It’s relatively easy for automakers to build a fast car nowadays. The real challenge comes when trying to make a car that is both fast and fuel-efficient.
The desire to build a car that is fast and efficient has only come about amid increasingly strict government emissions standards and rising fuel prices, but way back in 1960, Abarth’s engineers were hard at work on just such a machine.
The 1960 Abarth 1000 Bialbero Record Car La Principessa was introduced at the 42nd Turin Motor Show and built to set a world record for the highest sustained speed over the longest period of time. To achieve that, the Abarth 1000 would have to have a fast top end with lots of range.
To ensure it was as slippery as possible, Italian coachbuilders Pininfarina crafted a groundbreaking bodyshape developed using the wind tunnel at Turin Polytechnic University. With a low drag co-efficient of just 0.20 (lower than any car currently on sale) and a small 100 horsepower 1.0-liter four-cylinder engine, the Abarth 1000 was able to cover a distance of 10,000 kilometers at an average speed of 118.7mph. The record-breaking vehicle also drove for 72 hours straight at an average speed of 116 mph.
Auction house Gooding & Company will now sell off the unrestored Abarth 1000 at its upcoming Pebble Beach sale. A pricing estimate has not been provided, but considering this is a one-off creation and a very interesting part of Abarth and Pininfarina’s past ,we’re not expecting it to find a new home on the cheap.
Click here to view the lot before the 1960 Abarth 1000 is sold off at Pebble Beach in late August.