Motostalgia Auctions to offer Cisitalia-Abarth 204A that was driven by Tazio Nuvolari in period.
‘Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end,’ observed Seneca the Younger (allegedly). The words of the Roman philosopher came to mind as we studied this Cisitalia-Abarth 204A, one of the very last cars produced by Cisitalia before the Turin-based manufacturer collapsed – but the first car registered by the Abarth company.
Chassis 04/08 pretty much closed the book on the Tazio Nuvolari story, too, not to mention that of the collaboration between Ferdinand Porsche and Carlo Abarth. It was produced by those two giants of automotive engineering while they were employed by Cisitalia boss Piero Dusio, who in the mid-1950s invested bravely but unwisely in a Formula 1 car, the 360 Grand Prix.
The project bankrupted his company, and Carlo Abarth’s severance package included factory machinery and three 204As – chassis 04/08 among them. Constructed in 1948, it was reworked in 1950 by Carlo to the specifications of Tazio Nuvolari, who drove it in the final meeting of an extraordinary career, winning his class at the 1950 Palermo-Monte Pellegrino hillclimb. Just three years later he was dead at the age of 60, having raced until he could physically race no more.
His Cisitalia was a mechanically interesting machine, powered by a tuned 1089cc Fiat engine but showing Porsche’s influence.
The front suspension was a Beetle-like design with paired trailing links and transverse torsion bars. The 204A was lighter than its predecessor, and although the frame-hugging bodywork with separate wings looked to be a backwards step after the full-width 202, it gave lightness and reduced frontal area.
The car, certified by Abarth, survives in wonderfully original condition, and made a vast $4.62 million when it was last offered in 2014. Its valuable molecules are sure to be in high demand again in March.