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All about the department that champions the historic heritage of Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Lancia and Abarth.
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Alfa Romeo Alfasud
The revolution coming in from the South.
Fiat X 1/23
A city car forty years ahead of its time.
Lancia ECV2
ECV: Experimental Composite Vehicle.
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26 November 2021
A dual Lancia celebration at the Quirinale
115 years of brand history, and 60 years of the Flaminia Presidenziale limousine.
15 July 2021
The Fiat 500 F at the MoMA “Automania” exhibition
The icon of Italian automotive style and design goes on show in New York.
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The history of four world-leading Italian motoring brands
From the most emblematic models to the most successful, revolutionary people, and the most significant events, this section illustrates and celebrates the cornerstones of Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Lancia and Abarth.
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Abarth 1000 Monoposto Record 1965

The 100th record at the age of 57

Passion for speed prompted Karl Abarth to get back into the cockpit in one of his creations and set his company’s 100th record, on the Monza circuit.

Karl Abarth’s reputation as a brilliant car tuning specialist, eclectic entrepreneur and constructor stemmed partly from the numerous records established by his cars. In nearly all cases, the venue was the Monza race track, which in those days still had a high-speed ring that was perfect for long drives at very high speed.

Aware of the importance of aerodynamics, Abarth developed cars in conjunction with top coachbuilders (Zagato, Pininfarina and  Bertone), with the aim of creating unique models capable of breaking every record. Among the most memorable are the single-seaters powered by 500, 750 and 1000 cc Fiat-derived engines. 

Fiat executives understood how records could have a positive effect on sales, so they encouraged Abarth to break them whenever possible, including with financial support. But besides being an excellent marketing tool, record-breaking was also something of an obsession for Karl Abarth, an irrepressible passion that pushed him to constantly outdo himself.

inline-4, mid-rear longitudinal, DOHC, 2 twin-choke carb., 982 cm³
105 HP @ 8.800 rpm
225 km/h
500 kg

At the age of 57, Abarth decided to don his driver’s outfit once more and set the 100th record for an Abarth car, as both constructor and driver.

The new car—developed entirely by Abarth—was an open-wheel single-seater with a 1000 cc engine, derived from the one used in Formula 2 during the 1964 season. The twin-cam developed 105 hp at the high speed of 8800 rpm. It had a dry weight of just 500 kg and a small 10-litre tank.

So that he could fit into the cockpit, Karl Abarth shed 30 kg by following a strict diet (said to have consisted solely of apples); this weight reduction undoubtedly also contributed to the car’s unprecedented performance.

So, on 20 October 1965, the Autodromo di Monza provided the backdrop for further exploits. The Fiat Abarth 1000 Monoposto set two world records in Class G, for acceleration over the quarter-mile (13"62) and 500-metre (15"38) distances. Not satisfied with these successes, Karl promptly had a 2000 cc engine fitted to the car and the following day set another two acceleration records in Class E: over a quarter-mile and 500 metres with times of 11"55 and 15"38 respectively.

Read the stories of the other cars exhibited at Automotoretrò in Turin and Rétromobile in Paris:
FIAT Abarth 500 Record: Abarth redeems the small Fiat
Alfa Romeo 750 Competizione: The Alfa with the Abarth touch
Lancia Trevi Bimotore: Giorgio Pianta's 4x4

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