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Wednesday, January 18, 2023

The Abarth 205 Vignale Berlinetta is one of the best 1950s sportscars ever made

~Unique ONES~ This following car could be said one of the best 1950s sportscars ever made, with its elegant lines and sleek roof line, this small Abarth Coupe has continued to cause a stir since its release at the 1951 Turin Auto Show. Not surprisingly so, since the car is the product from an Austrian born Karl Abarth's engineering skills combined with graceful styling of Giovanni Michelotti.
The Abarth 205 Vignale Berlinetta (in pictured Chassis: #205 101) while on display at the 2005 The Quail, a Motorsports Gathering. (Picture from: UltimateCarPage)
As we all knew, after establishing himself as a talented engineer, three-time motorcycle champion Karl Abarth or Carlo Abarth began constructing his own cars. At the time, Abarth had been laid off from bankrupt Cisitalia, but continued to race their cars while at the same time developing his own. 
Alfredo Vignale was commissioned to build the lightweight aluminium bodywork of the Abarth 205 Vignale Berlinetta (in pictured Chassis: #205 101) based on Giovanni Michelotti's beautiful designs. (Picture from: UltimateCarPage)
For the 1949 season, Squadra Carlo Abarth relied on the cycle-winged Cisitalia 204s to win the Formula 2 Championship for sports cars. Much more than a renamed Cisitalia, Abarth's 204 had a unique chassis and a more developed engine. The final version of this successful car was the 204A Coupe or Monza. With this coupe, Michelotti had successfully adopted his interpretation of the trend-setting Cisitalia 202.
The Abarth 205 Vignale Berlinetta (in pictured Chassis: #205 101) powered by a Fiat's four cylinder engine, fitted also with Abarth's tuning kit, which consisted of a revised intake manifold, two Weber carburettors and a bespoke exhaust. (Picture from: UltimateCarPage)
The Abarth 205 as seen here was his first production car, and mimicked the 204A race car. Fortunately, the first production car made a victorious debut early in March of 1950 when Guido Scagliarini won the 1100 class in the Coppa InterEuropa at Monza. It fitted with a new coupe body, it was confusingly referred to as an Abarth 204A. Today it seems more likely that the car was actually the first of three Abarth 205s built around a brand new platform chassis, while the 204s used a distinctly different tubular frame.
The Abarth 205 Vignale Berlinetta (in pictured Chassis: #205 102) while on display at the 2019 Goodwood Festival of Speed. (Picture from: UltimateCarPage)
Both cars do share the Fiat sourced four cylinder engine, fitted also with Abarth's tuning kit, which consisted of a revised intake manifold, two Weber carburettors and a bespoke exhaust. As the result, this tiny 1,089 cc engine produced an impressive 83 bhp. The potent drivetrain coupled with the Fiat-sourced four-speed gearbox were fitted in a very straightforward box-section steel platform chassis. Then Alfredo Vignale was commissioned to build the lightweight aluminium bodywork with three Vignale's typical portholes on the front fenders, based on Giovanni Michelotti's beautiful designs.
The Abarth 205 Vignale Berlinetta (in pictured Chassis: #205 102) fitted with an Alfa Romeo Giulietta sourced 1300 cc drivetrain. (Picture from: UltimateCarPage)
After its spectacular Monza debut, the 204A / 205 Coupe was shown during the 1950 Turin Motor Show. It was the first time Abarth displayed his cars at this most important show. A second example was finished shortly after and both were raced in the major Italian events that season. 
The Abarth 205 Vignale Berlinetta (in pictured Chassis: #205 102) was finished shortly after the first model was shown at the the 1950 Turin Motor Show, and both were raced in the major Italian events that season. (Picture from: UltimateCarPage)
The third example was completed early in 1951 was more luxuriously than the two racing cars appointed above. Fitted with a slightly larger version of the four cylinder engine, it was shown during the Turin shown in 1951. Prized at the level of a two-litre Ferrari, Abarth struggled to find customers for his small Coupes and in the end only three were built, each under chassis number of #205 101, #205 102, and #205 103.
The Abarth 205 Vignale Berlinetta (in pictured Chassis: #205 103) was completed early in 1951, it was built more luxurious than its two predecessor cars. (Picture from: UltimateCarPage)
The huge expenses of the racing efforts weighed heavily on the fledgling company and Abarth decided it was wise to cease racing and focus on developing the successful exhaust systems for the foreseeable future. In addition to the three competition cars, Abarth also produced the fourth model much along the same lines, which would be used for a Ghia-bodied show car that debuted at Turin in 1953. The 205's chassis platform then used on few addtitional showcars, finally on the Abarth 207 racing car introduced in 1955.
Amazingly all three Abarth 205s, as well as the 1100 Sport by Ghia show car have survived and are in the hands of caring owners. They remain as the first in a long line of Abarth racing cars that made their mark on small-displacement racing for several decades. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | HISTORICAUTOPRO | ULTIMATECARPAGE ]
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