Abarth's successful history has served as an example and role model for many aspiring car manufacturers. In its piggy bank today there are more than 7.5 thousand records, among which there are achievements of both international and even worldwide.
Karl Abarth, the creator of Abarth, was born in Vienna and got his first experience with transport at the age of seventeen, when he was hired in Milan by Castagna, a company specializing in the design of chassis for bicycles and motorcycles. Ten years later, Karl returned to Austria and, having extensive experience with motorcycles, got a job at Motor Thun Motorcycle. In parallel with his main job, Karl is fond of racing, which he often wins and eventually becomes a multiple European champion.
With the outbreak of World War II, in order not to jeopardize his racing career, Karl moved to Italy. Known to the public under the name Carlo Abarth, he continues to do what he loves until he gets into a serious accident at the Yugoslav races, after which he has to undergo treatment for three years. After the restoration of vitality, Carlo decides to stay in Yugoslavia, and begins cooperation with Ignaz Vogue. The partners are working on improving the engines, as well as changing the car's fuel system so that it runs on kerosene. It is in this job that Karl Abarth gains professional experience that will be so useful to him in the future.
At the end of World War II, Karl returned to Milan, where he collaborated with Rudolfo Chruschi. Ferdinand Porsche's son Ferry becomes a friend of Karl, thanks to whom he gets a place in his father's company. From that moment on, Carlo and Rudolfo take over the management of the Porsche Italy subsidiary. And after a while he left for the position of technical director and race car driver in Pierre Duzio's Cisitalia company, where he worked until 1949, after which he started his own business.
Carlo Abarth, who at that time managed to earn a good fortune and became famous as a successful race car driver, is building his own plant in Italy. It employs only about forty people in a small enterprise. The plant specializes in the production of accessories for cars, as well as spare parts and components such as manifolds, gearboxes, exhaust pipes, valves, and more. The plant's revenues allow Abart to continue to engage in auto racing.
The first brainchild of the company was the Abarth 1100 sports roadster. Driving this car, the founder of the company personally took part in a number of competitions, having won almost two dozen victories.
In 1950, Carlo Abarth unveiled the Abarth 204 at the Turin Motor Show. It boasted an upgraded 1.09 liter Fiat engine with two carburettors, magneto ignition, top pipes and special tailpipes. The maximum speed of the car became a very high mark of 190 km / h for those times. It was the first fruit of a long-term collaboration between the two firms. During this time Abarth had short-term contracts with Alfa Romeo and Simca, but the partnership with Fiat was never interrupted.
Abarth cars win many races. Their technical characteristics outperform competitors and enthusiastic Fiat owners pay good money to Abarth for each prize in order to motivate the company for new ideas to improve their cars.
Two years later, an improved version of the 204th model, the Abarth 205, was released. It got a number of minor technical improvements and a new body developed by Vignale. The car was such a great success that even the CEO of Packard was noted among its buyers, who, however, changed the body for the development of the Bertone studio. At the same time, Carlo Abarth was involved in the development of new models of Fiat vehicles as well as sports exhaust systems for this and several other brands.
After gaining recognition in the US car market, Abarth released the new 207A for it. The car was based on a Fiat 1100 chassis, had an engine with power increased to 66 horsepower and an open Boano roadster body. The transmission with an adjustable gear ratio allowed a maximum speed of 165-186 km / h to be reached. This car was in great demand, which gave rise to the decision to release it in a coupe version.
To advertise his products, Carlo Abarth tried to regularly set and update all kinds of records related to motor sports. One of the most successful cars in this regard was the modernized Fiat 600 in 1956, which had a 0.75 liter engine. This car holds dozens of speed and duration records, including two world records. The record streak ended 10 years after the start, when Austrian racing driver Johannes Ortner was able to cover the quarter mile in just 13.035s. After that, the venerable old man was replaced by a modern development of the company - the Fiat Abarth 2000 Sport model, which continued to replenish the company's piggy bank with new achievements.
Cars made by Carlo Abarth were in great demand among beginners and professional racers. The Fiat 600 upgraded by him, which, depending on the version, had an engine capacity of 750 or 1000 cubic centimeters, competed on many tracks in the world, and was known to all motorsport fans.
One of the few deviations from Fiat's collaboration with Abarth is a project to improve the Simca 1000. This French subcompact, produced in the early 1960s, appealed to the founder of the firm and made several modifications for racing. Simca Abarths have engines ranging from 1.6 to 2.0 liters, and the top speed of this line of sports cars has reached 230 km / h.
In 1967, Carlo Abarth developed a powerful 6-liter 12-cylinder engine with 600 horsepower. This engine was planned as an application for first place in the Designers' Cup, but dreams were destroyed by the decision of the International Automobile Federation (FIA), which limited the maximum engine capacity that is allowed to participate in the cup to 3 liters. As a result, the completely finished car became just an exhibition model. In 1971, Carlo Abarth decided to retire. His company was bought out by the industrial group Fiat, and today Abarth is known only as an ordinary tuning studio.