After leaving Cisitalia in 1948, Austrian-born engineer Carlo Abarth set up as an independent in Turin. From producing induction and exhaust systems, Abarth branched out into selling performance kits primarily for Fiat production cars, later building a highly successful series of aerodynamically stylish sports prototypes and limited-series production cars. With its Fiat 500-based 595, Abarth adopted the most cost-effective method of coaxing greater power from a small engine, fitting a big-bore cylinder block that boosted capacity from 499 to 593cc. Higher-compression pistons, re-worked inlet ports, a special camshaft and exhaust system, and a larger carburettor helped raise power from 22 to 30bhp, though the biggest gain was in mid-range torque. Abarth’s conversion halved the standard car’s acceleration times and endowed the 595 with a top speed of more than 75mph. Lowered suspension and wider wheels and tires helped the baby Fiat utilise the increased performance.
Built in 1966 and first registered in 1967, this car was imported by Sting in the Tail of Chelsea in 1999 following a full restoration in 1997 in Italy. In 2006 the engine was rebuilt by Middle Barton garage to 695 specification but retaining the rare 4-pot head. The engine was again refreshed in 2014, having come out of long term storage the current vendor was keen to ensure the Abarth’s reliability. This wonderful example comes complete with ACI certificate and UK V5C and is said to be in a very good condition overall. A real head turner and a car that is certainly worth a closer look.