Shannons has a rare Lombardi Grand Prix coupe coming up for auction in November.

The Lombardi is a small, rear-engined, rear drive sports car based on the floorpan of the Fiat 850.

It was developed by the Carrozzeria Francis Lombardi, based on an in-house design by Giuseppe Rinaldi.

The Grand Prix was built from 1968 until 1972 and also marketed as the OTAS 820, as well as a Giannini, the Abarth Grand Prix and Scorpione.

The car was first shown in March 1968 at the Geneva Motor Show.

The design was originally shown as a concept based on the front-wheel drive Autobianchi A112, adapted by Lombardi for the floorpan of the 850 sedan.

At Turin 1969 a targa version was also shown, called the Monza, of which at least two were built.

The original Lombardi Grand Prix as presented had the regular 843 cc Fiat 850 engine with a princely 27 kW of power and four-speed manual gearbox.

With a weight of 630kg and wind-cheating profile, the car had a top speed of 160 km/h.

Later models were fitted with 35kW 850 Special engine.

There were two series: early models used the standard metal engine cover from the Fiat 850 while the Series II cars had a louvred, black metal cover.

The Abarth version, first seen at the 1968 Paris Motor Show, received a tuned version of the larger 903 cc engine with 38kW from the Fiat 850 Sport Coupé/Sport Spider.

In 1970 Abarth showed a more powerful Abarth 1300 Scorpione, with a version of the Fiat 124’s 1.2-litre engine, bored out to 1280 cc.

This version offered 55 kW but was a little heavier.

The 1969 Scorpione S had a more developed chassis but with a lower powered engine.

Abarth’s Mario Colucci also developed the 75 kW Scorpione SS with a top speed of 185km/h.

This powerful model was extensively re-engineered, with a coil-over front suspension, a reworked rear suspension, anti-sway bars front and rear, and all-wheel Girling disc brakes.

When Abarth was taken over by Fiat in 1971, the project was quickly cancelled.

This two-owner vehicle that has been in the hands of its vendor since 1984.

It started life as a Lombardi 850 Coupe, but has been restored and upgraded — both mechanically and visually to high-performance Abarth Scorpion 1300 spec.

Shannons expect the car to sell in the $50,000 to $60,000 range at the November 5 auction in Sydney.

CHECKOUT: Tiny Abarth bridges the gap

CHECKOUT: Meet the fire-breathing beast of Turin

Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.