Fiat Abarth 2000 Scorpione (2)

Aesthetic trends in fashion, interior design, architecture and more can often be traced easily to a particular decade – and the automotive world is no different. One of the best examples of this was the 1970s and the striking ‘wedge’ trend. This angular new design ethos excited styling teams, and manufacturers around the world produced their own futuristic concept cars, which appeared to literally spearhead the shift from the more natural rounded forms of the 1960s into a new ‘cutting-edge’ era.

There are many memorable and poster-worthy examples from the period, including the likes of the Ferrari Modulo, the Lancia Stratos HF Zero, the VW-Porshce Tapiro, and the recently resurrected Aston Martin Bulldog. However, the subject of this week’s Wednesday One-Off is a lesser-known but no less striking model from the very early days of the wedge era: the 1969 Fiat Abarth 2000 Scorpione.

This concept started life with a chassis inherited from the Abarth 2000 Sport Spider SE, and was subsequently clothed in stark and purposeful bodywork by Pininfarina. The finished design really did look as if it was cutting through the air, with a low and highly aerodynamic silhouette, which would become synonymous with the automotive fashion of the next decade.

The bonnet and front of the car were pushed as low to the ground as possible, with the sharp angles wonderfully juxtaposed by two elongated teardrop vents on either end of the nose cone, each enclosing a single circular fog light. In contrast, six headlights were set into a rectangular pop-up headlight bar, allowing the 2000 Scorpione to retain its air-slashing aerodynamics while not compromising on night-time visibility.

Travelling back along the body, the eye is drawn to the 2000 Scorpione’s party piece: its pillarless ‘180-degree’ cockpit, which hinged forward allowing for both relative ease of access and a wide uninterrupted view from the cabin. This large expanse of glass was contained within a wonderfully sculpted recess in the bodywork. Starting from the centre line of the front wings, the bodywork flowed out and around the lower edge of the cockpit, before meeting the aggressive C-pillar-come-central roof bar. This section of the bodywork was raked to form two large air ducts either side of the cabin, as well as creating an illusion of a solid roof bar encapsulating the cockpit.

At the rear, enthusiasts might have expected to find a powerful high-capacity engine, but instead it featured a relatively small 2.0-litre Abarth-tuned four-cylinder engine. With its large and distinctive exhaust pipe trailing some way behind the body, it was reported to develop around 220hp. Given the low dry weight of the 2000 Scorpione - just 670kg - the plucky engine gave the car an impressive power-to-weight-ratio, and Abarth claimed that the concept could achieve a top speed of 175mph.

The Fiat Abarth 2000 Scorpione was a functional piece of concept art, and is currently understood to be owned by Japanese architect Shiro Kosaka, who was able to buy the car – though only after agreeing to open a museum to display it. True to his word, Kosaka opened the Gallery Abarth in Japan in 1992, which the 2000 Scorpione has called home ever since.

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