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  Abarth Simca 1300 GT

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Country of origin:Italy
Produced from:1962 - 1965
Price new:Lire 3,300,000
Designed by:Abarth
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:Before December 1st, 2004
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Click here to download printer friendly versionWhen Simca was first established in 1935, their business was constructing Fiat products for the French market. After the Second World War Simca continued constructing Fiat designs, but they were now given their own unique character by changing grills and engines. New Simca models were introduced throughout the fifities, but the tie with Fiat remained. In 1961 the Simca 1000 was introduced and although its design was unique, many of the mechanicals were Fiat's.

Simca was looking into producing a quicker version of the 1000, but figured it needed outside help to make it work. The logical person to go to was Carlo Abarth, whose Fiat based cars were winning races all over Europe. Abarth agreed to construct and test a number of 1000 derived prototypes. Simca would then decide which one to go for. Abarth basically functioned as research and development centre for Simca.

When Abarth was done with the 1000, very little reminded of the Simca it was based on. Under the new aerodynamic body some Simca parts were used, but key elements like the engine were by Abarth. Replacing the 35 bhp 944 cc engine was a brand new twin cam 1288 cc unit, that produced 125 bhp. Dry sump lubrication meant that the engine could be mounted lower in the chassis for a better weight balance.

Suspension and steering were adopted from the 1000. To properly stop the 1300 GT, as it would be named, discs brakes were fitted all around. Smaller in every aspect, the 1300 GT weighed little over 600 kg, saving almost 200 kg compared to the 1000's weight. Its body followed the lines of previous Abarths like the Bialbero. Abarth's experience in high speed trials was reflected in the efficient body, which allowed for a stunning top speed of 230 km/h.

Motor racing was where most Abarths were destined to shine and shine the Simca Abarth 1300 GT did. In its first season of racing, 1962, nine major victories were scored by 1300 GTs and at the end of the season it was lapping as quick as 2 litre cars. Never content with his products Abarth set out to better the 1300 GT and completely new 1600 cc and 2000 cc engines were ready for the 1963 season, to power the 1600 GT and 2000 GT. The 1300 GT was campaigned very succssfully again that season, alongside its bigger brothers.

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  Article Image gallery (14) Specifications