Fiat’s sporty sub-brand gets into the clas­sic mar­ket

Octane - - IGNITION - Words Glen Wadding­ton

A cor­ner of the vast Mi­rafiori plant in Turin is now ded­i­cated to the restora­tion and main­te­nance of clas­sic Abarths – from the 595 and 695 to 124 Spi­der and 131 Rally.

The work­shop is part of the wider Abarth Clas­siche ini­tia­tive, which will in­clude an Abarth Reg­is­ter – un­der the aus­pices of which of­fi­cial par­tic­i­pa­tion in events and com­pe­ti­tions is planned – and also a cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­gramme.

The cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­gramme is in­tended to recog­nise all those cars that have had of­fi­cial Abarth me­chan­i­cal up­grades, as many cars have been con­verted in the years since Carlo Abarth founded his tun­ing busi­ness in 1949. Abarth made kits avail­able that boosted power for such cars as the Fiat 500 and 600 – only to­day it is be­lieved that many have been faked. To prove the au­then­tic­ity of the cars’ me­chan­i­cal parts (en­gine, gear­box, ex­haust and sus­pen­sion), Abarth Clas­siche now has a full range of doc­u­men­ta­tion, in­clud­ing tech­ni­cal draw­ings, which has been cat­a­logued and digi­tised. To help with defin­ing the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­ce­dures, Abarth has called upon on the ad­vice and ex­pe­ri­ence of the ASI (His­tor­i­cal Ital­ian Au­to­mo­to­club) and FIVA.

The draw­ings and the new work­shop mean that mar­que en­thu­si­asts can have their cars ser­viced and re­stored in this new sec­tion of the Mi­rafiori Abarth Work­shop in Turin. It cov­ers a sur­face area of 900 square me­tres, and is equipped with hoists, ma­chine tools, and a high-pre­ci­sion fin­ish­ing line. The work­shop pro­cesses, tools and equip­ment were worked out in con­junc­tion with spe­cial­ists from Mopar, once a leg­endary name in Chrysler mus­cle-car cir­cles, and now the spares and ser­vic­ing arm of Fiat Chrysler Au­to­mo­biles.

The fa­cil­ity was opened by An­neliese Abarth, widow of the com­pany’s late founder (Carlo died in 1979), and the first car to be worked on – an Abarth 124 Spi­der – was driven into the work­shop.

At the open­ing cer­e­mony on 18 Novem­ber, Abarth’s mar­ket­ing boss Fabrizio Si­moni told Oc­tane: ‘In one word: au­then­tic­ity. This is a new head­quar­ters for the brand’s sales and ser­vice net­work and for com­pe­ti­tion. And it’s in­spired by Carlo Abarth’s spirit of per­for­mance tun­ing more than 60 years ago. Here you can get unique, guar­an­teed, au­then­tic ser­vic­ing for Abarth cars. From to­mor­row, cus­tomers will be wel­comed into the work­shop, where they can dis­cuss the best so­lu­tions for restor­ing their cars.’

He went on to say that the new ven­ture is about more than restora­tion. ‘An­other goal is to dis­cover the her­itage of the brand. We have as­sis­tance from peo­ple who worked for Abarth dur­ing the Carlo era, as well as Storico Ital­iano ASI and Registro Abarth. The cer­ti­fi­ca­tion process is based on the au­then­tic hall­marks on me­chan­i­cal com­po­nents.’

Find out more at­clas­

Clock­wise from top left Carlo Abarth with his cars; Abarth 850s at Monza; new fa­cil­ity on open­ing night; an­other 850 punch­ing above its weight.

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