Transforming the ordinary into something extraordinary to offer the best products in the small sports car segment. This is the mission of the brand with the scorpion badge, that has always been the byword for performance and iconic Italian style and that last year set a new sales record in Europe.
“With nearly 23,500 cars sold in Europe and a 36.5% growth, Abarth set its best sales record last year”, said Luca Napolitano, Head of Fiat and Abarth brand EMEA. “Results were excellent on many markets, like the UK, where more than 5,600 cars were sold with a 26.8% growth which is a new sales record in its own right and in Spain with 1,450 cars and a 26.6% growth. I am very proud of these results that demonstrate the internationality and appeal of the brand outside Italy and confirms that we have a range that perfectly meets the requirements of an ever-wider target”.
To celebrate the sales record, Abarth will be offering a selection of exciting Mopar accessories at a special price to all European customers who bought a car in 2018 to customise their ride. More in detail, Abarth 595 owners will be offered 20% off the price of the exclusive carbon fibre kick plate, while Abarth 124 spider and Abarth 124 GT customers can order a transversal strut bar with a special price reduced by 30%. The promotion will run from February 1 to June 30, 2019*.
Together with record sales, the legendary racing brand is celebrating its 70th year of life, always under the banner of performance and style on everyday streets and on the toughest racing courses alike. “The past year was record-breaking also in sports”, continued Luca Napolitano. “The Abarth 124 rally, in its second racing season, established itself as the dominator of the R-GT class, scoring more than 40 class victories in 12 national championships and winning the European R-GT championship and the FIA R-GT World Cup. Great results like these mean we will be celebrating the 70th anniversary of Abarth in the coming year with pride”.
To celebrate these records and the anniversary in a worthy manner, here are the new Abarth “70th Anniversary” versions of the Abarth 595, the Abarth 124 spider and the Abarth 124 GT. A celebratory “70th Anniversary” badge developed for the purpose will be sported on all cars registered in 2019 making them unique and exclusive. The news was presented at the 87th edition of the Monte Carlo Rally, the most famous and time-honoured rally in the world. The cars with the scorpion badge have been the leaders in Monte Carlo, like Walter Röhrl’s memorable victory in 1980 at the wheel of a 131 Abarth Rally.
Not by chance, competitions have always been an essential element in the history and actuality of Abarth. The racing and rally worlds are tough proving grounds where all the innovative technological solutions are tested in the most adverse conditions before being transferred to street-legal Abarth models, to provide the best in terms of performance, safety and reliability. Very few manufacturers can boast this prerogative.
* The promotion is market-specific.
New range Abarth 595 – performance and style for the 70th Anniversary
The new 595 range is immediately recognisable by the “70th Anniversary” badge and represents the evolution of the icon of the brand expressed by different power levels, from 145 to 180 HP and Euro 6D-Temp engines, which respond to the needs of each customer. The Competizione and Turismo versions of the range express the two souls of Abarth – performance the first and style the second. The high-performing 595 Competizione with its 180 HP is engineered for the fans of sporty performance and unadulterated racing attitude. Today, for the “70th Anniversary”, the 595 Competizione comes with the innovative Uconnect with touchscreen 7″ HD with Abarth Telemetry, which is Apple CarPlay ready and Android AutoTM* compatible, as standard. Other characterising standard equipment includes braking system by Brembo, Sabelt racing seats and Record Monza exhaust with an active valve controlled by a “Sport” button. Pressing the Sport button opens the exhaust valve and the engine rumble becomes deeper and bolder. The driver can choose a “gentleman driver” engine sound or a tougher, sportier – and more traditionally Abarth – roar.
Abarth 595 Turismo is designed for motorists who consider comfort essential even in a high-performance car capable of unleashing 165 HP. One of the new contents of the “70th Anniversary” is the adoption of Uconnect 7″ HD with the sat-nav for greater comfort of travel, which is Apple CarPlay ready and Android AutoTM compatible, as standard. Inside, the meticulously finished Abarth leather upholstery is a perfect match for the elegant style of the Turismo. All enhanced by the Urban Pack, which comprises parking sensors, rain sensor and dusk sensor: equipment intended to make everyday driving easier and less stressful.
The line-up continues with the 595 version, that with its 145 HP of power is the Abarth entry-level model and offers all the standard equipment needed to ensure the typical enjoyment and driving pleasure expected from the brand with the scorpion badge, like the flat-bottom steering wheel with crosshairs insert. Completing the range is the performance-driven 595 Pista packed with 7″ Abarth Telemetry to constantly monitor ratings, new Record Monza exhaust and Koni FSD (Frequency Selective Damping) rear suspensions for even better road-holding, handling and stability in total safety.
Abarth 124 spider – the one-of-a-kind roadster in its segment born from racing experience
The “70th Anniversary” badge will also stand out on the livery of the Abarth 124 spider, the 124, the 124 Turismo and the 124 GT special edition versions. With their special standard equipment, the two spiders were developed with support of the Abarth Racing Team and each embody the maximum driving pleasure and dynamism of a true roadster. The mechanical self-locking differential, a true prerogative of sports cars, is standard on the Abarth 124 spider to enhance the dynamic qualities and the racing personality of the roadster with the scorpion badge. The weight is concentrated between the axles and the engine is installed behind the front axle to guarantee optimal agility and superior driving feel. Fine mechanics and the use of special materials have lowered the weight to just 1060 kg, for a weight-to-power ratio of 6.2 kg/HP. Furthermore, the optimal weight distribution ensures a direct and exhilarating response. Under the bonnet is a powerful, reliable, 1.4 litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine with MultiAir technology. It delivers 170 HP (about 124 HP per litre) and 250 Nm of torque. It has a top speed of 232 km/h and goes from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.8 seconds. What is more, since engine sound is a fundamental element of all Abarth cars, standard equipment includes Record Monza exhaust with Dual Mode system that modifies the exhaust gas path according to pressure, guaranteeing linear torque and power delivery, while also generating a satisfying, deep roar. The suspension features a high double wishbone layout on the front and a five-arm multi-link arrangement on the rear. The setup is calibrated to increase cornering and braking stability, while the power steering system has a specific sports calibration.
The Abarth 124 spider is also equipped with a host of advanced safety devices, both active and passive, including ABS with EBD (the latter distributes the brake force between front and rear axles to minimise braking distance and ensure the correct attitude in all load conditions) and ESC, for an optimal control of the car in all driving conditions, especially the most extreme. Operation of the ESC can be reduced or switched off completely when driving on a racing track, to exploit the outstanding balance and the dynamic capabilities of the Abarth 124 spider to the max.
Inside, the car features leather seats which are supporting and very comfortable at the same time, keeping the driver in the ideal position, as low and retracted as possible to be able to perceive all sideways movements of the car. Furthermore, the controls are perfectly in keeping with the sporty set-up of the car: the position of the pedals, the vertical steering wheel and the short gear stick, make for an enthralling driving experience. The dashboard features a large tachometer with red background arranged in a central position facing the driver and a keyless start system.
The package is completed by the excellent soundproofing provided by the noise-deadening windscreen and rear window and by the double-layer soft top, which can be opened and closed in a few seconds with one hand from the driving seat.
Finally, the colour palette features “Turini 1975 White” and “Costa Brava 1972 Red” pastels and metallized “San Marino 1972 Black”, “Hessen 1972 Blue”, and “Alpi Orientali 1974 Gray”. The names were picked to evoke the rally racing wins of the brand.
The 70th Anniversary badge will also appear on the adrenaline-packed Abarth 124 GT special edition developed by the Abarth Racing Team, which combines the stylishness of a coupé and the dynamism of a roadster. The Abarth 124 GT offers a special solution that is light and simple at the same time. The convenience of an easy-to-operate manual soft top is combined with the advantages of a lightweight hard top, the first in its segment to be made entirely of carbon fibre. The car packs plenty as standard and a host of exclusive contents, like 17-inch OZ Ultra-Light alloy rims, which are about three kilograms lighter than standard wheels and guarantee improved handling together with a refreshed, sportier design. Furthermore, the mirror caps sport a special gun metal colour which matches the front spoiler. Matte black bonnet treatment is available on demand , a clear reference to the classic Abarth 124 Rally, on which this solution was adopted to prevent glare to the driver’s eyes. Carbon fibre front spoiler is also available on demand. The mirror caps can be either made of carbon fibre or red.
1949-2019: key dates in the history of Abarth
The legend of the scorpion badge started on March 31, 1949 when Carlo Abarth (1908-1979) founded Abarth & C. with driver Guido Scagliarini. The first vehicle produced was the 204 A Roadster, based on the Fiat 1100, which immediately won the 1100 Sport Italian championship and the Formula 2 racing title. Since then, the history of Abarth has been full of racing and industrial records, always in the spirit of the founder to combine maximum performance, craftsmanship and constant technical progress.
Actually, Carlo Abarth’s career started with motorcycles not cars. At the age of twenty, he racked up his first wins as a rider on a Motor Thun, then the next year he built his first customised motorbike under the Abarth brand. Unfortunately, during a competition at Linz, an accident forced him to abandon motorbikes. He continues competing with sidecars, a vehicle that he made famous in exploits endeavours such as the race against the Orient Express train – which he won, of course. A second serious accident in 1939 forced him to abandon racing completely. This marked a new beginning for Carlo Abarth. In 1945, he moved to Merano and becomes an Italian citizen to all effects. Then, after a brief experience in Cisitalia, in 1949 he founded Abarth & C. and had the intuition of supplementing racing activities with the production of his famous tuning kit for mass-production cars to increase power, speed and acceleration. Noteworthy components of the kit were the exhaust pipes, whichover the years become a true icon of the “Abarth style”. In the space of just a few years, Abarth & C. reached global levels: in 1962 with a staff of 375 people, it produced 257,000 exhaust pipes, 65% of which are destined for export markets.
The pinnacle of success came at the end of the 1950s and in the 1960s. An example? With a Fiat Abarth 750 designed by Bertone in 1956, the brand broke the endurance and speed record: on 18 June, on the Monza racetrack, it broke the 24-hour record covering 3,743 km at an average speed of 155 km/h. Then, from 27 to 29 June on the same circuit in, it racked up a number of records: the 5,000 and 10,000 km, the 5,000 miles and also the 48 and 72 hours. The same vehicle was designed by Zagato in two different versions: the Fiat Abarth 750 Zagato (1956) and the Fiat Abarth 750 GT Zagato (1956). The roar of the car reached the ears of Franklin Delano Roosevelt Jr., son of the president of the USA, who rushed to Italy to personally sign an exclusivity contract for the distribution of these vehicles with Abarth.
In 1958, Abarth completed a true work of art on the new Fiat 500, completely transforming the small utility car and enhancing its potentials to the maximum. In the same year, the brand intensified its partnership with Fiat, as Fiat commits itself to awarding Abarth cash prizes based on the number of victories and records that the team managed to achieve. An event that formed the basis of the impressive winning streak to come: 10 world records, 133 international records, more than 10,000 victories on the track. The legend continued to grow more and more, becoming a household name. The 1960s were the golden decade for Abarth. “Abarth” becomes the byword for speed, courage, performance and development. And the list of vehicles which engraved the name of Abarth in the history of motor racing is a long one: from the 850 TC, which was victorious on all the international circuits including the Nürburgring, to the Fiat Abarth “1000 Berlina” and the 2300 S that strung up an extraordinary series of records on the Monza track despite the harsh weather conditions.
In 1971, Fiat Auto became the sole owners of Abarth, and the last vehicle in which the founder actively participated in designing was the A112 Abarth. During the 1980s, the story continued with famous cars, such as the Fiat 131 Abarth, world rally champion, and the Ritmo Abarth.
Sadly, Carlo Abarth passes away on October 24, 1979, under the sign of Scorpio, the same as his birth that had inspired the badge sported on his cars.
The glorious past was actualised again in 2008 when the brand was relaunched with a new line-up created for motorsports enthusiasts, like the Abarth Grande Punto (2007) and the Abarth 500 (2008), in addition to tuning kits for each car and the racing versions of the Abarth Grande Punto Rally Super 2000 and the Abarth 500 Assetto Corse. Since then, new models have been launched thick and fast: the Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari (2010), the Abarth 595 Yamaha Factory Racing (2015), the Abarth 695 Biposto Record (2015), the Abarth 695 Rivale (2017), the Abarth 124 spider, the Abarth 124 rally (both launched in 2016), the Abarth 124 GT and the new Abarth 595 range (both introduced in 2018). And today the legend continues with the new Abarth “70th Anniversary” line-up.