Introduction to Abarth
Carlo Abarth founded his own company in 1949 after working with many famous names including Porsche, Hruska, Nuvolari and Dusio, to name but a few. A self-taught engineer, he began by purchasing the remnants of Cisitalia and developing their 1100s for racing. This was soon followed by his own designs. Simultaneously, in order to generate revenue to support his racing, Abarth began to develop and market tuning accessories. This began with exhaust pipes and went on to include manifolds, valves and springs and much more. His work gradually stabilized in four different areas; modifications of production cars (usually Fiats but also with others, mostly Simca), exhaust pipes (and the other accessories), one-off cars for record breaking and sports car design and production. The modification of production cars really took off in the mid 1950's when Abarth brought out his version of the Fiat 600. This was followed some years later by an Abarth based on the Fiat 850, which was later further developed into the Abarth 1000. The latter, along with many other cars from Abarth, was very successful in motor sport. Using both his modified and special build vehicles, Abarth managed to take a total of five world and 113 international records, all at Monza. In 1971 Abarth was taken over by Fiat. It continued to develop the sporting variants of Fiat's (and Lancia's; one of the first was the A112 Abarth) for many years, and the name was used on such successful cars as the 124 and 131 rally cars. On the road cars the Abarth badge was used sparingly to denote the high performance versions, the last car bagged as such being the Strada/Ritmo 130TC. Into the 1990's and the new millennium the Abarth name continues on the optional 'sporting' body kits available from Fiat.