Abarth - History and information

13 Models 127 Cars Listed

By 1948, former motorcycle racer Karl “Carlo” Abarth was the sporting director of Cisitalia. However, the company was in dire straights after spending most of its capital on paying Ferdinand Porsche to develop a Grand Prix car. Founder Pietro Dusio moved to Argentina, leaving behind his son Carlo to restructure the company. The assets were sold to Abarth, who (financed by Cisitalia driver Guido Scagliarini’s father) established Abarth & C. in Bologna, Italy on 31 March 1949.

Starting with six Cisitalia-built cars, Abarth developed them further and took them to Europe's circuits, armed with a roster of famous faces including Tazio Nuvolari, Franco Cortese and Piero Taruffi. These showed immediate success, spurring Abarth to develop its own line of tuning and performance parts such as exhausts and inlet manifolds.

With the company growing exponentially, 1951 saw them move to Turin, and cooperation with Fiat began the following year. Notably, this resulted in the Fiat-Abarth 750 Zagato, based on the Fiat 600 but with a modified drivetrain and curvaceous bodywork from Zagato, which was homologated for GT racing and saw success in the USA.

Fiat released the Cinquecento in 1957 and Abarth quickly got to work developing their own version. The car was faster, wider and lower, and took almost 900 individual race victories by 1965. This made the Abarth brand a household name, prompting Fiat to purchase the company in 1971.

The Abarth racing team was taken over by Enzo Osella and the Abarth company became Fiat’s competition department. They handled the preparation of Fiat’s rally cars before being merged with Squadra Corse Lancia into EASA (Ente per l'Attività Sportiva Automobilistica) in 1977. This company went on to produce iconic racing cars like the Lancia Beta Montecarlo Turbo and Rally 037.

Following this, the Abarth name was used as a trim level for some Fiat Group vehicles, before being relaunched as Abarth & C. S.p.A. in 2007. Since its reintroduction, Abarth has continued to produce performance variants of Fiat cars, including the 695 Biposto.

1000

Listed1

Production1

100%

1100

Listed1

Production1

100%

2000 Sport

Listed8

Production50

16%

204A

Listed2

Production6

33%

205A Berlinetta

Listed3

Production4

75%

207A Spyder

Listed4

Production10

40%

208A Spyder

Listed1

Production1

100%

209A Coupé

Listed1

Production1

100%

500

Listed28

Production200

14%

695

Listed73

Production133

54%

Classiche 1000 SP

Listed0

Production5

0%

SE

Listed0

Production2

0%

X1/9

Listed5

Production5

100%

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