One of One: 1955 Abarth 208A Spyder by Boano

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Singular cars are so desirable today that we cannot imagine why some didn’t sell thousands of copies. So it is with this little jewel, one of Abarth’s creations made in partnership with Felice Mario Boano. Designed by Giovanni Michelotti and constructed by Boano, the 208A was conceived as a road-going version of its racer sibling, the 207A. Its wraparound windshield and pop-up headlamps set it apart from the race car, but all the cars shared stile transatlantico – the intersection of Italian style and post-war Hollywood exuberance. While ten of the 207s were made, the sales prospects for a road car were never robust. The single 208 was sold to two DuPont brothers and from there it meandered among friends for several decades until it was sold to a collector. The car was repainted in preparation for its sale but otherwise remains in maintained original condition. Mitchell G found this magnificent tip for us – thanks, Mitchell!

Abarth’s raison d’être is sitting in this engine bay: maestro of small-engine performance, Abarth made the most of every cc. Generally utilizing the ubiquitous, malleable, occasionally beautiful Fiat 1100, Abarth extracted suspension and chassis parts as well as the OHV four-cylinder and a four-speed manual gearbox. The engine was treated to a tuning kit – largely consisting of twin Weber carburetors and a special exhaust manifold. Output rose from a run-of-the-mill 40 hp to 66 hp. Unfortunately, maximizing horsepower can impair reliability, and the 207 was no exception, suffering ill fate on the track. We can imagine the 208 -sharing its mechanicals with the race car – did not behave much better. All the same, this charmer was put back to running condition when the paint job was completed.

The interior is on the cusp of requiring more attention than it has received. The very Italianate palette is fine with me, and so is the threadbare carpet and worn shift boot – but something must be done about those seats. Separations in the leather bode ill for future durability. That tiny rear-view mirror is likely convex; the gauge set is lovely, with creamy white centers and a splash of red lettering. A spare resides in the trunk, protected with a quilted cover.

While the car viewed in isolation could be almost any size, its dimensions are tiny. Here are two guys in a 207. No room for golf clubs! Still, if you’re small, rich, and love Abarths, this 208A is listed here at RM Sotheby’s, with an asking price of €795,000. The lucky buyer will pick up the car in Milan, Italy, and mind your paperwork – the current registration is Greek. Can you imagine powering around your local country roads in this Italian gem? Or perhaps casually tossing the keys to the local club valet?

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Comments

  1. Steve R

    Pretty car.

    The two tone paint scheme looks a bit of a cross between a very early Corvette and a late-50’s Pontiac.

    Steve R

    Like 8
    • Mary Zeitner

      Reminds me of my mom’s ’56 BelAir. My favorite of my childhood’s cars–the turquoise and white. But the Chevy had more silver trim.

      Like 0
    • Rick

      I was thinking of a 1955 or 1956 Pontiac. There are similarities between them and this particular car.

      Like 0
      • Steve R

        You are right, after I posted I realized I meant mid-50’s, but it was too late to do anything about it by then.

        Steve R

        Like 0
  2. bill tebbutt

    Rear fender tops sort of remind me of an Elva Courier. Really a neat car!

    bt

    Like 1
  3. Frank Sumatra

    “the intersection of Italian style and post-war Hollywood exuberance.”

    Looks as if there was a crash at the intersection. The result of getting the Italian style to Hollywood exuberance ratio backwards. 80% style to 20% exuberance may have ended better.

    Like 0
  4. PairsNPaint

    “Here are two guys in a 207”. I believe the driver is Dennis Gage of “My Classic Car” fame.

    Like 3
  5. ScottMember

    Unfortunately at 6’3″ & 220#, I’d look like I was driving a clown car. That said, it’s a beautiful car.

    Like 3
  6. John P

    I would never throw the keys to this car to a valet.

    Like 1
  7. 370zpp 370zppMember

    There’s three of these on Craigslist.
    Not.

    Like 0
  8. Frank Sumatra

    $860,000 USD. That sounds eye-watering.

    Like 0
  9. robbert

    Designed by the ‘Tea Lady’ whilst the design team were out at lunch!

    Like 0

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