This unbelievable rally and GT car collection is a monument to Abarth’s racing past
Fondazione Gino Macaluso is a family organization, based in Italy, in charge of former Fiat/Abarth works co-pilot Luigi “Gino” Macaluso’s unique race car collection. The foundation is the caretaker of a fleet of unique rally cars, iconic GTs from the 1960s, and even Italian curiosities such as prepped Fiat Cinquecentos and Puntos.
Between 1969 and his graduation with an architecture degree in 1974, Macaluso won the European Rally Championship with the Fiat works team, navigating for driver Emanuele Pinto in Fiat 124 Spider. A victory at Rally Italy followed, with Maurizio Verini in a Fiat 124 Abarth.
Hoping Bertone’s X1/9 would become the next Lancia Stratos, Macaluso also led Abarth’s X1/9 Group 4 project until it was canceled in 1974, only to then leave the motorsport world and build a business in the Swiss watch industry instead.
The X1/9 Group 4 project made a lot of sense in the early 1970s. Lancia’s rally champion was getting long in the tooth, and the Fiat empire needed a light and possibly mid-engine car to keep pace in the relatively new World Rally Championship. Running under the auspices of Fiat’s 1972 X1/20 project, Pininfarina designed what became the Lancia Montecarlo and all its racing variants, while Bertone presented a highly modified X1/9 with a 1840-cc version of the 16-valve Fiat Twin Cam.
By 1974, Fiat decided to develop its own 131 Coupé to create a monstrous Group 5 car, which would end up winning the 1975 Giro d’Italia automobilistico. Then came the Abarth variant, which debuted with a victory at 1976’s 1000 Lakes Rally thanks to local star Markku Alén.
While it’s curious that Gino Macaluso left the team in 1974, right after Fiat canceled its X1/9 project, his collection now includes possibly the most original surviving prototype, a car that was discovered at a farm in northern Italy, along with all its custom body parts stored at a nearby workshop.
The roster of WRC highlights in this collection includes the Renault R5 Turbo that won the Monte Carlo Rally in 1981, the ex-works Mini Cooper Mäkinen drove to victory at the 1000 Lakes, the Audi Quattro of Blomqvist, a Sainz Toyota Celica, a Lancia Fulvia HF, Stratos and 037, Fiat 124 and 131 Abarths, and various Delta Integrales. One of those Integrales is the car that Juha Kankkunen rolled during the Safari Rally; given that it’s one of the final factory race cars, it was then shipped straight to the collection—with a machete still onboard. And let’s not forget about that Alpine A110, either.
An open-cockpit Group 6 Lancia LC1 and 1979’s Ligier JS 11/15 F1 car complete the racing section, but since Gino Macaluso was also a fan of road-going performance cars, there’s plenty more to lust after in this garage. To start, under the same roof there is a U.S.-spec Ferrari F40 and a 1967 275 GTB/4. In black, a Lamborghini Miura P400 SV from 1971. On the larger side is a Bentley Continental S3, while the list of performance cars continues with a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL , an Aston Martin DB5, a Bizzarrini 5300 GT, and an equally pretty Lancia Aurelia B20.
Last year, Goodwood‘s Ben Miles went to see Fondazione Gino Macaluso, getting the full tour from Gino’s son Stefano. Now, you can join in: