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Abarth, Carlo


Carlo Abarth (15 November 1908 – 24 October 1979), born Karl Albert Abarth, was an automobile designer. Abarth was born in Austria, but later was naturalized as an Italian citizen; and at this time his first name Karl was changed to its Italian equivalent of Carlo.

Before World War II

Abarth was born in Vienna, during the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. As a teenager, he worked for Castagna in Italy (1925–27), designing motorbike and bicycle chassis. Back in Austria, he worked for Motor Thun and Joseph Opawsky (1927–34), and raced motorbikes, winning his first race on a James Cycle in Salzburg on 29 July 1928. He later was European champion five times, along continuing the engineering. After a serious accident in Linz he abandoned motorbike racing, and designed a sidecar (1933) with which he managed to beat the Orient Express railway on the 1,300-kilometre (810 mi) stretch from Vienna to Ostend (1934).

He moved permanently to Italy in 1934, where he met Ferdinand Porsche's son-in-law Anton Piëch, and married his secretary. In 1938 Abarth was long hospitalized and had his racing career end, due to a racing accident in Ljubljana, Yugoslavia. He remained in that country (with some visits in Austria and Italy) until the war was over.

After World War II

Following this, he moved to Merano, where his ancestors originated from. Abarth got to know both Tazio Nuvolari and the family-friend Ferry Porsche, and, together with engineer Rudolf Hruska and Piero Dusio, he established the Compagnia Industriale Sportiva Italia (CIS Italia, later becoming Cisitalia), having the Italian Porsche Konstruktionen agency (1943–48). The first automobile outcome of this cooperation was the rather unsuccessful Tipo 360 F1 prototype (see also Porsche 360). The CIS Italia project ended when Dusio moved to Argentina (1949).

Abarth then founded the Abarth & C. company with Cisitalia racing driver Guido Scagliarini in Bologna (31 March 1949), using his astrological sign, the scorpion, as the company logo. The same year, Abarth & Co moved to Turin. Financed by Scagliarini's father Armando Scagliarini, the company made racing cars, and became a major supplier of high-performance exhaust pipes, that still are in production as Abarth. On 20 October 1965 Abarth personally set various speed records at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza.

He sold the company on 31 July 1971 to Fiat, although he continued to manage it as a CEO for a period. Later then moved back to Vienna, Austria, where he died in 1979.

Private life

Carlo Abarth was married three times. His first wife was the secretary of Anton Piëch in Vienna. He married his second wife, Nadina Abarth-Zerjav, in 1949. They lived together until 1966, and divorced in 1979. The same year, about six weeks before his death, Abarth married his third wife, Anneliese Abarth; she continues to head the Carlo Abarth Foundation and wrote one of his biographies in 2010.


Notable designs

Photo Model Production Comments
ABARTH 204A.jpg Cisitalia-Abarth 204A Motto Spider 1949-1950  
1950-Abarth205Monza.jpg Abarth 205 Vignale Berlinetta 1950-1951  
1952 Abarth 1500 Biposto BAT 1 - Flickr - edvvc (1).jpg Abarth 1500 Biposto Coupé 1952 One-off
  Ferrari 166 MM/53 Abarth Spyder 1953 One-off
  Abarth Renault Boano 1954  
Abarth 207 Boano sx.jpg Abarth 207A Boano Spider 1955  
  Abarth 208A Spider Boano 1955 One-off
1955 Abarth 209A Coupe Boano photo3.JPG Abarth 209A Boano Coupé 1955 One-off
  Abarth 210A Spider Boano 1955  
Fiat Abarth 750 (3).JPG Abarth Fiat 600 1956-1959 Versies:
- 700 S
- 750 Berlina
- 750 Gran Turismo
- 750 Zagato
Fiat 500 Abarth - Flickr - Supermac1961.jpg Abarth Fiat 500 1957-1971 Versions:
- 595
- 595 SS
- 695
- 695 SS
- 695 SS Assetto Corsa
- 695 SS Competizione
  Abarth 1000 GT Coupé 1958  
  Abarth Fiat 2200 Coupé Allemano 1959-1961  
Porsche 356 Abarth blue vl TCE.jpg Porsche 356 Carrera Abarth GTL 1960-1961  
Fiat Abarth 850 TC Grey pic1.JPG Abarth Fiat 850 1960-1968 Versions:
- 850 Allemano
- 850 TC Berlina
- 850 TC Corsa
- 850 TC Nürburgring
- 850 TC Nürburgring Corsa
- OT 1000
- OT 1300
- OT 1600
- OT 2000
  Abarth 700-1000 Spider Tubolare 1961  
  Abarth Mono Mille 1961-1965 Versions:
- Scorpione
- GT
Fiat Abarth 1000TC on French plates.jpg Abarth Fiat 1000 1961-1967 Versions:
- 1000 Berlina
- 1000 Berlina Corsa
- 1000 TC Berlina Corsa
- 1000 TCR Berlina Corsa
- 1000 Zagato
Abarth Simca 1300 in red.jpg Abarth Simca 1300 1962  
Abarth Simca 2000 front.jpg Abarth Simca 2000 1963  
  Abarth Fiat 2400 Coupé 1964  
Simca 1150-Abarth.jpg Abarth Simca 1150 1964-1966 Versions:
- 1150
- 1150 S
- 1150 SS
  Abarth 1000SP 1966  
  Abarth 2000 Cuneo 1968  
  Abarth Fiat 2000 Sport Tipo SE 010 1968  
  Abarth 2000 Pininfarina Scorpione 1969 One-off
Abarth Scorpione 1969 seitlich.JPG Abarth 1300 Scorpione 1969-1971 Versions:
- Scorpione
- Scorpione S
- Scorpione SS
Château-Savigny-lès-Beaune 04.jpg Abarth SE 020 1970  
  Abarth SE 022 1971  
Abarth Autobianchi A112 Front.jpg Abarth Autobianchi A112 1971-1985 Seven generations
1972 Abarth Osella SE021.jpg Abarth-Osella SE 021 1972 Built by Enzo Osella, after taking over Abarth's racing activities.
Fiat 124 Spider (12159439873).jpg Abarth Fiat 124 Rally 1972-1975  
Abarth Osella PA 1, Bj. 1973 (2011-08-13 Sp B),.JPG Abarth-Osella PA1 1973 Built by Enzo Osella, after taking over Abarth's racing activities.
  Abarth Fiat 030 1974  
  Abarth-Osella PA2 1974 Built by Enzo Osella, after taking over Abarth's racing activities.
Fiat 131 Abarth 001.JPG Abarth Fiat 131 Rally 1976-1978  
Ritmo Abarth 130 TC.JPG Abarth Fiat Ritmo 1982-1988 Versions:
- 125 TC
- 130 TC
Abarth Punto Evo - Flickr - David Villarreal Fernández (1).jpg Abarth Grande Punto/Abarth Punto Evo 2008-2014 Versions:
- Grande Punto
- Punto Evo
- Grande Punto S2000
- Grande Punto SS (SuperSport)
- Punto Scorpione
Fiat 500 Abarth front.JPG Abarth 500 2008-present Versions:
- 500
- 500 C
- 500 Assetto Corse
- 500 Custom
- 500 C Custom
- 500 R3T
- 595 50mo Anniversario
- 595 Competizione
- 595 C Competizione
- 595 Turismo
- 595 C Turismo
- 695 Assetto Corse
- 695 Biposto
- 695 Fuori
- 695 Maserati Edition[8]
2016-03-01 Geneva Motor Show 1220.JPG Abarth 124 Spider 2016-present Versions:
- 124 Spider
- 124 Spider Rally

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