Fiat’s sporty sub-brand gets into the classic market
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 at www.abarthclassiche.com.
Clockwise from top left Carlo Abarth with his cars; Abarth 850s at Monza; new facility on opening night; another 850 punching above its weight.