1962 Abarth 700S
Pilots: R. Fraissinet, P. Condrillier
Team: Abarth Corse & Cie
Race: DNF (class E) at Le Mans in 1962
Spark - S1321 (resin)
Founded in 1949, Abarth & C. started out making aftermarket performance parts. However, the end of the 50’s they were famous worldwide because of their high-performance exhaust systems. And with their performance kits specially made for small displacement FIATs, they became synonymous to racing. And more importantly – winning races. With all the victories, by the end of the decade a new phrase was coined that almost became a brand logo: “small but wicked”.
Abarth had a factory team at La Sarthe since 1960. For 1962 there were five works cars, three Abarth-Simca Bialbero and two FIAT Abarth 700S. The 700S was a coupe with a Zagato-style fiberglass body mounted on a space frame chassis. For the engine, Abarth used a FIAT based L4 701 cm³ twin-carburetor engine mounted ahead of the five-speed gearbox. The engine produced a neat 64 hp which made the car fast enough, but it was too fragile for Le Mans. With that, none of the works cars finished the race.
One of the distinctive characteristics of the 700S was at the rear. To keep the engine lid opened, special hinges were used. At first you would think that this was for engine cooling. However, the lid was like as an important aid to the car’s aerodynamics. The 1962 race was the final year for any Abarth works teams at Le Mans, and this #51 is chassis 122 0554 P. As you can see, another solid effort by the folks of Spark. It’s a model that is something of a wonder to me. When I collected 1:18, never (ever!) did I have access to a quirky and not exactly important car like this. So, I have to say collecting 1:43 is so much cooler.
PS: Like my Alfa T33/3 (TSM), tires were also flat on this one. Therefore, if you keep your models are on their bases, CHECK YOUR TIRES!