Sunday, February 20, 2011

1959 Fiat Abarth Zagato 750 Record Monza Bialbero

by Mike -

The name of this car is longer than the car itself! In the picture below on the left is Don Meluzio, the owner of this Abarth and next to him is Greg Paris, a former owner of this car, at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in 2006. I am behind the camera.

Don has many special cars in addition to this Abarth he is also the president of the Iso Bizzarrini Owners Club, of which I am a member. Greg is a former collector of Abarths and is a recognized Abarth authority and historian. He now has a Lotus Elite collection and is the editor of the Club Elite Newsletter.

This special Abarth is chassis number 677208. It weighs 1240 lbs, has a 747cc 4 cylinder DOHC engine with two 36 mm downdraft carburetors producing  62 bhp at 6500 rpm. Top speed is 111 mph.

Text below by Greg Paris with editing by Don Meluzio

One of less than 40 Record Monza Bialberos (twin-tree or twin- cam), after a racy beginning, 677208 led a fairly sheltered life.  Purchased by Franklin D. Roosevelt JR's Roosevelt motors, the first year of the car's life was spent as part of Team Roosevelt.  Team Roosevelt consisted of several up and coming racers, like Paul Richards, Roger Penske, Ray Cuomo, and others.  The group used Roosevelt Motors Fiat Abarths to dominate small bore racing in the SCCA's Eastern Regions from 1959 thru 1962.  677208 is the first car on the top of the transporter below.  When the team dissolved in 1961, the car was sold to a New Jersey enthusiast, who almost immediately resold it to Dick Flowers of Oregon.

Dick never took the car, or himself, too seriously, using the Bialbero sparingly for picnics and occasions (even constructing a utility trailer for it!). In 1987 he sold it to Greg Paris when the car had just over 5000 original miles.

A light weight car!

Greg spent several years carefully preserving and subtly repairing the car until he sold it to Mark Gessler in 1999, as part of a multi-Abarth sale. Mark is a Pebble Beach kind of guy but he started on a conversion of this car to a vintage race car. With the restoration far from complete, Mark sold the car to Don Meluzio.

Don removed the roll bar, sold the fuel cell, and restored the car like it was a true 5,200 mile car to Pebble Beach standards. Don used all of the original emblems, all original gauges, (not restored), he even used all original glass and door rubbers. The doors close like a new car!

Below is Don at Pebble Beach this time standing next to Andrea Zagato, president of the design firm, Zagato.

Click on the images for a larger view.


  1. Thanks for bringing us the story on this vehicle. Don really does have some fantastic cars, and I did not know that this was also in his collection. Love the blog and look forward to each new installment.

  2. Great article and pictures!

  3. Thank you, I appreciate the support of Don Meluzio and Greg Paris for this story.

  4. Mike,
    I just purchased a 59 Record Monza that is in original condition. It has the single cam motor, originally sold in the US. I would love to get in contact with Don or at least get some tip/sources for his restoration work. Thanks, Rob Sloan - (Indianapolis, IN)