One of the most famous go-faster marques, Abarth, has reached its 70th anniversary. Thanks to a history of revolutionary tuning kits and race victories, the famous Italian brand has established itself as an automotive legend, and is still revered in 2019.
Abarth & C. was founded by Carlo Abarth and racing driver Guido Scagliarini on March 31 1949 in Bologna, Northern Italy. Carlo’s astrological sign, Scorpio, was chosen as the new company logo and the legend of the scorpion was born. In 1951 the company’s headquarters were moved to Turin, and a year later the association with Fiat began as the Abarth 1500 Biposto was built on Fiat mechanicals. Legendary versions of Fiat’s most popular cars followed, such as the 500-based 595 and 695, and variations on the 600.
Carlo sold the business to Fiat in 1971, with the Abarth becoming the Fiat Group’s racing department. In the 1980s, the name was used for performance models such as the Fiat Strada TC, before being reduced somewhat to a trim level on models like the Uno, Stilo and Punto.
In 2007 it became a separate brand again, though wholly owned by Fiat. The first model launched was the Abarth Grande Punto, but it’s mainly known for hot versions of the new 500, which have become a massive hit.