John et all...
Regarding some of the possible facts that john has presented:
101 /102 could have shared many of the characteristics of the aerodynamic racing cars, but the curved door lines give them away as distinct from 103 which had a non-kinked door lines. 103 had some chrome pieces both at the 1951 Turin show and presently that are not shared with the other 2. Which car 101/102? was at a specific race is beyond my capability to ascertain but:
Its unlikely that any 204 had a coupe body and we know beyond 103/104 the bodies were somewhat different (in the case of 104 very different), AND we know that we are working with a finite number of 205 chassis, thus we are still working with few possible permutations. While i understand the confusion, its fairly certain that 101 raced in the races mentioned (1950/1951), while 102 can be also reasonably assumed to have lived similar early life! To confuse maters more, the back of one car (non - streamlined) in a period MM picture appears very different then 101 or 103. Thus, one can assume its 102, but given the shape of the body today and its lack of originality, its a conjecture rather positive proof that we will have to live with...
101 has a fairly complete history, 102 is a bit of an unknown, particularly confusing given the "virtually" new body on it.
103 (the car im currently restoring) has a very well documented history, that so far has seen debut it in the 1951 Turin show (as a more luxury version of the line) with some chrome pieces, and a fully trimmed interior AND bumpers!!. The car then underwent some subtle modifications as it went on the show circuit in Italy (culminating in the 1952 Villa d"este concourse), then circa 1955/56 was exported to the USA (I have a picture of the cars on the docks - red/black colors!). It changed hands once in 1972 then stayed with the same owner for over 35 years. When we got the car it had original the (still does) interior, tires, engine (Cisitalia 204 stamping) etc, on it. It even carried the old but proper 2 tone paint. It would have been great to try and preserve the car, but sadly the condition was on the other side of salvageable.
A point of interest - but im not sure it has much significance - is that when we went ahead and striped the old original paint, we discovered a layer of silver paint underneath the red/black. Now we know both 101/102 raced in silver, and that silver was Abarth's racing color in the 204/205 series... Anyhow, its just another confusing fact.
One can distinguish my car form the other two in most pictures by two specific traits: the doors are straight cut rather then kinked on 101/102, there is an additional trim piece on 103 on the B pillar, the two other cars don't have these features.
If i have more ill revert, but my logic would say that, while 205 101/102 were reasonably successful race cars, by the time Vignale started working on chassis 103, Abarth was moving on from racing (for that period - and wont return for at least 4 years) and thus 103 was build more like a road sports version. 104, probably was constructed later from the chassis that was left post 103 going on the show circuit, no proof exists that it had a 1951 body! It is certainly not uncommon or unreasonable for Abarth to stop spending big bucks on Vignale bodywork, and to shelf the chassis, until the car was unveiled as the Abarth 203 car. We know for a fact that 1951/1952 were financially challenging years for Abarth & co.
While i have heard about the 205 "spider" no picture of it ever surfaced, so it could still be "folk tale".
Going back to the picture at the start of the MM, can someone with photoshop synthetically decompose the colors, im very eager to find out if the car we are looking at is two tone...
Last edited by 207A10; 04-25-2009 at 06:27 PM.