Abarth Simca Chronicles
by P ETE on J ULY 8, 2 014
Abarth Simca
By Gino Giugno
9.5 by 6.5 Softbound
560 pages, 700 photos, 150 color
89.00 Euros
Order from:[email protected]
Review by Pete Vack
Of all the myriad of Abarths constructed between
1955 and 1972, among the fastest, most attractive
and best handling are the rare Abarth Simcas, born
in 1962 as a result of a deal between Carlo Abarth
and Enrico Pigozzi, the Italian who established the
French Simca firm, spurred on by the Viennese engineer Rudy Hruska, then working for Simca.
During the 1950s, Simca had managed to undo the Fiat apron strings, first with the Aronde, which sold
in significant numbers both in France and abroad (including the US), and the V8 powered Vedette, a
stranger to these shores but a good seller in France. At the end of 1961, Simca introduced the 1000
sedan, the first rear engined Simca. The new car was a definite step up from the Fiat 600; more power,
better handling and better brakes. The project began at Fiat, assigned to Oscar Montabone who worked
directly under Dante Giacaosa.
Pigozzi was fascinated by Abarth’s successes and the resulting publicity for Fiat and asked Abarth to do
the same with the new Simca. For Simca, the rub off was important, but if it was to be called and
advertised as an Abarth Simca, exactly what parts would be Simca? For the sedan, Abarth modified the
The Coda Tronca 2000 almost appears as if it is lengthened compared to the earlier version. But the
key is the abrupt cutoff, not the short or long of it.
pushrod production engine to three different levels of tune, designed a different dashboard, improved
handling and brakes and used the familiar Abarth logos on the body. But the real Abarth Simcas
actually came first, and were fitted with the first all­Abarth 1300cc DOHC dry sump engine wedged
politely in the tail of a Beccaris­built body folded on a steel Simca 1000 platform chassis, suitably
modified. Steering and suspension were also Simca 1000 based. There were three versions; the first was
the 1300, from which came the 2000, and the 1600, which was a special engine with a five main
bearing crank rather than four. According to Luciano Greggio, It was not further developed because the
FIA classes favored a full 2000 cc.
The Book
Books on Abarth abound, but few are model specific. The best, in our opinion, is Abarth, The
Machines, the Man by Luciano Greggio, which covers the entire history of Abarth but does so with
intelligent detail and great photos. Abarth Simca, a new book by Gino Giugno, is one of the first which
covers a particular Abarth model in depth, and is most welcome.
Covered in considerable detail are the Targa Florio events that witnessed the successes of the Abarth
Abarth Simca is in Italian, but since the text is mainly captions and results, translation is relatively easy.
This book is quite different than most. In attempting to create a book about almost any race car, one
seeks to accumulate the historic images of the cars, which are in many cases grainy, out of focus, or
scans from old publications. For both the historian and restorer, these are the gold.
Giugno reconstructs the racing history of the Abarth Simca using action photos from a wide variety of
sources, including many of the drivers who competed in the events with an Abarth. Clearly, his goal
was not to provide excellent photos of restored Abarth Simcas but to find and publish every photo
relevant to the participation of Abarth Simcas in the GT races and hillclimbs in Italy, France and Austria
and the U.S. This he has done, using up 560 pages to do so. There is no actual number count of the
images but there are at least 700, mostly black and white images in addition to about 150 color photos.
Giugno provides plenty of technical details and specifications before launching into the epic coverage of
the races in which the Abarth Simca participated, and describes the change to a ‘coda tronca’ tail after
the arrival of Colucci to Abarth from Alfa, where he worked on the Alfa TZ1. Not only was the Abarth
Simca fast and a race winner, but it was beautiful, making it one of the great GT cars of the 1960s. The
car was an immediate success; in 1963 alone, the Abarth Simca 1300 scored over 90 class wins.
The book is arranged in chronological order. It is difficult for us to know if Giugno has thoroughly
researched events in France and the US, but Le Mans and Sebring are included in his research,
including the races entered by Otto Linton (no stranger to these pages). Serial numbers are included in
the text and results where known; presumably, there is a lot of work left to be done to ascertain the
number of Abarth Simcas built and the serial number history of each.
In addition to the GT model, Giugno tracks the photo history of the Sports 2000 hillclimb car and the
OT Periscopio models; to what extend we are not certain. Both cars at times used the 2000 engine from
the Abarth Simca and therefore can be considered part of the product line. There are lot of photos – and
The 2000 Abarth motor had a dry sump and 58 mm Webers and produced 187 hp.
results – of both models, which competed from 1964­1969, almost always in Europe. It serves to give
one a break from the numerous GT photos. Abarth Simca fans, no doubt, will be thankful for each and
every one.
At 89
Plenty for Periscopio fans; here is Donau­Pokal at the Vienna Flugplatzrennen in 1967.
Euros, the book is not inexpensive. But it will be a necessary delight to all who cherish Abarths,
particular the Abarth Simca.
Tagged as: Abarth, abarth history, abarth racing, Abarth Simca, simca, Simca Abarth

Abarth Simca Chronicles