Author Topic: Replica or Real? Abarth 850TC  (Read 5489 times)

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Offline abarth595

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Replica or Real? Abarth 850TC
« on: November 20, 2007, 02:24:41 PM »
To my fellow Abarth nuts!!

I was recently looking at a 850TC for sale here in the UK.  I am very keen to buy the car as is the seller.  There is one small thing that I need your advice with.  The car is reported as a real 850TC later upgraded by its former American Owner to 1000TC specification.  The seller says that he has a thick file of history on the car but it has gone missing.  I trust the seller as I have dealt with him in the past, but I really want to check if it is an authentic car as the asking price is authentic too!!  The car has chassis number 2101923 and engine number 4075537 stamped on an Abarth chassis / engine number plaque in the engine bay.  Do any of you have a reference book that can be checked?  Is there anything else I can do to check the authenticity? 

There are some funny items that confuse me on the car such as:

- the instruments binnacle seems correct with the rubber strip at the back but is missing the Jaeger rev counter and speedometer but does have the correct 3rd 4 way Jaeger instrument.

- The engine seems to be a Fiat 850 unit with out an Abarth cam cover, although it does have a smaller Abarth water pump.

Maybe I am way out of my league with this one but it has always been my dream to have a 600 based abarth along side the 595 replica I have.

I thank you all very much in advance for your help!!

Best regards,

Arnoud



Offline viotti600

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Re: Replica or Real? Abarth 850TC
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2007, 06:03:47 PM »
 Sounds a bit fishy to me. A "real" Abarth isn't really an Abarth in the sense without the correct engine (which is a good percentage of the value &/or price of the car). It sounds like just another Fiat 850-powered Abarth 850tc clone. Or does the seller have the original engine included but on a shelf in the garage? The ID tag in the engine bay is available as a reproduction, & can easily faked (stamped to match chassis # & engine #). If the stamped engine # on the tag matches that stamped # on the Fiat 850 engine, you've definitely got a fake! LOL.

 Besides what the seller has said, what is it about this car leads you to believe it's a "real" Abarth? The seller says it was "upgraded to 1000TC spec"...this doesn't mean very much if it has a Fiat 850 engine conversion (rather than a 1000TC engine). Unless he's only talking about suspension upgrades?

 About the gauge unit...reproduction fiberglass (or alloy) housings are widely available, a rubber strip on the back doesn't mean squat. Speedo & tach missing, there goes a lot of value. The fuel/water/oil tri-gauge may be real, or may be a reproduction (I think there are a few variations using either Fiat 1200/1400/1500 Cabrio gauge or a similar gauge from another make with a repro "Abarth" dial/face installed).

 Photos of the car may help confirm or deny its' authenticity. There are so many fake 850TC's out there that the buyers' best defense is really KNOWLEDGE of what should & should not be on the car.

-JS.
Jeff Stich
Norco, CA, USA

Offline Pantdino

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Re: Replica or Real? Abarth 850TC
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2007, 06:46:38 AM »
How much is the seller asking for the car? 

I am not an expert on these matters, but it seems to me that without the missing file you have to assume this car is a replica.  If the seller wants a "real Abarth" price for the car he's going to have to invest the time required to find the file.  Proof of ownership, that the car ran certain races on certain dates, etc would possibly make the car worth more.

As proof of the importance of the paperwork, when I was looking for a car Paul van der Heijden found one that everyone who knew it thought was an "original Abarth" 1000TC.. But when he actually called the previous owners, he found that one of them had made the car from a stock Fiat in the 80's.  So it was a replica, no matter how many Abarth parts it had on it.

You may want to post some photos here, as Paul regularly checks this site and can offer an opinion.
Or you could ring Tony Castle-Miller of the MIddle Barton Garage there in the UK and email him some photos. I met him at Tony Berni's this last summer and he seems like a good chap.

Personally I'm not sure I'd pay more for a car that just ran small local club races that few people have heard of, even if it was in the 60's.  It would only mean that the metal was fatigued and more prone to failure in the future. 

The big problem with Abarths is that Karl never kept records of which chassis numbers were sold as Abarths from the factory or which cars won which races.   
So it seems to me that unless someone can prove beyond a doubt that a certain car is original , you have to assume it isn't.

Jim

Offline Alex van de Wetering

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Re: Replica or Real? Abarth 850TC
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2007, 10:07:12 AM »
Arnoud,

Aha, the beige TC. Does the current owner know if the car was based on a 850TC Stradale or a 850TC Corsa? In case the car is built on a Stradale base it would prove harder to find out if the car is an original, but if the car is based on a Corsa, you should be able to find reinforcements under the chassis. Is the chassis number also stamped in the engine bay (side panel, drivers side)?

Alex

Offline abarth595

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Re: Replica or Real? Abarth 850TC
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2007, 12:24:32 PM »
Dear Jim, Alex, JS and all,

    I really appreciate your feedback and indeed you have shown me that I am a little out of my depth on this one.  I have a lot of research to do and need to follow up with even further inspections.  The car was reportedly a 850TC stradale which as you had mentioned makes the challenge even harder (no interesting suspension set up, chassis reinforcements or fancy rear brakes with additional calipers for the hand brake, right?).  The bits that car does have are also very easy to replicate/source.  Unless a history file is present it I guess it would be near impossible to answer the fundamental question.  I am attaching some images.  Unfortunately, due to the fact that the car was in a tight space I was unable to take shots of the engine.  However, I was able to squeeze my arm in to take a shot of the chassis plate, which as Alex had suggested was on the driver's side of the engine bay.     Let me know what your gut feeling is and if there are any bullet proof ways of determining the authenticity from here.  I thank you all again for your feedback and advice, I sincerely appreciate it!!

Best regards,

Arnoud

Offline Vincent

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Re: Replica or Real? Abarth 850TC
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2007, 05:13:10 PM »
Hi Arnoud,

There is a very simple and reliable way to determine if this car is real.
Wil mail you tomorrow, have some mail problems at the moment.

Best regards, Vincent.

Offline zippyfiat

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Re: Replica or Real? Abarth 850TC
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2007, 05:27:51 PM »
Well, I have a few thoughts.  I am by no means an expert, so anyone can feel free to correct me.

 The instruments, and instrument housing are completely wrong.  The housing shape, while the correct style, is not quite the correct shape.  I don't think that any of the TCs had wide fender arches (flares, wings, extensions).  There is a "nurburgring" scipt on the dash.  If this is supposed to be a real 850TC "nurburgring" model, then the car would a '62 or '63 model, and there should be no fender flares at all.  The nurburgring models had a "swallow" on the front hood, and they had badges on the fenders on each side, just ahead of the doors.  The whiskers are wrong for a nurburgring, and there should be a "fiat" script just above the Abarth emblem (over the horn opening).  There should be a side marker light just aft of the headlight on each side, and horizonttal alloy side molding along the fenders and doors, starting just aft of the side marker lights.  I believe that the later 850TCs also had parallelogram wipers.  The rear view mirror is from a later 600, and can't be from circa 1962.  The interior should be dead stock for a 62-ish car, but you can't tell from the photos.

The steering wheel looks correct, and the wheels look to be period correct Campagnolo, except the width might be wrong.  A later 850TC would have a lot of chassis strengthening, as Jim mentioned.  You might find that the rear wheel arches are widened inside the car and strengthened.  You won't find any of this info. in a book, you have to look at a real Abarth to see how it was done.

And one of the most important clues - if this is supposed to be a genuine "nurburgring" model from around 62-63, then the doors should be suicide type, not the later rear opening ones.  A few photos of the rear of the car would help, in particular the engine.  I am pretty sure that all 600 sedan based Abarths have an Abarth number stamped into the left sidewall of the engine compartment.  The early Abarths had the ID plate on the horizontal muffler shroud, not on the vertical firewall..

I echo what J.S. has said.  There are MANY, MANY fakes out there!!  This car just screams  FAKE!  I've yet to see even a good replica, either in photos, or in person.  Because it is so hard to learn what is correct on an Abarth, most people simply don't know how to fake one correctly.  You've got to do your homework.  Buy, borrow or steal every book on Abarths you can find, and look at all the Abarths you can find in person, and educate yourself.  My humble opinon is that is not a genuine Abarth.  BTW, I have never heard of the "Stradale" designation you mention for these cars.  It does not appear in any book I have ever read.

Gil

Offline donaldyk

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Re: Replica or Real? Abarth 850TC
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2007, 08:24:51 PM »
Hello,  I had a truly original 850 TC Nurburgring a couple of years ago.  I have plenty of pictures that I can send oyu if you want.  Regards.  Herve

Offline zippyfiat

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Re: Replica or Real? Abarth 850TC
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2007, 10:39:36 PM »
Hello, Herve, can you please post some photos here??  That would be really nice.  I am trying to build a replica of an early 850TC (nurburgring) and am always looking for new clues on how to do things correctly.

Vincent, is there anything you can share with us as to how to reliably determine authenticity?

Thanks,
Gil

Offline Pantdino

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Re: Replica or Real? Abarth 850TC
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2007, 07:07:01 AM »
Englebert Moell said there were about 2500 1000TCs and about the same number of 850TC Corsas that were made in the factory.
I saw a lot of cars on my last trip that were stamped with ABARTH in the sheet metal on the left side of the engine bay, but it seems to me that doesn't mean much either. It could have been done by anyone at any time.

The "Stradale" name is just what people call the cars that were not Corsa. That name was not used by the factory.

The numbers stamped on the Abarth tag on this particular car seem fishy to me.  It looks like one number was messed up and restamped. Would you let a car leave YOUR factory like that?  If the engine number matches the number on the 850 motor, you know for certain it's fake.

Jim

Offline ChrisD

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Re: Replica or Real? Abarth 850TC
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2007, 07:58:41 AM »
Might be a small detaleor nothing at all, but the color of the nose and front fenders of the car is diferent than the rest of the cars base color. Maybe this is also a clue that the front fenders were cut off and widened by a previus owner that after doing the job didn't manage to mach the color. If it was factoy made it would be the same.
That or an accident that damaged the whole front of the car.....either one is something that you have to think of, I belive
Fiat 600 Abarth

Offline grant gauld

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Re: Replica or Real? Abarth 850TC
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2007, 11:12:11 AM »
What a great subject !!   
  Arnoud,can i suggest that the only real way to confirm the cars authenticy is via its history ?.It is posible to buy 'Factory Abarth' papers genuine and copies,i was offered some genuine papers in Italy a few weeks ago for 2,000 euros.I even know some people have the exact lettering to stamp the engine wall.There are some really good fakes out there,with every correct detail AND papers.Then,you MUST talk to as many previous owners as possible.
 GMR,Berni Motori,Aumueller and TCM all have years of experience,they all can tell a fake if you ask them.

 Having a replica is no loss.But incorrectly paying for one is.

 Typical to Italian car manufacturing in the period,there nearly allways seems to an exception to the rule.When you think you have all the facts,another oddity pops up.
 I know a French buyer bought a nice fake recently.The car had everything correct except......the absolute wrong style of opening doors.Just a small item to overlook ?
 I then have to say,in my opinion there is 'no easy way to identify a genuine TC'.
 Dont less this discourage you though,as the real joy is in the driving.
 Good luck.Grant
 

Offline viotti600

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Re: Replica or Real? Abarth 850TC
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2007, 01:41:10 PM »
Arnoud,
   A few observations from the info & photos you've provided...

 Let's start with the chassis number 2101923 - this corresponds to around a 1966/67 model year of Fiat 600D chassis, so at least we have a starting point for the year/vintage of the car itself. Did the owner state what year the car is? (Earlier or later year?) ASK & compare.

 You've stated that the car supposedly began as an original 850TC Stradale. Yes, the Stradale WAS an actual version, known as Tipo 214D, also called an 850TC Normale. As the title suggests, this was a "street" car and as such it had standard chrome bumpers front & rear & no front-mounted radiator or shroud (usually used the rear radiator & the 750-style auxiliary radiator under the floor of the car just ahead of the transmission). It had standard-position windshield wipers, not the vertical Corsa type. The 850TC Stradale was basically a 750 Berlina with an improved engine, different emblems & a nicer gauge unit. LOL. ;)

 If this car actually was an 850TC Stradale, its' uniqueness & value is now pretty much lost amongst all of the modifications done to the car by its previous owners. I'm not sure when the last 850TC Stradale's were made, as I seem to recall that the 1000's tended to get more focus from Abarth during the late 1960's...

 I'm guessing that the seller's reference to a "1000TC specification upgrade" might explain the "Group 5" type front radiator/shroud & bodykit/flared fenders, as these are period-correct mods for that type of car. An 850TC Stradale would have none of these items. The front fenders & nose panel are likely a different color beige due to poor paint matching after the bodywork was done when flaring the front fenders.

 The front grille & Abarth shield emblem are appropriate for a 750/850TC. The 1000's had a thin-profile type grille (similar to on the Record Monza) and the Abarth shield had a red/white/green horizontally-striped top instead of solid dark blue (this emblem type was generally used on the 1-liter+ cars). A late-model car might use the emblem with the late stylized type of scorpion on it, though (not sure what year that scorpion style debutted). The thin "whiskers" on each side of the grille are the 1000TC type, 850TC's normally used the thick/tapered 750 type whiskers. So you have the grille/emblem from one car type paired with the whiskers from another car type - a mismatch. The Abarth "swallow" chrome hood emblem & trim strip are gone (missing?).

 The tach & speedo gauges are obviously wrong (as you have stated), as is the Fiat 850/124 red warning light shown on the gauge housing at upper/left (should be a 600 style light like those on the dash to the left of the gauge unit). The dashboard "nurburgring" script doesn't belong on this car at all, and the small Abarth shield is usually located to the right of the 850TC logo, not the left. The steering wheel & horn button are correct. The parcel shelf below the dashboard appears to be missing.

 The Abarth ID tag on the firewall looks to be positioned directly where the standard Fiat 600 factory ID tag is often located - rather odd? I'm used to this Abarth tag being located on the sheetmetal covering the muffler, but that might just be applicable to the earlier 750 cars that I tend to focus on.

 Things just don't add up as for the "real" factor... I would definitely take a closer look at the engine & transmission before considering making ANY deal for the car. And have the seller find that history file! ;)

-JS.
Jeff Stich
Norco, CA, USA

Offline viotti600

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Re: Replica or Real? Abarth 850TC
« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2007, 02:28:18 PM »
Well, I have a few thoughts.  I am by no means an expert, so anyone can feel free to correct me. The rear view mirror is from a later 600, and can't be from circa 1962.

 Looks like a standard 600 mirror with the little light on the top, like in the 1100's. Many later cars had a black rectangular mirror like in the Fiat 850 Sedan.

...the wheels look to be period correct Campagnolo, except the width might be wrong.

 These are Bertone Campagnolo wheels, applicable to the Bertone-designed Fiat X1/9 & 850 Spider, also VERY popular on racing Fiat 128's back in the day. Circa early 1970's, a little late to be period-correct on a 600D chassis car, 5.5"-6" widths, but they DO look nice on Corsa'd 600's! :)

And one of the most important clues - if this is supposed to be a genuine "nurburgring" model from around 62-63, then the doors should be suicide type, not the later rear opening ones.

Yep. You could also use the chassis VIN to find the year of the car (which also rules out the "nurburgring" bit).

BTW, I have never heard of the "Stradale" designation you mention for these cars.  It does not appear in any book I have ever read.

 The Stradale was the basic-model 850TC. Look in your Berni Motori parts catalog, in the "Model Type Suffix Table - Single Cam" area. Go down the left side in the "Engine Suffix" column until you get to "214D", then move to the right 2 boxes to the "Model Type" column, where it says "850 TC Normale". That's the Stradale. ;)

-JS.
Jeff Stich
Norco, CA, USA

Offline abarth595

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Re: Replica or Real? Abarth 850TC
« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2007, 03:40:27 PM »
I must say that I am absolutely overwhelmed with the amount help you have all extended me!  I am very encouraged by the fact that I have a pannel of experts behind me on this one.  My mind is still spinning a little from the high of looking at this car, and I am hoping that against all odds that this could be a real car.  However, I think we have reached a resounding agreement that the authenticity of this car is "very questionable".  I have a few remaining questions for you:

Alex- you had mentioned the color of the car before I posted the pictures, do you have any personal experience with the car that could help us?

On the same note, what do you all think of the color.  The reference books all show a flat grey rather than a beige color as one of the standard colors for the Abarth derivatives of the 600.  Is this color perhaps a standard Fiat 600D option?  And if the car had in fact been a 850TC normale would the same rules apply (choose colors from an Abarth chart rather than Fiat)?

Herve- your generous offer to share pictures of the original 850TC would be very much appreciated.  The owner insists that it is a 850TC and the opportunity for us to all do a side by side detailed comparison as JS and Gil had kindly done would excellent.  Bearing in mind that the car was "reportedly" later converted with 1000TC features, the smaller details would need to match. 

ChrisD- your comment on the nose was very observant.  When inspecting the car the seller said the nose had been recently redone to take care of some rot (rust).  They were not able to match the colors well, but it seems to me to add a little to the 'war horse' appeal.  I shouldn't be so naive though; this could be a sign for some front end damage - which could perhaps explain why some of the trim details on the front violate the specification rules that JS again pointed out(?)

Grant- I thank you for shedding your story on the Abarth documentation and Chassis tag fraud!  It is cold comfort for all of us to think that one could go as far as replicating the paper work on a car.  It really leaves us with not much of a leg to stand on, as we have also established that it would be very easy to source the parts that are present on these cars.

My last question for you is does anyone have a good idea of what one should pay for a good replica and what prices a real 850 TC can command.  My ultimate vision is to be on the starting grid of the Coppa Mille/Vernasca Silver Flag and as we can all surely agree it would not matter if the question in the headline ("Real or Replica") were answered, just the driving experience and the entry ticket would do :-)

With many thanks again to you all and best regards,

Arnoud