Mr Raspa came to me in late 2010 with a wild idea of building a Abarth OT1600 Replica. Trying to find a Fiat 850 sedan body in a half reasonable condition, not rusted into unrecognizable chicken coop status, to do the project was almost impossible! Not to slow him down he modified direction a little by going for a Abarth OT2000 America Replica instead, which is based on the early coupe body. He found a very nice and complete example of a early Fiat 850 Coupe near Fremantle, buying it that day from a Fiat enthusiast Gabriel. After I towing it back to his home, Renato showed me a large file of Abarth OT pictures, parts list and diagrams he had found on the net for both sedan and coupe. This just blew me away, as did his commitment and detail for this project. Now I’m happy to do it for him and in fact, he has even rev’ed me up to think of doing something too! Now being a “Hot Blooded” Italian, Renato naturally must have his Abarth Replica in RED(Rossa Corsa). This Abarth originally only had the two colours when new, so lucky he found a Red one to start with or this would have cost him more than a paint job! The other colour? White (Bianca) that looks clean and crisp as a vintage Ferrari looks, not for the Italian !!
Action! The start has to be the buying of the Abarth replica fibre-glass guards from the Abarth Museum in Belgium. The fact was that ,even thou they are not top quality, without these it would look like all the other Fiat twincam modified Fiat 850 coupes done around the world, in our opinion, not worth the effort to build! Next was bought not for looks but a technical upgrade to our project: the Abarth Replica double wishbone front suspension. Renato tracked this down in New Zealand. He did see some on eBay Italy and from around the net, but the NZ cross-member is well built and at a better exchange rate,So yes we bought 2 sets! At his point Renato jumps ahead in his project and buys a set of Abarth wheels, oil sump and rocker covers from Italy and other engine rebuild parts for his project. Starting on the Fiat twincam engine build (in red of course) the 8v twincam head has been machined and now both block and head are ready for assembly! First the block: new rings on pistons and crank with new bearings is together and complete; the Abarth sump has been welded to the supplied spacer then re-drilled to fit better,who ever drilled the sump was on the “Vino’ next is the head, ported and then to 60grit surface inlet and exhaust ports, both twin DCOE inlet manifold and cast exhaust matched to head ,done fitted, polished back of valves and now assembled as is the ARP head stud kit . With the head now placed on the block and tensioned down to 70 foot pound! Need to dummy fit cam box and cams to see if the stud kit is up too high and the camshafts are not too wild those passionate Italians! After fitting the 124 Sport (BC)1600 cams and both manifolds, shim adjust and test , it will be time for me to fit the finished Engine and VW modified Gearbox together and in Renato’s 850 coupe to fabricate all the mountings (to retain that beast!). do water and exhaust piping,wiring for Ignition system and Gauges,etc
December 2013- Now Renato’s coupe is back from Mario’s having the rear drums to discs conversion done his way(a time issue for me), along with fitting of the N.Z Abarth style front suspension.
Jan’/Feb’2014- We are fixing the Fiat twincam dummy engine to vw box and adaptor with alloy Abarth sump, then doing the dummy fit to all external parts and into the spare coupe rear end, this is so exhaust system, water system and all brackets and chassis strengthening can be done or planned without damaging the original Red beast!!
Update 6/2015- This project is at our friends at Intersmash for the full body make-over! after a disaster with loosing money with the first attempt to have this done , Renato has it where it will be looked after how it should be!
……….waiting for it’s return to BM-Autohaus to complete!
Updates to this page as Project progresses!!