In the late 1960s and early 1970s one of the most popular and closely contested racing classes was for two-litre Group 5 sports racers. It was natural that Carlo Abarth would join in since his one-litre and 1300cc cars had dominated their class in the Sports Car World Championship for some years, taking 7,400 class and overall wins by 1972.
Abarth’s 1970 two-liter Group 5 car was built around a spaceframe with stressed sills. Front suspension was by coil springs and double wishbones with coil springs, horizontal links and radius arms at the rear. Disc brakes were fitted all round. The four-cylinder mid-mounted engine used an iron block with an Abarth alloy twin-cam cylinder head, a five main bearing crankshaft, two twin-choke Weber carburetors, and it was allied with a five-speed gearbox. With an output of 250 bhp @ 8,000 rpm, it was more powerful than the 235 bhp Cosworth FVC unit used by rivals such as Lola and Chevron.
Abarth had the reputation of making some of the most handsome and well-finished sports racers in the world and for this car, Carlo Abarth came up with a striking wedge-shaped body designed to eliminate aerodynamic lift.
The new car was quick from the start and the Austrian driver, Johannes Ortner, dominated the Competition Sports Car Class in the European Mountain Championship in a works Abarth in 1970 and 1971. It is believed that Ortner used this car during his successful campaign.
In 1970, Abarths were right on the pace in circuit racing and performed well at a wide variety of circuits. Dieter Quester took second at Salzburg, while Arturo Merzario took second places at Enna and the Nurburgring and led home an Abarth 1-2-3 finish at Mugello. In second place was Leo Kinnunen, who drove this car in the 1970 Targa Florlo.
Abarth finished third in the European two-liter Sports Car Championship in 1970 and 1971, but won it outright in 1972, with Arturo Merzario winning the Drivers’ Championship.
This car has been restored and race prepared and has the potential to be a competitive performer in historic events. It has its original steering wheel, the correct seat and four Goodyear slicks on the distinctive four-spoke Campagnolo alloy wheels which Abarth favoured. It is finished in the Abarth works colors of red with white stripes.