It is impossible to talk about race cars in the 1960’s without mentioning the Abarth record-breaking model called the “Monoposto da Record.” This sleek, innovative machine took the racing world by storm. Its creator, Carlo Abarth, was a genius in this field. He has carved a place in racing history with his unique designs and the functionality of his cars. This great record breaking car was one of his later creations, and it is still held up today as one of the fastest cars ever made.
Born November 15th, 1908 in Austria, Abarth became an apprentice designing motorcycles and bicycles. Then, he began work at Motor Thun, a motorcycle plant in 1927. This marked the beginning of a long and brilliant career. Abarth soon began racing motorcycles and proved his talent by becoming the Champion of Europe more than five different times. He was a legend with both motorcycles and race cars. He was a dedicated leader in his field. His great racing and design career was just starting.
After dabbling in many different projects, the Abarth Company was born. Its unique logo is a scorpion, taken from Carlos’ zodiac sign. This company, under Abarth’s leadership, began modifying Fiat cars. Low pricing along with superior design led to unbeatable records in racing. Fiat even agreed to pay bonuses for first and second place finishes because the Abarth cars consistently finished in the top positions. At one point in time, Abarth worked with Fiat to mass produce cars, but this partnership was short-lived.
As time went on, Abarth consistently changed Fiats and other cars to make them more accessible to more people. His team was able to increase horsepower for these cars while maintaining the integrity of the horsepower. These lighter, more aerodynamic versions were soon the most famous racing cars to be found. Many owners were not able to afford the higher priced Fiats, so the Abarth designs were a great alternative.
As the demand grew for these modified race cars, Abarth undertook his biggest challenge yet- to build a complete car with just the Abarth name. He began by making race cars with a level of 1000cc to 2000cc. These cars immediately became champions of the racing world.
The Monoposto da Record was one of only a limited Fiat Abarths that were built. This car had the sought after 850 cc twin overhead cam engine, and it weighed only 1,000 pounds.The lightweight design proved unbeatable in wins and records set. The racing engine on this car was capable of producing 75 hp. This type of car was raced throughout Europe and many other regions. One of its most notable distinctions was the CASC class championship in Canada. This included 12 races with 12 races and ten wins, in 1962.
It measured only 1.2 meters in height and 1.55 meters in width, with a length of 4.5 meters. It was low to the ground and narrow enough to streamline through the racetrack. This car traveled 10,000 kilometers with an average speed of 118 mph. It also maintained 72 continuous hours with a mean speed of 116 mph.
- It was introduced in 1960 at the Monza Autodrome
- It was manufactured in 1960 as a prototype for speed record
- It was 1785 mm at the wheelbase
- Car’s length was 4555mm with a width of 1550 mm
- Height: 1200 mm
- Technical Specifications: mid-rear four cylinder engine, 982 cm3, 105 hp at 8000 rpm, four-speed gearbox rear-wheel-drive.
- Units Produced: 1
This Monoposto da Record car would remain as one of Abarth’s greatest accomplishment. Its aerodynamic design was something never seen before. It was created to maintain high speeds for longer periods of time than other racers. Also known as the La Principessa- It had a Fiat chassis but with only a drag efficient of .20-it outclassed the competitors.
Here are some other records for the Monoposto da Record car:
- 72 hours at an average of 186.687km/h 186 kilometers per hour for 72 hours
- 12 hours at an average of 203.656km/h 203 kilometers per hour for 12 hours
- 2000 miles at an average of 201.115km/h 201 kilometers per hour for 2000 miles
- 24 hours at an average of 198.795km/h 198 kilometers per hour for 24 hours
- 5000 km at an average of 199.238km/h 199 kilometers for 5000 km
- 5000 miles at an average of 192.878km/h 192 km per hour for 5000 miles
- 48 hours at an average of 190.264km/h 190 km per hour for 48 hours
- 10,000km at an average of 191.376km/h 191 km per hour for 10, OOO km
These astounding records were attributed to the aerodynamic and lightness of the design of Abarth’s cars. They were tested in wind tunnels to optimize their performance, and Abarth himself was a dedicated driver. Once, he went on an apple only diet so he could squeeze into the tiny seat for a race.
Abarth eventually retired and sold his designs. The cars were retired, and some left sitting, untouched, all these many years. Some report that the Monoposto da Record car still has the original stickers placed by the designers. He remains one of the most respected innovators in racing history and the record car from 1960 is still considered one of the unique races.
Gooding and Company are offering up this historical race car at the Pebble Beach Auction in August. This car has not been restored, and this marks the first time it has been for sale which makes it almost a frozen capsule of time. Some who have seen it say that is original down to the stickers placed on it by designers. Experts predict that this beautiful car will go for a minimum of one million pounds.
The unique styling of the car makes it a relevant buy even in today’s modern world. If you use it to commute, you can cut hours off of your travel time. You will also need to get used to your fellow commuters’ stares as their jaws drop in unison. No one has seen this car on the road for over 50 years. The timeless beauty and styling of this car will only strengthen with time.
Race car enthusiasts will certainly be watching the sale of the car at auction. Just as in its racing period, the Abarth 1960 race car may set some different types of records once it goes up for sale. Many collectors would love to add this unique beauty to their garage.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker