Born in Vienna, Karl Abarth was a successful motorcycle racer in his youth. Riding one of his own designs with a sidecar he managed to beat the Orient Express on a 810 mile trip between Vienna and Ostend.
Before moving to Italy in the mid Thirties he became friends with Viennese lawyer Anton Piech whose wife Louise was the daughter of Dr Ferdinand Porsche and married his secretary. He subsequently became an Italian citizen changing his name to Carlo. Following the war, Abarth represented some of Porsches interests in Italy at the same time also developing a company Abarth and C with Armando Scagliarini (with a distinctive scorpion emblem, his star sign) the wealthy father of Cisitalia driver Guido Scagliarini which tuned and developed Cisitalia derived cars before he did similar work with Fiat in the Fifties. At this stage in his career, his preference perhaps due to his association with Porsche was to place the engine way out the back, some times the whole in line four cylinders beyond the rear axle!
During the Sixties, Abarth with the involvement of Vincenzo ‘Enzo’ Osella produced cars with the motor more midships and both these and the overhung engines became well developed and successful in racing and hill climbs.
When Abarth sold out to Fiat in 1971, becoming the latter’s competitions department, the racing team was purchased by Osella. Following his takeover of Abarth’s racing assets, he worked with designer Antonio Tomainito produce the Abarth-Osella SE 021 that won the European 2-Litre Championship in 1972.
This car, chassis number SE021/0020 was constructed for the 1972 season and campaigned by Scuderia Brescia Corse as a works entry in the championship to be driven by Arturo Merzario and Derek Bell when 'Little Art' was otherwise engaged. Chevron had won in 1970 and Lola in ’71. In the first round Merzario, starting from pole had built up a 30 second lead before being forced to retire with a broken suspension mount. He went on to win at Dijon and again at both Silverstone and Enna, scoring a podium at Barcelona with Bell finishing with a win at Jarama. Merzario won the driver’s championship and Abarth-Osella the Manufacturers title by some margin.
Chassis 0020 stayed in Italy for a while with noted collector Luciano Bertolero before begin sold to Norbert McNamara in the States who kept the car for the next twenty years. It was then bought by Colin Pool of Shrivenham, Wilts, who sold 0020 to the previous owner Jeremy Agace in 2005. Agace always had his cars prepared beautifully and entrusted the renowned race preparers and restoration specialists Lanzante to carry out a no-expense spared rebuild. Still presented in excellent condition throughout it would be a magnificent sight for 0020 to return to the track and hill climb. Complete with Abarth classiche document dated 2016 stating the authenticity of this particular chassis. Great history, impeccable restoration and stunning looks!