Monterey

19-20 August 2016

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Lot 146

1961 Fiat-Abarth 1000 GT Bialbero

  • Chassis no. 1040293
  • Engine no. 1699533

Sold for $308,000


99 bhp, 982 cc dual overhead cam inline four-cylinder engine with two Weber 40 DCOE carburetors, four-speed manual transaxle, independent front suspension with upper wishbones and transverse leaf springs, independent rear suspension with coil springs and swing axles, and front and rear hydraulic disc brakes. Wheelbase: 78.7 in.

  • Reportedly the first Bialbero GT produced Raced in period as a factory competition car Multiple finishes at circuits such as Monza, the Nürburgring, Nassau, and Sebring Documented with a 1961 “Statement of Origin” signed by Carlo Abarth Restored by marque experts in 2003; exhibited at Pebble Beach and Amelia Island An early and important example of the model that helped secure Abarth the 1962 World Sportscar Championship


Abarth’s 1000 Bialbero GT was a triumphant result of years of development, capitalizing on tuning refinements to Fiat’s rear-engine 600 chassis, and the namesake dual-cam Bialbero cylinder head. While the overall design originated with the 1957 Abarth 750 Bialbero Record Monza car by Zagato, it was only with an increase to 982 cubic centimeters that the engine began to regularly dominate. By this time, bodied by Carrozzeria Abarth , the 1000 Bialbero GT led the marque to its first World Sportscar Championship in 1962, paving the way for five more consecutive titles.

Chassis number 1040293 is believed to be the first 1000 Bialbero GT built. Furthermore, claiming important competition history and an early 2000s restoration executed by marque experts, this car is one of the most important Bialberos to be offered in some time.

This sporting Abarth was prepared as a factory team car in August 1961 and entered as #111 at the Nürburgring 500 KM on 3 September 1961, with Eberhard Mahle (of the Mahle Pistons family) and Teodoro Zeccoli qualifying for a pole-position start. The duo remained in contention almost the entire race before a faulty fuel pump forced them to retire during the final lap, though they still managed to finish in 5th. On 10 September, Abarth entered the car in the Monza Coppa Inter-Europa; a photo of the car in the December 1961 issue of Sports Car Graphic suggests that it ran as #4, driven by Herbet Demetz.

In November 1961, the Bialbero GT was sold to John Norwood, a one-time naval intelligence officer who helped create Sports Illustrated magazine and was the captain of Franklin Roosevelt Jr.’s successful Fiat-Abarth team of 1959. This car was then shipped to Nassau for the Bahamas Speed Weeks. Decorated with #91, Paul Richards finished 20th Overall and 4th in Class at the Governors Trophy on 8 December, and 17th Overall with an impressive 1st in Class at the Nassau Trophy Race two days later.

In March 1962, the Bialbero GT participated in the season-commencing Sebring 3 Hours, where Briggs Cunningham’s team of Abarth Bialberos famously took 1st and 2nd, with Bruce McLaren and Walt Hansgen leading the way. Registered as #23, this Abarth placed 10th under the guidance of Paul Layman, George Schrafft, and Ray Cuomo.

The Abarth was eventually acquired by a noted Abarth collector and vintage racer who raced the car at vintage events such as the Monterey Historics during the 1970s and 1980s. In 2003, the car was sold to Rob Phillips of Portland, Oregon, and a comprehensive two-year restoration was entrusted to the late Abarth expert Greg Paris, while Les Burd, another marque expert, was retained to rebuild the original Bialbero engine. Following completion of the restoration, Phillips presented the car at several major exhibitions, including the 2005 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and the 2006 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.

In 2006, the outstanding GT car was purchased by the consignor, a marque collector based in Canada. He has diligently maintained the fastidious restoration while driving the Abarth sparingly, and it has neither been used in competitive driving nor displayed in over a decade.

Currently equipped with a correct replacement block of the proper AH type, this Bialbero GT is also accompanied by its original factory-issued block (damaged). The car is desirably documented with historic racing photos, period magazines, articles, race program, restoration file, and a 1961 Statement of Origin issued to John Norwood signed by Carlo Abarth. It is a rare and historically pedigreed Italian berlinetta of vast appeal, exemplifying the spirit of the legendary badge of the Scorpion.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more