Poor Man’s Ferrari: 1961 Fiat 2300S

1961-fiat-2300s

It may not look like much in the photo, but this is a very special Fiat. With a powerful inline-six and luxurious seating for four, this Italian was built for high-speed jaunts through the Alps. You may not recognize it though because few were built and even fewer made it to North America. This 1961 Fiat 2300S has a body by Ghia, luxury accommodations inside, and Abarth bits under the hood, so we thought a few of you might be interested. Find it here on craigslist in L’Orignal, Ontario, Canada for $5,500. Thanks Richard B for the tip!

abarth-sump

This was a shocker! Look closely at the oil sump and you can make out six grease smeared letters. Read them, A-B-A-R-T-H. That’s right, the legendary tuning house that became famous for their potent little Fiat race cars! This piqued our interest because anything with an Abarth engine under the hood is something special. We were not able to dig up much information online, but it seems that the “S” model cars came with a high-performance engine (150hp) equipped with dual carbs and obviously some Abarth parts. We were not able to determine if the engine was actually built in the Abarth garage or not, so maybe someone here can fill us in on the pedigree of this powerplant?

1961-fiat-2300s-rear

Unfortunately, the seller does not include many photos or much information in their listing. From what we can see though, this is going to be a big project! The floors are rusted through and the rear window is busted out. The fact that it is a rare inline-six powered Fiat isn’t going to make parts sourcing easy either. Values for restored cars are not astronomical, so you will either have to watch your costs or take this one on as a labor of love. Still, the thought of driving an elegant Italian GT capable of hitting 120 mph is alluring…

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Comments

  1. C Bryant

    To me it’s a little “butt ugly” but with a good restoration,Ferrari red paint,real fine wire wheels,at twenty five feet you would have a lot of lookers come over to see what they’ve been eyeballin’.A little different type of “shock and awe”.Good for some “poop and giggles”.

  2. Mark E

    I’d much rather have a Fiat Dino but then instead of a ‘poor man’s Ferrari’ you’d be buying a ‘rich man’s Fiat’!! ;D

  3. paul

    I think I may have seen maybe one of these over the years at one of those all Italian shows that I have been to, didn’t look close enough to realize old Carlo had a hand in these, wish he had more pics……. Looks like a lot of that fine Italian rust that I am all too familier with.

  4. Richie Member

    Looks like that A-barth should have gotten some Z-bart!

    • Joe Howell

      lol :)

  5. Dolphin Member

    This is a very sad ad. The Fiat 2300S was the top luxury / performance Fiat back in the early ’60s, but this one looks to be in real tough shape, with lots of rust including some, or maybe a lot of rust perforation. No surprise there, since cars used anywhere in or near Montreal in the winter will suffer bigtime from the hundreds of tons of salt they dump on their streets every winter.

    The Ghia body is not your typical looking Italian sportscar kind of body of the time, but it has an elegant look in the style that Ghia was famous for back then. The interior would have been very elegant and luxurious by anyone’s standard.

    Maybe this one is worth trying to save but you can’t really tell from the poor photos. But the mechanicals and trim alone will be worth more than the asking. If the seller could manage to get a decent ad to anywhere where Italian car people will see it, it will sell despite the poor condition.

  6. Tom S.

    Once again, Craigslist is like a bad photo contest. Seller’s photos don’t really show the full form of the auto. Here’s a link to a photo of what this model actually looks like.

    http://www.cartype.com/pics/6951/full/fiat_2300-s_coupe_61-62_2.jpeg

    • Brian

      I’m sure rhat the seller “designed” the picture to give as little details as possible. I’m willing to bet that that the more detail you can see of the car’s condition, the less likely you are to pursue purchasing it.

    • paul

      Now that I see the front I have not seen one like this, but for some reason Gia & Italian cars never worked for me . we had a guy in the Alfa national who had a one off very mint 100pt Gia bodied Alfa & while the interior looked quite fine the outside resembled an English Ford, I don’t know it didn’t do anything for me.

    • Joe Howell

      Hip line on body and rear quarter panel are very Corvair like. I like Corvairs but despite the similarities I don’t care for this car. C pillar/rear light area looks like an after thought or committee designed.

  7. DT

    Did they sell these in Germany? Dont remember ever seeing one of these,rare,would be a rough restoration. .But well worth doing. The rear end treatment reminds me of the BMW 2000 cs.the rear wheels look like IRS,but thats not likely.

    • Dolphin Member

      I believe the ‘Deutsche FIAT’ on the VIN plate indicates that this car was originally sold in Germany.

  8. Robert J

    What an interesting find!

  9. brian

    Looks to me to be a very interesting rebuild. haven’t seen one like it in many years. wish i could take it on myself. but too many intersting projects in the garage at the moment.

  10. skloon

    Montreal’s roads are pure salt in winter so this could be an electrolytic mess

    • DT

      I imagine this has alloy panels,so you got 4 or 5 different metals,you have a body made of steel,doors and deck lids made of aluminium alloy,soldered together with tin& lead
      ,with lead body filler,mixed with a salt solution

  11. Julian

    I seem to have seen this advert. somewhere else about 6 months ago.

    I had one in 1970 that I bought from an Aston Martin dealer who took it in part ex.
    Mine was a Normale with only 1 carb. but drove very well with good aerodynamics.
    The Abarth was slightly faster but with harsher suspension. All of the coupes had a big chrome alarm bell under the dash which was activated by low oil pressure or by excessive revs with the choke out. This could be quite frightening!
    For the definitive film of the car go to Youtube “the fiat 2300s suspended in time” beautifully filmed and belonging to Pierantonio Micciarelli.

  12. julian

    DT: Unless it is a very early one, it will be all steel. Ghia actually hand built some early ones in ally with a different vertical body rib, but i can’t tell you how many or the exact difference.
    If its an Abarth it will be all steel.

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