Pininfarina stunned the world at the January 1969 Brussels Motor Show with a striking wedge-shaped one-off based on an Abarth sports racer. Along with several other contemporaries, it heralded the dawn of a new era; the luscious curves of the 1950s and 1960s were to be replaced by simpler and sharper lines.
Known as the Scorpione in reference to Abarth's famous scorpion badge, the show car's most distinguishing cue was the straight line that ran from the nose all the way to the roof, doing away with the traditional three-box principle of nose, cockpit and tail. Responsible for the design was Filippo Sapino, who had joined Pininfarina just a few years earlier from Ghia.
The scorpion also formed an inspiration for the design itself as with some imagination, some of the main sections of the scorpion's body can be distinguished; the intakes on the edges of the nose mimic the claws, while the front fenders form the arms and the large windshield the animal's body. Easiest to recognise is the scorpion's tail formed by the trumpet exhaust coming out of the rear-mounted Abarth engine.
With no room in the singular design for traditional headlights, the Scorpione is equipped with central unit, consisting of six separate lights that can be rotated up when needed. There is also no accommodation for conventional doors, instead the entire windshield can be lifted up to provide ample access to the cockpit. Showing its racing roots, the cabin is very minimalistic with the simple dashboard dominated by a large rev-counter.
Known internally as the SE010, the Abarth used for the Scorpione was the latest two-litre sports car that was built in sufficient numbers to be homologated for the Group 4 class. It featured Abarth's own twin-cam, sixteen-valve four cylinder engine, mounted behind the rear axle. For the Scorpione, it was detuned slightly but still produced an impressive 220 bhp. The completed car tipped the scales at just 740 kg.
One of the people particularly taken by the unique Abarth Scorpione was Japanese collector Shiro Kosaka. Over the years, he built up an impressive collection of Abarths and asked Pininfarina if he could buy the car. The Italian company responded that they would be ready to sell the one-off once he would create a purpose-built Abarth museum. The doors of the Gallery Abarth Museum opened in 1992 but the car is believed to have left for Japan in 1977 already.
Now one of the absolute stars of the Gallery Abarth Collection, the striking one-off had not been in Europe for nearly four decades until it was shown at the 2014 Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este where it created the same stir as it had done 45 years earlier in Brussels. Still in remarkably original condition, it was one of the absolute stars of the event with its loud exhaust and striking lines grabbing the attention of all visitors.