The truth of Carrera Abarth │ elucidating the true body manufacturer and the number of manufactures ①

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Carrera Abarth 356 B Carrera GTL was active in sports car racing in the early 1960s. The body was said to have been manufactured by Zagato, but in fact it was not. The car historian Carl Ludwigsen challenged to elucidate the true body manufacturer and the number of manufactures in the revision of the great Porsche book “Excellence Was Expected”.

In 1960, when the Baltic body Carrera was born, I was the editor-in-chief of Car and Driver magazine at Park Avenue 1-chome, New York. A short article and photo about Porsche's new model came from British friend and colleague Edward Evez. We posted his information that the body was manufactured by Zagato in Milan based on Abarth's design. I wrote the same when I wrote the history of Porsche. But this was a nuisance.
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As researchers investigated the rare Carrera GTL, the information that Zagato built the body became more and more suspicious. Above all, the Zagato denied the relationship with the project. Several other Carrozzeria names began to emerge. It was clear that the revision of "Excellence Was Expected" requires a re-investigation.


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Let's look back at the background. Porsche improved the Carrera for the 1960 season not because it needed to improve performance in the 1600cc GT class. The opposing horse MGA Twincam was not a threat. However, in the 1300cc GT class, one below, Lotus Elite and Alfa Romeo Giulietta were able to overcome the challenge, and both were approaching Carrera's lap time. So Porsche overcame the lower class and embarked on strengthening Carrera before shame.
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In the FIA ​​GT class, the use of a different body was permitted as long as it was not less than the vehicle weight at the time of homologation acquisition. Carrera was originally light at 1712 pounds [775 kg], so it is easy to meet the conditions. In the summer of 1959, Porsche consulted two companies to manufacture 20 lightweight bodies to be mounted on the 356B chassis. Neighboring Wendler who built Spider's body and Zagato, the first suspect.
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As is often the case in Italy, rumors about the new project spread quickly, and by the end of 1959, past and present friends had contacted Porsche for body-building work. One of them is Torino's Carl, Carlo Carlo, Abarth. In 1958 and 1959, Abarth, together with his assistant Renzo Avidano, developed and sold a rear-engine sports racing car based on a small displacement Fiat. It was Zagato that produced the body.
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According to a study by Dark Michael Conrad, Abarth went to Frankfurt to attend the motor show in September 1959 and met with Porsche leaders at the Frankfurterhof Hotel on the 18th. Attending were Ferry Porsche, Sales Manager Walter Schmidt, and Technical Director Klaus von Lucer.

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The condition was to hesitate as lightly as possible. The amount Abarth presented as the body manufacturing fee for 20 Carrera was 1 million lira per unit, including wooden mold production, and 800,000 lira per unit when the number of production increased. Porsche immediately sent the drafts of the chassis to Abarth, and decided to prepare the actual chassis [no engine available] by October 1 and send it to Turin.
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The cautious ferry agreed, but in general, asked Abarth to produce one body as a sample. October 21 was proposed as a deadline to convey the outline of the body design from Abarth to Porsche. Based on that information, the sales department led by Schmid decided the sales target and price.
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Porsche served as the project liaison coordinator with the experienced engineer Franz Xaver Limeschepers. Limespeace packed details of Abarth and the project in Torino on October 6 and 7 and also communicated the requirements, such as the location of the oil tank and the breathability of the engine bay. Limeshpeis, who stayed in Turin from the 5th to the 9th, was also the designer and Carrozzeria's Nuccio Bertone and Carlo Dugio [the son of Chicitalia's founder Piero Dugio. Visited the company that designed the racing car. Porsche would have considered other options than Abarth.
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At first there was a proposal that Porsche was involved in the body design, but this was postponed. This is because Carlo Abarth hired the renowned Franco Scarione when considering the design. Scarione was a sports car body stylist and engineer, and its design was particularly aerodynamic. Limeshpeace confirmed Scarione's first proposal during his visit to Turin and reported that "Abarth will have Zagart build the body and, of course, will closely monitor the work." Abarth also reported that he would continue to manufacture and sell his own products after the requested number was completed.


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Scarione and Abarth successfully achieved an important goal set by Porsche. Carrera's front projection area has been greatly reduced. The vehicle height is 1,200 mm, which is 132 mm lower and the vehicle width is 1,550 mm, which is 120 mm narrower.

Scarione's design was also successful in reducing drugs. The air resistance coefficient [Cd] was 0.376 with the engine cooling flap closed and 0.398 smaller than the standard 356B body when opened. This number may have been measured with an acrylic cover on the headlight as designed by Scarione. When measured in a new wind tunnel in Porsche in 1988, the Cd value was 0.414. At this time, the headlight cover was not attached, and the type in which the horn jumped out to the nose was used.
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If not significant, the weight was also significantly reduced. The body is all made of aluminum. So despite the chassis being reinforced to increase overall strength, the first car weighed 1760 pounds [800 kg], about 100 pounds [45 kg] lighter than the Reuters GT. At the same time, it was 50 pounds [22.6 kg] heavier than the minimum weight of homologation, and was safe within the rules.



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