FAST CLUB | ABARTH BIPOSTO RECORD



Until now, Tim Dunlop got his kicks from kit cars, but now a different kind of two-seater has taken over.


Images by @tim_dunlopix


30 kilos might not seem like a lot but in old money its 66lbs, that’s nearly 5 stone. Why is that significant? well it’s the amount of weight Carlo Abarth at the age of 57 had to lose, in order to break the world acceleration record in his Fiat Abarth “1000 monoposto record. How did he do it? well on a diet of mainly apples, and not content with that record, he broke another record the following day also for acceleration, this time in a Class E Single seater.


I still have 10 years to go before I am the same age as Carlo was when he broke the records, but I cannot see me a) eating a diet of just apples, and b) losing 5 stone as I like chocolate too much. However in honour of the great man I do have a quite special Abarth in my garage.



The 695 Biposto Record edition became my weekend toy during lockdown and was bought to replace a Lotus 7 style kit car called a GBS Zero that I had owned for 2 + 2 years. Why 2 + 2 ? well for the first 2 years it was in bits as I collected it as a kit and took my time putting it together with the following 2 years being spent enjoying it. Towards the end of my ownership I found myself using the car less and less as it was certainly the epitome of stripped out. No roof, no windscreen and no frills, however it was amazing fun.


I had actually seen the Abarth come up for sale in mid 2020, at that time I was still really enjoying the GBS so didn’t really pay too much attention to it but as the dealer didn’t sell it over the following months it would crop up from time to time on social media due to me following the dealer’s page. I had always thought it would be a great car to own ever since I parked next to one in the car park at Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2018 and promised myself one day I would have a closer look at one.


Lockdown saw me fall out of love with the GBS. I was not using it and when I did the British weather usually dampened my enthusiasm (sometimes literally) and believe me once you have built a car yourself from a kit, driving it is a whole different experience. Every little noise worries you and you are almost waiting for the next bit to come loose or fall off. It’s a bit like a clown car at the circus and on one journey the steering wheel did almost come off in my hand.



So the GBS went up for sale and actually sold quite quickly and for a price I was happy with, and so the search began for the next car for the money to be put into. Saving the money was never an option as I know I would eat into it, so it needed investing in a car.


Being a huge petrol head and having the cash in the bank is a dangerous mix, every browse on Autotrader bought up more options, every search on eBay more still. However I kept coming back to the little Abarth that now had been for sale for 7 months. What was wrong with it? why hadn’t it sold? Was it really a good buy ?

Some internet searching saw me track down the previous owner. This was quite easy, Abarth only produced 133 of these cars for the world (one for each of the world records Carlo Abarth held) and the dealer confirmed the car I was looking at was number 42. Around 30 cars came to the UK so finding out background on them doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes. The previous owner confirmed it was a straight car and also shared that it had a few goodies the dealer had not disclosed (Blue Spark tuning box, and high-end alarm – always handy on an Abarth). The car had covered a little over 10,000 miles and had 4 previous owners. The original owner had been Abarth themselves with the car being used as a press / motorshow car for much of its life with the subsequent owners only covering minimal mileage. All seemed to stack up.



Covid restrictions meant viewing the car was not easy so a deposit was paid and an AA inspection was ordered. The report confirming the car to be overall in good condition with a note that the bonnet had been painted at some point and that the car needed a new battery. I was happy with the deal (given the car had in its 7 months of not being sold dropped significantly in price) and with the dealer promising to rectify the battery issue a collection date was arranged.


Collection day came about and an anxious journey on the train over to North Wales and a walk from the station to the dealer was made all the worthwhile when I arrived to be greeted by the car in the showroom.


It was stunning, the colour (Giallo Ginestre as used by Lancia on the Delta Integrale) looked superb under the fluorescent lights. Its unique to the Record edition with the other two Biposto variants being the original release in Matt Grey and the very limited Rosso Officine in Red. The carbon fibre front splitter, rear diffuser and side skirts had a lovely gloss finish. The cars stance on the Xtreme suspension (also unique to the Biposto) and 18” OZ wheels was perfect and the Akrapovic exhaust I knew before I even started the car would be amazing. The commemorative badging on the rear wings and tailgate marking this Abarth out as something quite special and opening the doors saw the excitement continue.

Biposto translates from Italian to English as two-seater (a further nod to Carlo’s record achievements). The lack of rear seats is one of the first things you notice when you open the car door. That’s before you see the carbon fibre door cards, carbon fibre dashboard, aluminium floor mats, carbon backed Sabelt seats, and Titanium rear brace/cage.



Starting the car for the first time and the exhaust is loud, probably not helped by the fact the car was in the dealer’s showroom. The sound resonating of the brick walls and metal roof was infectious, this car needs to be driven. After some manoeuvring out of the showroom it was my first chance to see the car in the bright Welsh sunlight, it was impressive inside, but outside, wow! it really pops. The Biposto was originally released in Matt Grey but somehow the yellow of the record special edition works in my opinion so much better. If the grey is stealth, then this car screams look at me.


Having given the car a good luck over and checked the service history etc I was happy with the car. Once the money was successfully transferred, the paperwork was signed, and it was time to head home.


How does it drive, well that’s for future updates? What I can share is as good as the Biposto is it has one of the most pointless features of any car I have owned. What is it? well it has a button marked ‘Sport’ apparently if you press it (which most Abarth owners only ever do once) it takes the car out of sport mode making the exhaust quieter, lowering the torque, altering the steering calibration, and making the engine response to the accelerator pedal slower. Personally, I would rather have had a banking plate than a button I have pressed once (well I had to) and will never be pressing again.


Tim Dunlop


ABARTH BIPOSTO RECORD

Date acquired - 2/3/21

Total mileage - 14,681

Recent mileage - 764

MPG - 41.2

Expenditure - £0