Having realized success in the sports car and grand touring market on the coattails of a powerhouse racing team, Enzo Ferrari sought to introduce a car that would compete with sports cars that were a bit less expensive. One caveat, though, was that he did not want to slap a Ferrari badge on this car. Instead, he sold the production rights to the De Nora Electrochemical Group, which in turn marketed the new sports car under the ASA badge, short for Autocostruzioni Societa per Azioni.
The 1000 GT, as it was called, was a remarkable little sports car. Featuring an overhead cam, 1,032 cc four-cylinder engine designed by Ferrari, this powerplant was essentially part of what was originally a Colombo V12, and included the trademark clothes pin valves and was fed via two Weber 40 DCOE9 carburetors. Other forward thinking engineering touches included double wishbone suspension at the front end along with disc brakes at all four corners. The ASA 1000 GT would foreshadow the later Dino Ferraris in bringing exotic engineering to less well heeled customers. Fewer than 100 of these 1000 GT coupes were ever made and finding one in great condition like this one in California is a rare treat.
The ASA 1000 GT was evolved from a concept for a small Ferrari in 1959. Eventually the rights for the design were transferred to Auto costruzioni Societa per Azioni, which was organised to produce the small GT. Under the shapely Giugiaro designed Bertone body was a chassis and engine by Giotto Bizzarini. Up front, it was supported by wishbones and coil springs with a live rear axle sporting helical springs and telescopic, hydraulic shock absorbers with reaction sprags. To complete the suspension the ASA received four wheel disc brakes. The jewel of an engine was an OHC four-cylinder unit displacing 1032 cubic centimetres and producing approximately 96 horsepower through a pair of Weber carburetors. This may not sound like much but, but in 1962 when the ASA was announced, the 1798cc MGB only generated 95hp and the base 1290cc Alfa Romeo Giulietta pumped out 91hp.
Compared to cars with similar engine displacement there was little comparison. The lovely crackle-finished ohc four was mated to a slick four speed transmission and like the best Italian engines the little OHC was born to rev. The interior leaves no doubt that the ASA 1000 GT is a true driver's car. The Nardi steering wheel offers a clear view of the large Jaeger tachometer, speedometer and five auxiliary gauges. With comfortable bucket seats and a roomy, well finished cockpit, it was clear that this was not an inexpensive car. Price proved to be the primary obstacle that faced this supremely competent automobile. In 1964, the price was approaching $6000 in the States. Not only was this tremendously expensive for a one-litre car in 1964, it was several hundred dollars more than a new Jaguar E-Type and about the same price as the brutally fast A.C. Cobra.
By 1967, the venture was terminated with fewer than 100 cars having been built. Eleven of these were officially produced in Spider form according to factory records of which a mere four survive today. The example I am proud to offer here is one of fixed head versions and looks great from most angles. The original numbers matching car was subject to a complete restoration on the East Coast back in 1991 to 1993. After completion the car participated in two New England 1000 Road Rallies where the car performed flawlessly. The car was subsequently sold to the previous owner in 1996 here in California where it spent much of its life garaged by its big brother, a beautiful Ferrari Lusso. After 15 years of hibernation I have brought this fantastic car back to life. Although the restoration is 20 years old it still presents well overall. The overall paint quality would be considered drivers status with minor flaws (minor bubbling due to prep flaws and minor chips from 20 years of life) the paint still has great shine and will hold its own at any Cars and Coffee. The trim and chrome looks near new, the interior still looks fresh with the leather soft and undamaged. All the Jaeger gauges function properly other than the clock. Car has just been inspected and serviced by a well respected shop in Los Angeles, Alfa Italia (they have been servicing vintage and classic Italian cars for over 20 years) which included; a complete flushing of the fuel, cooling and brake systems, a complete rebuild of the Weber carbs, new stainless exhaust, new axle seals and front wheel bearings, brand new period tires, a valve adjustment and of course fresh fluids throughout. These are unique cars that rarely make it to the open market, do not hesitate to bid or email me with any questions or requests you may have. (Original airbox is included in sale with misc. articles, notes from previous owners, and recent service history)
Short write up in Sports Car Digest:
For additional details visit: WWW.ASAREGISTER.COM
This 1000 GT coupe looks a bit like a Glass 1700GT has mated with a Maserati Mistral. Originally designed to be more affordable than your average Ferrari, these ASAs are now just as valuable as their bigger cousins. Given their rarity, it is hard to place values on such things, but a 1967 example sold for $81,400 at RM Auctions back in 2006. Six years later, it will be interesting to see if a similar example warrants an almost $40,000 premium over that figure. I would suspect a figure closer to $100,000 might be more realistic.