Tag Archives: Sagan

Double Bubble – FIAT Abarth 750 GT Zagato Coupé

Continuing the series of posts relating to Race 1 at Thompson CT on the 20th July 1958 captured on camera by Ed Arnaudin, today we are looking at the fascinating FIAT Abarth 750 Zagato driven by Paul Sagan to 6th place overall the only class H finisher.

After the 22 hp FIAT 600 was launched in 1955 Carlo Abarth set about maximising the potential of tuning the engine by increasing the size from 633 / 38.6 cui to 747 / 45.6 cui fitting a Nardi inlet manifold and increasing the compression ratio to produce 47 hp.

Meanwhile while Zagato set about building a Coupé based on the same car the 30 hp 600 TS, when Abarth saw the coupe he suggested to Zagato they work together to produce a vehicle for racing in the popular 750 cc 45.6 cui sports car class prevalent in national and international racing at the time.

Over 600 of these successful racing vehicles which won the SCCA class H in ’59 ’60 and ’61, are thought to have been built between 1956 and 1960 when the maximum permitted engine sizes for the various national racing classes were changed. The ‘double bubble’ name which is derived from the two humps in the roof stuck in America where a chewing gum brand bearing the same name was popular.

Paul Sagan is known to have been successful driving Porsche 550’s in 1956 and 1957 before he moved over to running the #27 FIAT Abarth 750 during and after which his record is sketchy though he seems to have returned to racing Porsches by 1961.

My thanks to Terry O’Neil for the race results and Steve Arnaudin for his Dad Ed’s pictures, wishing Ed all the best on his return home from hospital.

Hope you have enjoyed today’s double bubble edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres and that you’ll join me again tomorrow for a look at the cool 2nd place Lotus IX of Race 1 at Thompson CT on the 20 July 1958. Don’t forget to come back know !