The example you see here is one of the units that nearly didn't survive. That's because the original 356 that it is based on burned to the ground in an accident in the mid-1960s. Following the fire, the owner turned to Italian coachbuilder Aldo Borghi to build a new body for the significantly damaged car. Borghi, who trained in the art of automotive coachbuilding and specialized in the use of aluminum alloy to create strong, lightweight bodies, took on the challenge and completed the rebuild in 1965 at his Carroceria Borghi workshop in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Back then, there weren't many people dedicated to aluminum bodywork, so he was well-known for his craftsmanship. He designed and built the bodyshells of many cars that are very valuable classics nowadays, including the Alfa Romeo 2900 "Ballena," the Alfa Romeo Spyder 6C 2500 "Paquito," and the Simca-Gordini T11. He also restored the Alfa Romeo 3000CM Carroceria Boano after an accident.
The restored car has a two-door coupe body type loosely based upon the Rocco Motto Abarth-Porsche 356 Carrera GTL racing cars that were running on tracks around the world during that period, hence the name of this one-off build. This unique car features an unconventional shape designed with competition in mind, a fact that is made clear by the sleek front end, the wide and muscular rear wheel arches, and the ample engine bay louvers. Actually, the car's rear is thoroughly louvered to aid cooling. Another noticeable change from the original is the fact that the rear tail lamps have been installed vertically to work on the new body.
The heart of the Porsche Borghi Abarth is a rear-mounted 1,600 cc Porsche Super 90 engine that was upgraded to produce approximately 108 hp (110 ps) and 92 lb-ft (125 Nm) of torque. It is coupled to the original Porsche four-speed manual transmission sending power to the rear wheels. This one-off rides on steel wheels and boasts Porsche drum brakes at each corner and the independent front and rear suspension of the original 356.
Apparently, the original owner only kept the car until 1972, and the subsequent owner was none other than Aldo Borghi himself, who acquired it for his own personal use. He had planned to carry out some upgrades, but he never got around to doing it. Instead, he raced the car in a number of rallies and races in Argentina for the following twenty years. He participated in sport club races in Rosario, Mar del Plata, San Nicolas, and San Pedro. Sometime in the 1990s, he disassembled the car for restoration, but he never completed the job.
The 1953 Porsche Borghi Abarth is a very special car built on Porsche 356 mechanics. It has now been put up for sale out of Belgium and is offered in excellent condition from its last restoration. Actually, it currently has just 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) on the odometer since the rebuild, so if you're interested, this could be a unique chance to acquire a coachbuilt version of the legendary Porsche 356.