It was in 1949 when an Italian-Austrian named Karl Abarth would develop a racing car manufacturing company located in Turin, Italy. However, it would not be until the 1960’s that the Abarth car company would develop a true name for itself. It was the SR1 that proved to be a successful hill climber and as such, demand for the car continued to grow increasingly. The cars produced during this era in the company’s history ranged from 850 cc all the way up to 2000 cc which put it in direct competition against the Porsche 904 along with the Ferrari Dino. Thanks to the expert driving of factory driver Hans Herrmann and his 1963 500 kilometre Nürburgring win, the popularity of the Abarth increased exponentially.
In a surprising twist in the company’s history, Johann Abt who raced an Abarth car was given the promise by the company’s owner Claro Abarth that if he won every single race he entered, the company would give him his own car absolutely free. As a result, Abt won 29 out of 30 races that he entered with the only non win being a second-place pole.
Furthermore, Abarth is also known for their high-performance exhaust system which was developed especially for the Fiat market of models. It was because of this experience with tuning the Fiat through a high-performance exhaust system that would spark an interest in Fiat to buy out Abarth in 1971. As a result of this sale, Abarth was to become the racing development department for Fiat. As a result, many of the Fiats were also double branded under both Fiat and Abarth badges. These Fiats that were double branded included models like the Fiat Lancia as well as the Fiat Autobianchi.
By 1980, the Abarth name was no longer recognised so much as the company, but rather a high performance package available on the Fiat cars similar to that of the AMG Mercedes and the SS Chevrolet models. This would not last for long though as in 2007, the Abarth name would make a comeback when the company was relaunched under the name of Grande Punto Abarth. For the first time in more than 30 years, the Abarth name badge was seen as a separate entity of Fiat.
A number of famous Abarth model cars have been produced over the years on a variety of manufacturing markets including names like Alfa Romero, Fiat, Simca as well as Porsche. Perhaps one of the more infamous Abarth models was that of the Porsche 356B Carrera GTL Abarth which was a highly-tuned after market version of the traditional Porsche Carrera GT
Original Authors: Nick (Globel Team)
Edit Update Authors: M.A.Harris
Updated On: 26/08/2008