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Abarth 75 Years - Passione per la Velocità 

Carlo Abarth, the man behind the famous scorpion brand, had speed in his DNA. He knew how to turn that DNA into technical ingenuity like no other. Abarth, often mentioned in the same breath as Fiat, knew how to squeeze performance out of any car, often resulting in success on race tracks or in rallies. The scorpion brand turns 75 this year and Autoworld is honouring the founding father of tuning from 4 July to 1 September during their 'Dolce Vita' summer.

Speed and engineering

Karl Albert Abarth, born in Vienna in 1908, showed an insatiable appetite for speed and an unparalleled sense of engineering even at an early age. He soon found his way to Italy, where at the age of 17 he joined the Castagna motorbike brand as a chassis designer. 'Carlo' Abarth returned to his homeland two years later as a motorbike racer. He became European champion five times, until a serious accident brought his successful career to an abrupt halt. His last success on a motorbike led him from Vienna to Ostend, where in 1934, after a blood-curdling 1,300km race, he beat the Orïent Express on a home-made motorbike with sidecar. 

Constructor

Abarth returns to Italy the same year where he marries the secretary of Anton Piëch, Ferdinand Porsche's son-in-law. He distributes Porsches in Italy and founds the sports car brand CIS Italia. When that brand goes belly up, Abarth kneads the remains of the sports car company into his own brand, with his star sign scorpion as his logo. Besides running his own cars, Abarth also focused on producing parts for other Italian brands, with a view to improving sporting performance. 

Fiat

When Abarth moved to Turin in 1951, becoming Italian, he joined forces with Fiat a year later. Abarth uses Fiat parts for his cars and receives compensation from Fiat for every victory he achieves. In the process, Carlo Abarth is savvy enough to focus on the smaller categories, shunning opposition with the likes of Ferrari. The collaboration is not exclusive, witness Alfa Romeo's and Porsches with Abarth's scorpion behind their model name. 

Tuning

In the early 1950s, Abarth develops an exhaust kit for the popular Fiat Topolino. The idea caught on and Abarth built a range of exhausts that would find hundreds of thousands of customers looking for better performance for their day-to-day cars. In doing so, Abarth set a precedent and also showed its business acumen. Abarth tuning parts were in great demand by all those who wanted to give their cars a sportier look, or wanted success in races or rallies. 

World Champion

In 1971, Carlo Abarth sold his company to Fiat. What remains of Abarth is transferred to Osella, while Abarth becomes the sporting arm of Fiat. Its greatest successes are achieved in rallying, with the 124 Abarth Rally and the 131 Abarth scoring several world titles. Afterwards, Abarth does the same with Lancia, meanwhile also part of the Fiat group, with the Beta Montecarlo Group 5 and the 037 Group B rally car, among others, both scoring world titles. In 1981, Abarth ceases to exist and is replaced by the Fiat Auto Gestione Sportiva. 

Honoured

The Abarth name almost disappears, but is restored by Fiat in 2007. At its own factory in Turin, the Fiat 500 Abarth, Grande Punto Abarth and 124 Abarth are manufactured. Meanwhile, the scorpion logo once again proudly adorns Fiat's sporty cars and seems to have been restored to Carlo Abarth.From 4 July to 1 September, a unique collection of Abarths will be on display at Autoworld to celebrate the 75th anniversary of this pioneering brand.

This exhibition is made possible thanks to the support of the Abarth Works Museum in Lier. 
The Abarth Works Museum will open a new car museum and experience center in a brand new building in April 2025. 
More news about the opening of the new museum will follow later via our website and social media.
In the meantime, take a look at the Abarth Works Museum's website for more information.

Did you know...


...Carlo Abarth set several world records in his own cars at the age of 57? Before that, he dialled down 30 kilograms to fit into the cockpit. He did so by following a strict diet of apples...