I fall in love with the little details. Each car has its own moments and marks that make it unique and tie it to the story that trails behind through the years, and these little aspects are what draw me in every time. While walking through the rows of Pebble Beach’s Councours d’Elegance, the Abarth Simca 2000 GT was the first to catch my eye. With its sloping windshield and extended nose leading the bulky shoulders of a rear-engined vehicle, the car’s silhouette stood out from the rest. The set of staunch arches housed set of Campagnolo wheels, hinting at the Italians’ involvement in the race preparation. The low slung, aluminium body could hardly contain the 1946.27 cc 4-cylinder that peaked out from under the rear decklid and hung down beneath the bumper cover. A set of Webers jutted out from the side of the head, breathing air in and spitting it out through the brazen, ceramic coated exhaust that mimicked the scorpion stinger emblazoned on Carlo Abarth’s masterpieces.
Abarth, the Italian tuning house, had dominated the small displacement classes of the 1960s. So, when Simca aimed at adding a performance image to the lowly brand perception of their economy cars, they turned to Carlo to apply his engine and aerodynamic work to convert their commuter into a champion. With their stout engines and weights that hovered around 1,500 pounds, the resulting Abarth-Simca cars quickly rose to the top, winning the 1962 World Manufacturers’ Championship with the 1300 GT and continuing to dominate hill climbs with the 2000 GT in the years to follow. Les Burd lovingly spent 7 years restoring chassis number 136 0117, one of only around 10 Longnose Coupes that rolled out of the Turin factory, and the result was truly stunning. The purpose of the car shines through in nearly ever element, exuding a nimble and strong demeanor that I continued to explore. To this day, it remains as one of the most memorable vehicles on my trip to the 2014 Concours d’Elegance, so as I pack for my return to Monterey, I take a look back at the little Abarth Simca 2000 GT that managed to leave such an impression.