Sunday, March 13, 2011

1950 Abarth 205 Vignale Berlinetta

Carlo Abarth (or Karl Abarth) was sporting director of the Cisitalia factory racing team starting in 1947. 1948 saw the financial downfall of Cisitalia. Funded by Armando Scagliarini, Abarth took over Cisitalia's assets and on 31 March 1949 Abarth & C. was founded in Bologna. Carlo's astrological sign, Scorpio, was chosen as the company logo, a shield with a stylized scorpion on a yellow and red background. 

Encouraged by the good results on the track and funded by the ever increasing sales of his exhaust systems, Carlo Abarth established Abarth & C. to manufacture complete cars. The first of these made a victorious debut early in March of 1950 when Guido Scagliarini won the 1100 class in the Coppa InterEuropa at Monza. Fitted with a new coupe body, it was confusingly referred to as an Abarth 204A. Today it seems more likely that the car was actually the first of three Abarth 205s built around a brand new platform chassis. 

The Abarth 205 shares the Fiat sourced four cylinder engine. Fitted with Abarth's tuning kit, which consisted of a revised intake manifold, two Weber carburettors and a bespoke exhaust, the tiny 1089cc engine produced an impressive 83 bhp. The four-speed gearbox was also sourced from Fiat. The potent drivetrain was fitted in a very straightforward box-section steel platform chassis. Alfredo Vignale was commissioned to build the lightweight aluminium body. The beautiful design came from the pen of Giovanni Michelotti. Included, of course, were the three portholes on the front fenders that were typical for Vignale's bodies. ( & wikipedia)

Chassis: 205101

Although originally referred to as a 204A Coupe, it is believed that this car received the chassis 205101. It was first raced at Monza to a class win in the Coppa Intereuropa. A week later it finished sixth overall in the Targa Florio and second in class. (

Chassis: 205102

The second Abarth 205 was completed in time for the 1950 Mille Miglia where it was raced by Carlo Scagliarini. It was actively used until well into the 1960s when it was owned by Swiss racer Helmut Fischer. He had the car extensively modified and fitted with an Alfa Romeo Giulietta sourced 1300cc engine. Repainted dark green, it quickly received the nickname 'Fischer Green Star.' After his passing in 2003, the well used Abarth was offered in the 2004 Christie's Retromobile auction. It was acquired by the current owner for $135,626 (including buyer's premium). (

Chassis: 205103

The third and final Abarth 205 was quite possibly for Carlo Abarth's personal use on the road. It was more luxuriously finished than the first two examples and featured a two-tone black and red paint-scheme. Fitted with a slightly larger engine, it was shown at the 1951 Turin Motor Show. Just like the first car it ended up in American ownership. For the last 30+ years it has been owned by the same American collector. (

(Photos from &

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