Amelia Island | Lot 280
1957 Fiat-Abarth 750 Record Monza Zagato
$98,000 USD | Sold
| Amelia Island, Florida
9 March 2019
- Single-family ownership since 1961; lovingly nicknamed “Clyde”
- Fully restored from the ground up, completed in 2003
- Presented at the 2014 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance
- The quintessential small-displacement Italian sports car
- Ideally suited for vintage rallies and driving events
Widely considered Italy’s most successful manufacturer of small-displacement sports cars, Carlo Abarth built a remarkable variety of “pocket racers” renowned for their lightweight, nimble handling and thoroughbred pedigree. Abarths were true giant-killers in competition, dominating the small-displacement classes and challenging much larger competitors, especially at hill climb events and demanding road races such as the Targa Florio.
An important example of the classic Fiat-Abarth, the 750 Record Monza was a sporting dual-purpose machine. Based on the rugged Fiat 600 platform and evolved from the wildly successful 750 GT, the 750 Record Monza was in celebration of Abarth’s numerous record-setting endurance runs at the famed Italian Autodromo. Like its predecessor, the car was carefully developed by the Abarth engineers at Torino and bodied by the famed Milanese coachbuilder, Zagato.
This Record Monza, chassis no. 441205, is believed to be an early example due to its 5¼-in. headlights, early red and amber tail lights, and the simple “Z” emblems displayed forward of the doors. The Abarth and Record Monza badges usually placed on the pillar behind the doors were not originally found on this car, nor is there evidence of them having been previously mounted to the body. Early photos and details suggest that this car may have been a factory-built Abarth race car. As acquired in 1961, it featured twin, offset black racing stripes, racing roundels on the doors, no tail lights in the usual place on the fenders, Plexiglas rear quarter windows, and aluminum-framed Plexiglas door windows. Furthermore, the car was equipped with an 8,600-rpm tachometer with 6,600-rpm redline and a 180 km/h speedometer. The Abarth also showed the usual signs of racing “bruises” to its aluminum coachwork, while the rear body panel was held on by four bolts for ease of removal.
Acquired by the Leonard family of Wakefield, Rhode Island, in 1961, Mr. Leonard’s son, Peter, would drive the sprightly little car around the family’s cranberry bog until he acquired his driver’s license. He continued driving the Record Monza until he graduated college in 1969, at which time the car was placed into storage. Eventually, the Abarth was removed from storage and he set about properly restoring it. A correct Fiat 600 block was sourced from marque specialist Mahlon Craft in 1989 and which was rebuilt to 848-cc specification. This included boring the engine to 63 mm with a 68-mm stroke and fitting a high-lift Abarth billet camshaft, 9.5:1 compression Mondial pistons, and Fiat 850 Sport cylinder head with Beck Arnley/Eaton exhaust and intake valves, amongst others.
The cosmetic restoration was initially entrusted to Creative Work Shop in August 1986. By June 1990, however, with mounting bills and little progress, Leonard halted the work for several years. In November 1992, the car was sent to Euro Coach Work to complete the comprehensive restoration. Just over a decade later, and over $100,000 spent in total, the prized Record Monza was finally ready to be enjoyed.
Having been driven and enjoyed in the ensuing 11 years at numerous events throughout Florida, the Abarth was eventually invited to be shown in the Zagato class at the 2014 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. Sadly, several years thereafter, and some 4,900 miles since its restoration, Mr. Leonard passed away in 2017. Having spent nearly six decades in single-family ownership, the Leonard family has decided to pass on their beloved “Clyde” to a new steward in the hopes that it will continue to be enjoyed as much as they did for a further 60 years.