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From early days in school, I have been fascinated by the Abarth marque. Abarth was the first entry in my Observer’s Book of Automobiles and I was drawn to it almost hypnotically. The mother of my best friend at school had a Fiat-Abarth 595, and I remember thinking what a special little car that was. Whenever possible, I would persuade my father to stop for petrol at Anthony Crook’s Hersham Garage, which had the concession for Abarth, Bristol and Zagato-bodied cars in the late 1950s and ’60s.