Between the years 1961 to 1967 Fiat Auto produced the mid-sized family car, the Fiat 1300 and Fiat 1500. They were identical except for the engine displacement.
Down at the Abarth plant in Turin, head honcho Carlo Abarth saw a opportunity not to be sniffed at with the four cylinder OHV engine of the 1500S and set about creating a tuning kit for this boxy saloon with twin downdraft Webers, competition exhaust systems and a hot camshaft.
These Fiat-Abarths were raced in the 1960's throughout Europe and as far afield as Australia. They are even being raced as we speak in Brazil!
It is believed to be the sole surviving Abarth left racing today.
This example, from 1962, was raced and rallied in Denmark for many years before finding a new home here the UK in 2012.
The car was then brought up to current FIA regulations by CCK Historics and raced in the HRDC piloted by the previous owner - Guy Harman.
Initially safety modifications were made, with a full fire system and replacement of the old fuel tank with a racing cell and neat little filler in the lightened and drilled boot lid. The focus then moved to setting up the suspension, with the fitting of AVO shock absorbers and lowering the car with appropriate camber on both the front and rear axles.
The addition of a limited slip differential and custom made competition half shafts complete the set up.
Then came the crowning moment for this 'little' Abarth - racing at the Goodwood Revival. First in 2013 driven by ex F1 driver Rupert Keegan and then at the 72nd Members Meeting.
In 2015 this ultra rare Fiat Abarth 1500S was again in the thick of it at the Goodwood Revival. Racing in the St Mary's Trophy alongside the barnstorming Ford Falcons and sprited Mini Coopers.
This time it was driven by the current owner, Graham Robson and the rising star of BTCC, Le Mans Series and BRDC - Sam Tordoff.
The car was prepared and supported at race meetings by Woolmer's Classic Engineering of Colmworth, Bedfordshire with bills in excess of £15,000 during 2015.
Last year the engine was totally stripped, chemically cleansed and rebuilt with all new gaskets and fluids. Fitted with a nice set of Weber DCNF downdraft carburetors and competition exhaust system, this OHV engine has a deep throaty sound and with that racing camshaft the noise is sonorous at the higher end of the rev range.
The 4 speed gearbox and differential were treated to new fluids and is crunch free with a nice tight change.
It currently sits on a fat set of period Dunlop Racing tyres and with the custom 13 inch steel wheel they certainly fill the rolled arches nicely to give it a squat and aggressive stance.
So there it is, an über-rare Abarth car, thought to be last one of it's kind racing today, starts on the button and drives with a verve and eagerness that belies it's 54 years on the road/track.