GALLERY: Go Behind The Scenes On Our Fiat Abarth 750 GT Zagato Coupe Film Shoot
Perry Solomon was very young when he discovered that he liked driving. That’s normal for plenty of kids, but not many would take their dad’s Chevy Nova off of motorcycle jumps either. When he moved to California in the late 1980s Perry found himself surrounded by cars and events of every variety, while Concorso Italiano and Pebble Beach were the ones that he most enjoyed and dreamed of one day participating in. Along the way, Perry discovered the story of Carlo Abarth, the legendary Viennese-born Italian car tuner. Having always been drawn to smaller, low-volume production Italian cars, finding one that combines the histories of Abarth and Zagato is about as good as it gets.
Perry found the Fiat Abarth 750 GT Zagato Coupe about five years ago, but it wasn’t a simple process of finding the best one on Craigslist. After doing his research and deciding that the “double bubble” Abarth was the car he was set on, Perry began the search to find his own. This brought him to Italy—well, to a car in Italy that a friend took a look at on Perry’s behalf—but the example wasn’t the nicest starting point, so Donald Osborne pointed him towards a better one.
The one that he ended up with spent a lot of time racing in Canada after it was imported in the late 1950s (in fact, all seven owners of the car in that country raced it), and though it was restored before it came into Perry’s possession, it still holds a lot of its originality in the form of the original interior that was constantly being removed and then sold with the car from owner to owner, the badges and other small trim pieces, along with the scrapes on the door handle from when the car was rolled over in a race in the mid 1960s.
Though it only went from about 23 to 48hp in Carlo Abarth’s hands, the relative gain from the tuning was remarkable for the time, and though he describes the steering as “vague-ish” and points out that there it uses four drum brakes, Perry wrings tons of enjoyment from this little piece of Italian automotive history, whether its a spirited drive on a backroad, tracing the history and keeping the car going, or entering it in the shows that captured his attention so many decades ago. Speaking of, this car will be competing in the upcoming Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance next month on August 18th.