar performance to the berlinetta, although the "little castle" disfiguring the engine lid was even larger on this model

To suit newly reshuffled Gran Turismo racing categories, a 698 cc version was introduced at the 1959 Turin Auto Show. The Twin Cam ("Bialbero") model produces 64 CV (47 kW; 63 hp) at 7,100 rpm. One of these, with Zagato-style bodywork, did start at the 1960 Le Mans but it only managed 31 laps. This model may have remained a single example, while the 850 and 1000 models which arrived around the same time went on to be built for many more years.

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