We would still date this.
The 1950s was a time when the shackles were off car designers and engineers. With a booming economy and new technological innovations entering people’s lives on an exponential basis, the automobile industry was free to experiment with futuristic styling, and concept cars like this stunning Ghia Abarth was the result of this newfound freedom. Taking a 1953 Abarth 1100 Sport (based on the Fiat 1100), Ghia penned this avant-garde design that still looks spectacular today.
The car's streamlined body and jet airplane front end was a clear nod to the jet planes and rockets that were starting to fill the skies at the time of its conception. Designed concurrently with Ghia-bodied Chryslers, the Abarth's broad oval grille and wide low stance ape that of the Chryslers of the time. The car debuted at the 1953 Turin Salon before being sold to a Bill Vaughn in the US who displayed it at the New York Auto Show a year later, albeit rebadged as the Vaughn SS Wildcat. Power, according to the American, came courtesy of a V8 with overheads cams, despite the 1100 coming with a 1.1-liter four-pot.
According to RM Sothebys who will be offering the Ghia Abarth for sale at its Monterey auction in August, the car was discovered in a barn in 1982 after years in the wilderness. It was subsequently purchased in 2010 and was comprehensively restored back to its original condition over a five-year period. In 2015 it won best-in-class at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and was nominated for Best of Show and is ready to give a new owner further concours successes. The 1953 Abarth 1100 Sport by Ghia will cross the auction block on August 18-19 without reserve.