The Abarth 1000 SP is a name that to this day still excites fans of the Scorpion brand. Abarth are of course well known for their efforts producing some of the wildest and fastest Fiat’s ever. Less known however was the firms collaborations with Alfa Romeo, one of which produced the stunning Abarth 1000 SP.
In the latter half of the 1950s, Alfa Romeo and Abarth worked in together to produce a sports car with a limited displacement. The project was led by Milan engineer and Alfa Romeo employee Mario Colucci, which resulted in the creation of an Abarth 1000-based Alfa Romeo in 1958. The compact coupé featured an engine based on the 4-cylinder Sprint Veloce, but with a lower displacement. The chassis consisted of a lattice of pipes, over which was laid the coachwork, which was designed Franco Scaglione at Bertone.
At the end of the project, Carlo Abarth hired Colucci as Technical Director and in 1966, entrusted him with the ambitious Abarth 1000 SP project. The car’s name was taken from its engine displacement, which was derived from the Fiat 600 and the Sport Prototipo class, the type of closed-wheel cars produced specifically to take part in competitions and constructed in limited numbers.
Designed to excel in both short hillclimbs and endurance races, the 1000 SP features simple, low and sleek lines. Lightweight and powerful, it won a major series of international victories – the first of which in its class at the Nürburgring 500 km in September 1966, helping to consolidate the sporting prestige of the Abarth brand. The skilled engineer Colucci thus completed his concept of a tubular chassis racing car, which had begun a few years earlier with the Alfa Romeo Abarth 1000.
Considered a milestone in Abarth’s competitive history, in terms of style, performance and victories, the 1000 SP continues to inspire the designers at the Centro Stile Fiat & Abarth. They have now produced a contemporary reinterpretation of the iconic 1960s Sport Prototipo: a medium-sized sports car, with an eye-catching silhouette and essential lines. This idea of a lightweight car with an excellent weight-to-power ratio became the basis of a project that became reality in 2021, fully in line with its forerunner: the points and lines of the original car’s design were respected to ensure continuity between the ’60s sports car and the concept car of the new millennium.
The Abarth 1000 SP respects three fundamental design principles already seen in the ’60s model. First and foremost, the lightness of its forms, its volumes and of course its weight.
The second principle is aerodynamics: modern design technologies have made it possible to combine the iconic lines of the 1000 SP with an aerodynamic coefficient worthy of a contemporary sports car. Finally, ergonomics, aimed at improving the user experience, to optimize the vehicle’s control and agile driveability.
The Abarth 1000 SP echoes the lines and aesthetics characteristic of its forerunner. The sinuous body, with the soft surfaces of the fenders highlighting the position of the wheels, takes up the pattern of the spider with a central engine. The cockpit glazing features shaped side deflectors, with their profile lowered towards the roll bar, the latter strictly “in view”, to highlight our being in the presence of a “no-holds-barred” spider.
The rear geometries of the Abarth 1000 SP accentuate the ideal harmony between the lights and the exhaust pipes. The livery is strictly red and the characteristic air intakes appear all over, from the front bonnet to the cooling slots in its rear counterpart. The headlights also follow the minimalist scheme of the historic 1000 SP, with point lights on the nose and a single pair of round headlights to accentuate the car’s remarkable breadth when seen from behind. The Abarth 1000 SP thus maintains a very similar identity to its forerunner’s, courtesy of the meticulous work to update the historic, no-holds-barred Abarth 1000 SP.
The tubular chassis under the “skin” of the historic Sport Prototipo gives way to a hybrid frame, with a central cell constructed in carbon fiber and an aluminum front. The Abarth 1000 SP features a powerful turbocharged 4-cylinder, 1742-cc central engine, capable of delivering up to 240 hp in output. The sophisticated mechanics of the concept boast overlapping triangle suspension in the front, with an advanced MacPherson strut in the rear.
55 years after the debut of the original and only Abarth 1000 SP, it is once again ready to strut its stuff and is scheduled to make its appearance at future classic car events.