From motorbikes to cars, Abarth success is no accident

Crashes force engineer to retire from motorcycling and start tuning cars

The legendary Abarth brand was conceived by one man with a passion for motorsport.

Carlo Abarth had racing in his DNA. He started his business with motorcycles, which he raced under the Abarth brand.

His success on two wheels was short-lived, however, with a succession of accidents forcing him to retire from the sport.

Though that was only the beginning for Abarth.

The iconic Scorpion badge first graced a car in 1949, when Carlo founded Abarth & C with racecar driver Guido Scagliarini.

The first vehicle produced was the 204 A Roadster, based on the Fiat 1100. It won the 1100 Sport Italian championship and the Formula 2 racing title.

This is where the car brand’s 70-year story began.

Austrian-Italian Carlo decided to supplement his racing activities by producing tuning kits for mass-production cars. These could increase power, speed and acceleration.

The most noticeable part of the upgrades was the exhaust pipe, which has become a true icon of Abarth.

In just a few years, Abarth & C reached global levels. By 1962, with a staff of 375, it produced 257,000 exhaust pipes, 65% of which were destined for export markets.

The brand broke the 24-hour endurance and speed record in 1956, at the Monza racetrack, with the Fiat Abarth 750 covering 2,332 miles and averaging 96mph.

The car went on to break a number of other records at Monza, including the 5,000 mile and also the 48-hour and 72-hour.

In 1958, Abarth transformed the then new Fiat 500, enhancing its potentials to the maximum.

Fiat committed itself to reward Abarth financially based on the number of victories and records that the team managed to achieve. An event that formed the basis of an impressive winning streak: 10 world records, 133 international records, more than 10,000 victories on the track.

Abarth became the byword for speed, courage, performance and development in Italy.

In 1971, Fiat Auto became the sole owners of Abarth, and the last vehicle Carlo actively participated in designing was the A112 Abarth. Sadly, he died eight years later.

The brand relaunched in 2008, offering the enthusiast-focused Abarth Grande Punto and Abarth 500.

Today, the line-up is back at full strength.

The 595 Range

To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the brand, as well as the standard race-bred performance, the Competizione and Turismo versions will benefit from additional content including a seven-inch touchscreen digital radio including NAV and AppleCarplay and Android Auto as well as 70th anniversary badging. Producing power levels from 145hp to 180hp from the 1.4 T-Jet engine, fun is fitted as standard.

< The 595 Competizione will celebrate the Abarth brand’s 70th anniversary

124 spider and 124 GT

This two-seater roadster embodies everything for which the Abarth marque is famed – performance, styling and advanced equipment.

A powerful 1.4-litre 170hp engine makes the 124 spider a real driver’s car.

Thrilling performance is ensured with a top speed of 142mph, with optimum weight distribution and racing suspension bringing precise and agile handling. To feed the senses further the Record Monza exhaust as standard delivers the all-important signature Abarth sound.

The 124 GT features a carbon fibre roof that weighs just 16kgs and is limited to just 50 examples in the UK.

< The 124 GT will be limited to just 50 vehicles in the UK

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