FCA will be taking part in the 2018 edition of the Ennstal Classic, to be staged in the Styria region from 18 to 21 July. It is the 26th edition of an event founded in 1993 with just 35 cars, which has grown over time to become a major date in the calendar for international classic car enthusiasts. This year, there will be no fewer than 238 competitors taking part.
The distinctive feature of the event, held on the Styria’s loveliest Alpine roads, is that all types of electronic instruments are absolutely banned from the competition: only mechanical tripmasters and stopwatches are allowed, consistently with the age of the cars.
Two cars from the Fiat Heritage collection will be taking part in the race: Fiat 124 Sport Spider (1970) and Alfa Romeo 1600 Spider “Duetto” (1966). The first car, driven by actor Rudi Roubinek, was restored at the Officine Classiche in Turin, where FCA Heritage’s restoration and certification services are provided, and was exhibited at the Geneva International Motor Show in 2016. Also in the starting line-up will be the “Duetto”, a legendary model which this year celebrates the 50th anniversary of the award of the Oscar to the film “The Graduate”, which won this car its cinema icon status. To celebrate this major anniversary, the Alfa Romeo Spider will be driven in the race by an illustrious couple from the world of film: Austrian actors Gregor Bloeb and Nina Proll.
During the event, sponsored by the Alfa Romeo and Abarth, a special stand in the grounds of the Fachschule Gröbming will enable visitors to admire the latest novelties from the range – the Abarth 124 spider, Abarth 695 Rivale and Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio and Stelvio Quadrifoglio models will be on show – and the wonderful 2400 Allemano once owned by the legendary Karl Abarth, who was born in Austria 110 years ago. This rare car will then be driven by his widow Anneliese, President of the Karl Abarth Foundation, in the “Grand Prix Gröbming” parade through the streets of the town on Saturday 21 July.
Alfa Romeo 1600 Spider “Duetto” (1966)
The 1600 Spider “Duetto” first appeared in 1966 and surprised everyone with its unusual, unconventional design by Pininfarina, quite different from other versions of the Giulia range due to its low nose and tapered “cuttlefish bone” tail, almost the opposite of the sedan’s trademark cut-off rear. Its mechanics were derived from the Giulia Sprint GT, with power boosted to 109 HP at 6000 rpm and wheelbase shortened to 225 cm: its performance and driving pleasure were firmly at the top of its class, with a maximum speed of 182 km/h, rear-wheel drive and independent-wheel suspensions. The Duetto’s rise to international fame was assisted by its unforgettable appearance in the film “The Graduate”, in which it was driven by Dustin Hoffman. It was produced in four series and various versions up until 1994: a very long career.
Fiat 124 Sport Spider (1970)
The Fiat 124 Sport Spider was presented at the Turin International Motor Show in November 1966, and it was launched on the US market two years later. With rear-wheel drive, the car was fitted with a five-speed manual gearbox, a twin camshaft engine, disc brakes on all four wheels and intermittent windscreen wipers.
The 124 Spider, the “open-top” evolution of Fat’s 1960s medium-range saloon car, was extremely successful for a considerable period of time, on both the Italian and the export markets. In fact this model, produced for 19 consecutive years, outlived almost all other sports cars of its time. In the United States alone, over 170,000 Spiders were sold between 1968 and 1985.
The design of the 124 Spider – created by Pininfarina, Fiat’s historic partner in the creation of special versions – proved so popular that the vehicle actually underwent only a few minor stylistic updates during its twenty-year production lifetime, and it is still considered one of the major commercial successes of the Turin-based bodyshop.
The model entered for the Austrian competition still proudly displays its original black registration plates and is from the second series, introduced in 1969 and featuring an increase in engine displacement – to 1608 cc – and some stylistic changes, including the two “bumps” in the bonnet and the larger rear light clusters.
Abarth 2400 coupé (1964)
This wonderful coupé, designed by Michelotti, was presented at Geneva in 1959. It was a Gran Turismo version of the Fiat 2100, built at the Allemano plant from 1962 to 1964, known first as the 2200 coupé and, in the last year – when it was built on the Fiat 2300 base – as the 2400 coupé. The straight 6 engine of the 2400, generating 140 HP, powered the car to a top speed of 200 km/h. This model belonged to Karl Abarth himself.