In 1934, Karl Abarth took on the Orient Express in a motorcycle with sidecar over the 852 mile-long route (1,372-kilometers) from Vienna to Ostend. He beat the famous train with a time of 23 hours and 40 minutes. This was the beginning of the story of a fearless genius drawn in equal measure to speed and innovation. After a career as a champion racer of motorcycles and automobiles, he consolidated the legend with the creation of Abarth & C. in 1949.
Adopting his star sign, Scorpio, as its logo, this company produced extraordinary cars and modification kits that enhanced speed, power and overall performance of production cars. Within just a few years, the company had grown significantly, employing 375 people and producing some 300,000 mufflers a year. These innovative fiberglass-lined mufflers improved power and also gave engines an unmistakable roar.
The legend of the Scorpion began on March 31st, 1949, with the creation of the 204 A derived from a Fiat 1100 which immediately claimed success in the Italian 1100 Sport and Formula 2 championships. During the same period, Karl Abarth had the truly inspired idea of creating the now famous Abarth & C. performance kits, including the company’s renowned mufflers, benefiting from technology developed on the racetrack.
To persuade motorists to mount an Abarth muffler, he came up with an innovative advertising campaign that featured an elegant product presentation and revolutionary new ad copy. Success was immediate and the Scorpion trademark began its ascent, reaching the height of popularity in the 1950s and 1960s. The Scorpion became a part of contemporary culture as it racked up victories, records, and new ways of experiencing racing. The Abarth name was synonymous with speed, courage, performance and style, as the list of successes around the world continued to grow.
In 1971, Abarth was acquired by Fiat Auto, and the last model created in collaboration with Abarth himself was the A112. Other famous models were to follow, such as the Fiat 131 Abarth, a champion rally car, and the Ritmo Abarth.
Karl died on October 24, 1979, under his birth sign the Scorpio, but his spirit continues to live on via the Scorpion trademark, a perennial symbol of performance, excitement, and the spirit of competition. Today, Abarth continues to create one-of-a-kind vehicles that deliver extreme emotions to anyone who has the honor of driving one.
The legend continues with the 70th Anniversary range which brings something special to the 2019 Abarth models. The new Abarth 595 and Abarth 124 are recognizable by their distinctive 70th Anniversary logo. The 595 Competizione comes with the Uconnect system and 7” HD touchscreen and Abarth Telemetry as standard, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The 595 Turismo features a glass sunroof and Uconnect system with 7” HD touchscreen, satellite navigation, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
Leather upholstery is standard, and the Urban package includes rain, parking, and dusk sensors. The 595 sports a straight-bottomed steering wheel with centering band, while the 595 Pista features 7” Abarth Telemetry, a Record Monza exhaust, and Koni rear suspension with FSD technology. The 70th Anniversary logo is also emblazoned on the livery of the Abarth 124, including the 124 Turismo version and special 124 GT series.