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.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1970 Abarth 2000 SE19
Years Produced:1970-1972
Number Produced:Approx. 20 (mid- and rear-engine examples)
Original List Price:$12,000-$14,000
Tune Up Cost:$1,000-$5,000
Distributor Caps:$450, two required
Chassis Number Location:On chassis tube near gearbox
Engine Number Location:Left side of engine block
Club Info:Ferrari Club of America, 15812 Radwick Silver Springs, MD, 20906
Alternatives:Lola 212, Chevron B-19, Alfa T-33/2

The car shown here was sold for $78,469 at the Brooks Auction held March 15, 1999 in Geneva, Switzerland. The early Seventies saw the last of the purpose-built Abarth competition cars. The very highly tuned, four-cylinder engines had a reputation for big power but not always big reliability. The Abarth was a very highly developed machine that was a bargain in its day, selling for about half the price of its British competitors.

Their reputation for being delicate, deserved or not, affects the desirability of this car as a vintage racer and makes the car more valuable to collectors of Italian racing history than to racers. The traditional Abarth collectors, the Japanese, have been quiet the last few years, leaving a smaller group of US and European collectors in their wake. The price paid was less than a comparable Lola 212 or Chevron B-19, (fitted with proper with Cosworth FVC). In view of the rarity of the Abarth in comparison to the more common Lola or Chevron, it was well bought. Another ten percent could have been paid with no regrets.-Michael Duffey

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