Historically-informed one-off custom cars are a bit of a thing recently. Ferrari’s Omologato 812 Superfast from last year, the absolutely bonkers ’80s-tastic Aston Martin Victor, the Atlantic-inspired Bugatti La Voiture Noire, and so on. Add Alfa Romeo to the list with their Abarth 1000 SP, a tribute to the 1966 original with the same name. But while those sports cars were customer orders, this creation is the work of Centro Stile Fiat & Abarth, looking to do something special on the 55th anniversary of the original.
The original 1000 SP was a small sports prototype racer, wearing the sort of elegantly simple lines that the period was known for. Built for FIA Group 4 competition, its 1.0-liter engine made about 103 horsepower—enough to see some success in international racing. That successful competition history, the car’s tidy proportions, and its distinctive details—the oval hood louvers, the large nose scoop, the tiny tacked-on lights—seemed ripe for reinterpretation.
Whether the modern Alfa Romeo 4C is the right canvas for that reinvention is going to be in the eye of the observer. We’re not sure its high belt line and short overhangs give the bodywork enough runway to provide the low, lean look of the original. And while the tiny quad headlights are a reasonable reinterpretation of the original, they look a little zenomorph-like as implemented. The hood treatment is intriguing, as are the twin taillights—in fact, we’ll go so far as to say the rear is a distinct improvement from the saggy, bug-like regular 4C.
To our eyes, it’s a mixed bag, but an interesting one nonetheless. Remember, the underlying Alfa Romeo 4C is an Experience with a capital E. It’s a three-quarters-scale supercar, with a carbon fiber chassis and phenomenal dynamics. Whatever else it is, it isn’t boring. And the same goes with the 1000 SP—attractive or not, it isn’t a snooze.
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