|Società per Azioni|
|Founded||Bologna, Italy (March 31, 1949)|
|Parent||FCA Italy S.p.A.|
Abarth & C. S.p.A. is a racing car and road car maker founded by Carlo Abarth in 1949. Its logo is a shield with a stylized scorpion on a red and yellow background. Abarth & C. S.p.A. is a fully owned subsidiary of FCA Italy S.p.A. (formerly Fiat Group Automobiles S.p.A.), the subsidiary of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (formerly of Fiat S.p.A.) controlling its European automotive production activities.
1949: Abarth & C.
Carlo Abarth had been sporting director of the Cisitalia factory racing team since 1947. In 1948 begun the financial downfall of Cisitalia, spurred by the investments needed to put the 202 coupé into production; the following year the manufacturer went under, and founder Piero Dusio flew to Argentina. Carlo Abarth, funded by Armando Scagliarini, took over Cisitalia’s assets and on 31 March 1949 Abarth & C. was founded in Bologna. Carlo’s astrological sign, Scorpio, was chosen as the company logo. From the Cisitalia liquidation Abarth obtained five 204 sports cars (two complete Spiders and three unfinished), a D46 single seater and various spares. The 204s were immediately rechristened Abarth 204 A. Abarth built and raced sports cars developed from the last
In addition to Guido Scagliarini, the «Squadra Abarth» racing team lined up celebrated drivers such as Tazio Nuvolari, Franco Cortese and Piero Taruffi. Notably Tazio Nuvolari made his last appearance in racing at the wheel of an Abarth 204 A, winning is class in the Palermo–Monte pellegrino hillclimb on 10 April 1950. Alongside racing, the company main activity was producing and selling accessories and performance parts for Fiat, Lancia, Cisitalia and Simca cars, like inlet manifolds and silencers.
Abarth 1500 Biposto on Fiat mechanicals.
In the 1960s, Abarth was successful in hillclimbing and sports car racing, mainly in classes from 850cc to 2000cc, competing with Porsche 904 and Ferrari Dino. Hans Herrmann was a factory driver from 1962 until 1965, winning the 500 km Nürburgring in 1963 with Teddy Pilette.
Abarth promised Johann Abt that he could race a factory car for free if he won all the races he entered. Abt almost succeeded: Of the 30 races he entered, Abt won 29 and finished second once. Abt later founded Abt Sportsline.
Abarth produced high-performance exhaust pipes, diversifying into tuning kits for road vehicles, mainly for Fiat. A racing exhaust was produced for the 1950s Lambretta models “D” and “LD”. Original Abarth LD exhausts are now valuable collectors items. Reproductions are available which carry the Abarth name, how Fiat feels about this is not known. Lambretta even held several 125cc Motorcycle land speed records during the 1950s thanks partly to the exhaust that Abarth developed for them.
1971: Fiat takes over
Carlo sold Abarth to Fiat on 31 July 1971. The acquisition was only made public by Fiat with a press release on 15 October. As Fiat was not interested in the Reparto Corse racing operations, these were taken over by Enzo Osella. Osella obtained cars, spares, technicians and drivers (amongst them Arturo Merzario), and continued the racing activity founding the Osella racing team. Thus ended for Abarth the days of sport prototype and hill climb racing.
Under Fiat ownership, Abarth became the Fiat Group’s racing department, managed by engine designer Aurelio Lampredi. Abarth prepared Fiat’s rally cars, including the
and 131 Abarth.
In December 1977, in advance of the 1978 racing season, the beforehand competing Abarth and Squadra Corse Lancia factory racing operations were merged by Fiat into a single entity named EASA (Ente per l’Attività Sportiva Automobilistica, Organization for Car Sports Racing Activities). Cesare Fiorio (previously in charge of the Lancia rally team) was appointed director, while Daniele Audetto was sporting director; the EASA headquarters were set up in Abarth’s Corso Marche (Turin) offices. The combined racing department developed the
Group 5 Lancia Montecarlo Turbo
Lancia Beta Montecarlo Turbo Group 5 racing car (1980 and 1981 World Sportscar Championship winner) and the Lancia Rally 037 Group B rally car (which won for Lancia the 1983 World Manufacturers’ Championship).
On 1 October 1981, Abarth & C. ceased to exist and was replaced by Fiat Auto Gestione Sportiva, a division of the parent company specialized in the management of racing programmes that would remain in operation through to the end of 1999, when it changed toFiat Auto Corse S.p.A.
In the 1980s Abarth name was mainly used to mark performance cars, such as the Fiat Ritmo Abarth 125/130 TC.
In 2000s, Fiat used the Abarth brand to designate a trim/model level, as in the Fiat Stilo Abarth.
2007: rebirth of Abarth & C. S.p.a.
On 1 February 2007 Abarth was re-established as an independent unit with the launch of the current company, Abarth & C. S.p.a., controlled 100% by Fiat Group Automobiles S.p.A., the subsidiary of Fiat S.p.A. dealing with the production and selling of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles. The first model launched was the Abarth Grande Punto and the Abarth Grande Punto S2000. The brand is based in the Officine 83, part of the old Mirafiori engineering plant. The CEO is Harald Wester.
2007-10 Abarth Grande Punto Essesse
Supermini + 3-door hatchback
City car + 3-door hatchback
City car + Cabriolet
Cars produced by Abarth
1963 Abarth Simca 2000 – coupé
1955 Abarth 207A Spyder
1964 Fiat-Abarth OT1000
1964 Fiat-Abarth OT1600
1959-64 Fiat-Abarth 2200
1963 Fiat-Abarth 595 SS
1965-68 Abarth OT 1300
1961-65 Abarth Monomille
1968-71 Abarth Grand Prix/Scorpione
1969-71 Abarth 3000 Prototipo
1981-88 Fiat Ritmo 125/130 TC Abarth
1985 Lancia 037
Cars not produced by Abarth but with Abarth badges
1999-01 Fiat Bravo GT/HGT (Abarth)
2002-09 Fiat Stilo (Abarth)
Cars produced under Abarth & C. S.p.A. (2007–)
2009 Assetto Corsa Rally
Cars produced by other manufacturers with involvement from Abarth
Cars produced under Fiat Corse – N Technology named Abarth
Fiat Punto Abarth (rally version only)
Fiat Cinquecento 900 Trofeo kitcar (teams had to build up their own rallycar from Fiat N Technology derived Abarth racingparts)