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1960 Fiat-Abarth Sestriere : Classic Cars

From high efficiency exhaust systems in the , Karl (later Carlo) Abarth branched out into other performance parts for Italian cars small and large. In the early years after WWII he became the Italian distributor for Porsche and through that connected Ferry Porsche with Piero Dusio of Cisitalia to realize the Type 360 Grand Prix racer project. Cisitalia was forced into bankruptcy shortly thereafter and as a consultant to the company, Abarth was awarded most of the assets of Cisitalia as payment for his work. He developed the last of the Cisitalia chassis as Abarths, and then turned to building original Fiat-based cars.

Abarth hit his stride when the Fiat 600 of 1955 was launched, for in addition to supplying tuning parts, he developed an enlarged 750cc version of the 633cc engine, selling derivazione high-performance kits to dealers and garages for fitting into stock 600s. He also built complete cars in his factory, the best known of which were sleek, lightweight Zagato-bodied competition cars. The Fiat 600 Derivazione 750 Abarth Zagato made its debut at the 1955 Turin Auto show and began its racing career in 1956. It quickly established itself as a winner in European events and made a sweep of the first three places in the 750cc class at the 1957 Mille Miglia. His affordable miniature GT car was ideal for the private entry racer, the perfect "drive to the track, race and drive home" car. Through a sponsor partnership deal secured with Fiat, he was paid for every win or second place a "Fiat-Abarth" scored. The cars were equally successful in the US, on all types of tracks across the country.

As was the case with the Italian carrozzeria, the derivazione extended to the coachwork as well, and various versions of the Zagato-bodied car left the Zagato coachbuilding works. A special model named the "Sestriere", as seen here, had upright fixed headlights and was built normally in steel, with two prominent air scoops atop the tail for better engine cooling.

The Sestriere model was named after the Rallye de Sestriere, one of Europe's most punishing Alpine rally events on the annual calendar at that time, providing the Italian round of the contemporary rally drivers' Championship. Above all, the Fiat-Abarth 750 Sestriere was a tough and resilient little competition car in true Abarth fashion.


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Sources : 1960 Fiat-Abarth Sestriere Photo | 1960 Fiat-Abarth Sestriere Article

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