1949 - Ongoing

Abarth

Abarth Key Features

  • Type of car:  Automotive manufacturer
  • Body type:  Hatchback, Convertible, Sedan, SUV
  • Country of origin:  Italy
  • Built in:  Italy
  • Sold in:  Worldwide

Information about Abarth

Founded in 1949 by Italo-Austrian visionary Carlo Abarth, Abarth & C. S.p.A., an Italian racing and road car manufacturer, boasts a rich history deeply intertwined with automotive excellence. Abarth’s journey began as the sporting director of the Cisitalia racing team in 1947, and it took a serendipitous turn when Cisitalia faced financial turmoil in 1948. Founder Piero Dusio relocated to Argentina, leaving a vacuum that Abarth, backed by Armando Scagliarini, gladly filled. Thus, on March 31, 1949, Abarth & C. was born in Bologna, with Carlo’s astrological symbol, the scorpion, gracing its emblem.

From the remnants of Cisitalia, Abarth acquired five 204 sports cars and a D46 single-seater, swiftly renaming them Abarth Cisitalia 204A. This marked the inception of Abarth’s journey into sports car development. The Squadra Abarth racing team assembled legendary drivers, including Tazio Nuvolari, Franco Cortese, and Piero Taruffi. Tazio Nuvolari even achieved his final racing triumph in an Abarth 204A.

Beyond racing, Abarth established a reputation for crafting high-performance accessories and components for marques like Fiat, Lancia, Cisitalia, and Simca. Their collaboration with Fiat began in 1952, yielding the Abarth 1500 Biposto, a car that showcased their expertise.

1957 marked a pivotal year when Abarth forged an agreement with Fiat that rewarded them based on race results. This spurred Abarth to enter their cars in diverse classes worldwide, competing with the likes of Porsche and Ferrari. The factory driver Hans Herrmann clinched victory at the Nürburgring in 1963, cementing Abarth’s racing prowess.

Intriguingly, Johann Abt was enticed by Abarth’s offer of a free factory car if he won all his races. Remarkably, Abt nearly achieved this feat, claiming victory in 29 out of 30 races.

Abarth’s repertoire extended beyond racing, encompassing the production of high-performance exhaust systems and tuning kits, primarily for Fiat. Their exhausts even propelled Lambretta scooters to land speed records in the 1950s.

Collaborating with Alfa Romeo in 1958, Abarth’s engineer Mario Colucci oversaw the development of the Abarth Alfa Romeo 1000. Colucci’s designs, such as the mid-engined Abarth Spider Sport and the Group 4 1000 SP, were milestones in Abarth’s history, earning acclaim and success on the racetrack.

The Fiat Group took the reins in 1971 when Carlo Abarth sold his eponymous company. Fiat retained Abarth’s racing department, under the leadership of engine designer Aurelio Lampredi, to prepare their rally cars, including the Fiat 124 Abarth Rally and 131 Abarth.

In 1981, Abarth & C. ceased to exist, replaced by Fiat Auto Gestione Sportiva, dedicated to managing racing programs. The Abarth name lived on, adorning commercial models like the Autobianchi A112 Abarth, a spirited boy racer, and performance vehicles such as the Fiat Ritmo Abarth 125/130 TC.

In 2007, Abarth experienced a renaissance, emerging as an independent entity wholly owned by Fiat Group Automobiles S.p.A. This revival heralded the introduction of the Abarth Grande Punto and the Abarth Grande Punto S2000. Their headquarters, Officine 83, resides within the historic Mirafiori engineering plant.

Over the years, Abarth’s legacy has been closely intertwined with Fiat, evolving from a racing-focused enterprise to a brand synonymous with high-performance vehicles. With its scorpion emblem proudly displayed, Abarth continues to captivate automotive enthusiasts under the stewardship of Stellantis, a testament to its enduring impact on the world of racing and road cars.

My Dream Supercars collection

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