Between 1961 and 1967 Fiat Auto produced the compact family car 1300 and 1500 models, which were identical apart from respective engine displacements. The mercurial tuner of all things Fiat, Carlo Abarth, immediately saw an opportunity with the Fiat 1500’s four cylinder OHV engine and front disc brakes to increase its sporting credentials by offering a twin carburettor set-up, hotter camshaft, full bore exhaust system, alloy wheels and Abarth detailing. Such was the success of this model that they were raced throughout the 1960s in Europe, Scandinavia, Australia and also in Brazil, where there is a one-make series still running today for these robust racers.
The car on offer today was successfully raced and rallied in Denmark for many years before being imported into the U.K in 2012 as a Fiat 1500S. The car was then brought up to Abarth specification for the previous owner by CCK Historic to run in HRDC races before being invited to race at Goodwood with the full support of Fiat U.K’s Abarth division, partnered by ex-Hesketh and Surtees F1 driver, Rupert Keegan. Such was the car’s popularity with spectators that Goodwood invited the car back to contest the 72nd Members’ Meeting.
The current owner acquired this car in 2105, bestowing Woolmer Classic Engineering the task of preparing the car for the St. Mary’s Trophy at the 2016 Goodwood Revival meeting. In a comprehensive rebuild of the car, the engine was rebuilt, suspension overhauled and safety equipment updated. Under this ownership, the car was re-liveried into its present, striking colour scheme. For this Goodwood Revival, the current owner was partnered with Sam Tordoff, the 2016 BTCC Championship runner-up.
This car is eligible for the ‘TC63’ class of the prestigious HRDC ‘Touring Greats’ and is therefore eligible to race at events such as the ‘Coys Trophy’ at the Donnington Historic Festival in April this year as well as all the HRDC ‘Touring Greats’ series events. Due to its unique standing, this evocative racer must surely be a contender to race again at Goodwood.