1972 Abarth Osella SE 021 Sport 2000SOLD

Ultra-Rare, Ultra-Competitive 2.0-Liter FIA Sports Prototype. The last of only six built, zero-time on full documented restoration!

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Reference Number 271794

as of 10/22/2014

Overview
Car 1972 Abarth Osella SE 021 Sport 2000
VIN *SE 021 / 0023* 
Small Series  6 of 6 
Condition Pristine 
Configuration Right Hand Drive (RHD) 
Transmission Manual Shift 
Options Competition: Full Race setup, Racing Seats, Rollcage 
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Known History

This vehicle is clearly not for everyone but if you are a die-hard racer and love the competitive nature of the highly coveted 2.0-liter class of Sports Racing, keep reading… for the rest of you, I am sure one of our other fine classic road or race cars might better meet your needs.

 

The 1972 European 2-Liter Sports Car Racing Championship was hotly contested by just three manufacturers, Lola, Chevron and for the first time Abarth-Osella which was run exclusively by Enzo Osella himself after taking full control of the team at the end of the 1971 Season. Chevron and Lola each fielded two different vehicles for teams and drivers to choose from, Chevron B19 and B21s powered by both Cosworth and BMW engines and Lola with their previous Season’s T212 and their all new T290 also powered by BMW and now two different Cosworth designed engines.

 

Only the all new Abarth-Osella SE 021 strayed from the norm. Instead of using an “off-the-shelf” race-engine, the SE 021 featured a pure Abarth designed and built, industrial-strenght four-cylinder, twin-cam, four-valve, slide-valve injected race engine that was not only lighter but far more robust and it easily produced 270+ bhp at 8,000rpm! The SE 021 still relied on a space frame design, tube-frame chassis where both Chevron and Lola had now partially and in the case of the T290 fully committed themselves to “monocoque” designs. Despite the obvious advantage of the monocoque over the older space frame set up, in this year's nine race series, Chevron and Lola were only able to manage two wins a piece in comparison to the Abarth Osella’s five overall wins. This link will give you a good overview of the 1972 race Season: www.oldracingcars.com/sports/2-litre/1972

 

Essentially the Abarth Osella’s overall lightness and reliability put both Lola and Chevron to shame. What is even more amazing is that at any given race there would be a veritable sea of Chevron and Lolas in several cases upwards of ten of each being entered for an individual race. Amongst those was usually just a single entered Abarth Osella which more often than not would also be the one taking the checkered flag that day!

 

That year's driver’s championship was easily won by Arturo Merzario with 72 points over 2nd place, John Burton’s 50 points. The manufacturer’s championship ended with 112 points for Abarth Osella and 109 points for Chevron and 105 for Lola. Keep in mind that just six SE 021 Abarth Osella’s were completed and yet despite such a small production number compared to the Lola and Chevron’s they still totally dominated that years races.

 

Chassis No. *SE 021 / 0023*

This particular Abarth Osella is a fully documented, one-onwer from new vehicle. We purchased it earlier this year directly from the gentleman who bought it new directly from Enzo Osella himself. It has as such an impossibly short and pure chain of ownership, likely without equal!

 

Abarth Historians identify the small production run of the SE 021 Sport 2000 Abarth Osellas as having chassis numbers from 0013 to 0023. It would appear then that this particular Abarth Osella SE 021 is the final of eleven examples built in 1972. It is generally felt however that not all the chassis numbers were actually used and today only the following six examples are confirmed to have been completed:

 

*SE 021 / 0013*

*SE 021 / 0014*

*SE 021 / 0020*

*SE 021 / 0021*

*SE 021 / 0022*

*SE 021 / 0023*

 

Despite best efforts to confirm otherwise, no identifiable races or driver parings have been discovered for this particular example. What is known is that *SE 021 / 0023* was still with Enzo Osella in 1975 gathering dust when it caught the attention of the prominent Japanese Museum Collector, Makoto Sekiguchi. In a day and age when collecting such vehicles was hardly fashionable, the famed Sekiguchi Museum was in a class by itself. Enzo Osella was very busy that year making his first foray into Formula Two racing and must have been more than happy to get rid of an old Sport Racer with no practical purpose!

 

After agreeing to the sale, the car was shipped from Italy direct to Sekiguchi San where it would remain in his collection further undisturbed and collecting even more dust for the next 20 plus years. In 1998, Sekiguchi decided it was time to put things cosmetically and mechanically right.

 

The work was entrusted to the specialist team of Robin Automotive in Sonoma, California run by the legendary Tony Nicholson. The restoration ways by no means an easy task. In Tony's own words:

 

"The Osella was delivered to us in a sad state, to say the least. Years of neglect and being "rode hard and put away wet" took their toll on the car. The result was disastrous—rust, corrosion, dirt, oxidation, etc.

 

In the foot box, the pedal pivots seized, the master cylinders corroded, the brake hoses cracked, the steering rack rusted, the plating flaked, the frame rusted...The list of work to be done seemed endless.

 

The right front frame showed obvious damage. The fiberglass panels were warped and delaminated from the frame, and the chassis tubes and pick-up points were bent. What a mess!

 

We media-blasted, repaired, and repainted the fiberglass panels, and then bonded them to the frame. We repaired and replated the suspension, rebuilt and coated the uprights, as well as the calipers, and rebuilt the spindles, among others.

 

Finally, we did a major overhaul of the engine, including making a new flywheel from scratch! Piston sourcing for this application was a nightmare, but the rebuild was completed successfully. On January 12, 2000, we rolled out the Osella-Abarth FIA Sportscar in new clothes and ready to race. It sounded GREAT!!"

 

Upon completion of the restoration, this Abarth Osella returned to Sekiguchi Samma in Japan but rather than going back into obscure storage, the car was placed on prominent display in his collection were it would remain until our recent purchase earlier this year.

 

After completing the purchase of this exceptionally nice Sport Racer, I took the time to track down and contact Tony over at Robin Engineering. He was extremely kind and patient with me and my many questions. He further shared that the car was clearly set up for rapid acceleration using very short gears and a final drive ratio of 3.875:1. He also took the time to pull the dyno sheets from Hasselgren Dyno which showed that after the rebuild, while still being broken in and using very gentle RPMs, the engine produced 244bhp at 7,900rpm and 173 ft/lbs torque at 6,000rpm!

 

Not long after posting information about this Abarth Osella to our web site, we began receiving quite a few emails and phone calls from a variety of individuals. It was pointed out to us by several that while the car used the last serial number assigned to the SE 021 series of Sports Racers it was actually the first one built and was used for all of the testing and development work for the other client cars throughout the Season. It remained with Osella "in-house" but it is also said to have been the "Loaner" car sent out to the various teams racing them when damage and repairs could not be completed in time on their own vehicles. More than a few pointed out that it was visually quite different from the other examples as it was the sole one fitted with a "Snorkel" air-intake assembly. This feature would appear on the 1973/4 follow-on development cars thereafter. As the practical use of the car wound down, it remained with Enzo Osella for a few more years until his good fortune saw it going to Makoto Sekiguchi in 1975. The car was clearly raced in period as pointed out by Tony Nicholson who's crew had the task of repairing and addressing some of the track damage the car received racing. What races the car may have run and with what drivers however still remains a mystery.

 

Today any proper Chevron B19, B21 or Lola T212, T290 is a welcome and sought-out addition to enthusiasts who covet such machines. The few nice examples that have come up for sale over the past few years have all been trading for a low of $175,000 for the B19 all the way up to well over $300,000 for an exceptional Lola T290. At just $175,000, our SE 021 is at the extreme low end of the price range and an absolute bargain compared to the less competitive and far more common Lola and Chevron equivalents.

 

*SE 021 / 0023* haz zero time on a total and complete frame-off restoration which included full engine and gearbox rebuilds. This is an all matching numbers example that was purchased directly from her one and only private owner. I am aware of no other 2.0-liter Sport Racer from this era with such a clean and issueless history!

 

High resolution, full sets of inspection photos and additional details on this vehicle can all be accessed buy clicking on this link:

 

symbolicphotos.weebly.com

 

Please call or email me at bnoon@symbolicmotors.com if I can assist further in anyway.

 

Warm regards,

 

Bill Noon

 

Symbolic International

Symbolic Motor Car Company

7440 La Jolla Blvd.

La Jolla, California 92037 USA

 

Phone 619 840 7811

 

Email bnoon@symbolicmotors.com

 

Website symbolicphotos.weebly.com