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1500 Bertone Biposto
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  Abarth 1500 Bertone Biposto
 

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Country of origin:Italy
Produced in:1952
Numbers built:one-off
Introduced at:1952 Turin Auto Show
Designed by:Franco Scaglione for Bertone
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:March 30, 2011
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Click here to download printer friendly versionDuring the early 1950s a new generation of highly talented automotive stylists emerged in Italy. Unfortunately their means of expressing themselves was increasingly limited by the advent of the load-bearing body-shell on mass-produced models. Carlo Abarth recognised the problem and developed a new Fiat-based machine for coach-builders to cloth.

Of Austrian descent, Abarth specialised in the production of aftermarket intake and exhaust systems for a variety of manufacturers. It was in this capacity that he joined the engineering team at Piero Dusio's ambitious Cisitalia company in the late 1940s. When the small manufacturer folded late in 1949, Abarth received several Cisitalias in various states of completion as a severance pay. Although built in very small numbers, these would form the basis for the first Abarth cars.

Abarth realised that, if anything, an Abarth labelled car would be a very powerful marketing tool for his 'go fast' products. He also knew that the best way to attract attention was with an eye-catching body. With their very promising designer Franco Scaglione, Bertone would be an ideal partner for this project. Nobody at the time could have known that the Bertone bodied Abarth would form the basis for a series of three legendary show cars.

Known internally as the 'Tipo 1500', the new Abarth featured a bespoke boxed-steel platform chassis, housing the Fiat mechanicals. It was equipped with double wishbones at the front and a live rear axle. Power came from a slightly enlarged Fiat 1400 engine, which was of course fitted with an Abarth tuning kit. In this trim it produced 75 bhp, which was a considerable improvement over the 44 bhp produced by the stock engine. A four speed gearbox completed the package.

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  Article Image gallery (15) 214/01 Specifications