The first design of the OT 1300 dated from 1965, and was in the "supercar" league. Unfortunately, only 50 cars were produced exclusively for the purpose of driving on circuits.
These original iterations are often referred to with a prefix of "Prototpe". This article, however, refers to the moniker given the Fiat 850 coupe derivative of 1967, commonly known as the Fiat OT 1300/124 Coupé Abarth.
Not satisfied with the OT 1000, Carlo Abarth set about creating a super-tuned version of the standard Fiat 850 Coupe
, going one step further and coming up with the OT 1300/124.
Externally, the 1300 model was identical to the OT 1000, and, for that matter, a standard 850 Coupe, but under the hood - instead of a bored and stroked 850 engine - there was a bigger engine taken from Fiat's 124 Sedan.
Abarth's modifications to the 124 engine were somewhat less extreme than the work he had done on the 850 engine. The bore was increased from 2.87 in. to 2.98 in., raising the total displacement of the in-line 4-cylinder engine from 1197 to 1280cc. In addition, the compression ratio was raised from the standard 8.8 to 9.5-to-one.
The net result of this work was that the 124 engine's horsepower jumped from 65 at 5600 rpm to 88 at 6000 rpm, yielding an estimated top speed of 105 mph (nine mph higher than the OTS 1000, and over 20 mph higher than a standard, 52-hp 850 Coupe).
The OT 1300 also featured suspension modifications similar to those on the OT 1000, including 5.5 in. wheels, heavy duty shock absorbers and springs, and 2.4 in. track increase front and rear. The OT 1300/124 sold for $3,295 in the U.S. at release, which was almost double the price of a standard Fiat 850 Coupe
Identifying a genuine OT 1300 can be a difficult task. The Abarth used the standard Fiat ID plate located on the left wall of the engine compartment, the same alloy tag being used on all Fiat 850 Coupes. The tag will contain a chassis code, followed by the chassis serial number. Just below that it will likely have the European Coupe engine code.
Below that is the Spares number. This again is a Fiat tag, and has nothing to do with Abarth. Remember, the car was first assembled by Fiat as an 850 Coupe, then shipped to Abarth for transformation into a 1300/124.
If you are lucky enough to find one of these, and it is genuine, then you have hit the motherload. The problem will always be, however, accurate identification...