On this day in auto history – April 15th

Thu 15th Apr 2021

It was on this day in 1949 that the Italian carmaker Abarth was founded in Bologna by five-time European motorcycle champion Carlo Abarth.

Austrian-born Abarth had turned to engineering after a serious accident ended his racing career in 1939 and became sporting director of the famous Cistilia racing team, before eventually taking over the brand and rebranding it Abarth & Co.

Noted for its striking stylised scorpion logo, Abarth moved its operational headquarters to Turin and began a close, racing-orientated association with Fiat alongside developing a range of revolutionary exhaust silencers.

A network of tuning shops also sprung up in the Abarth name, inspired by its success on the sports car racing and hillclimbing circuits.

In 1971, Carlo sold his stake in Abarth to Fiat who took the company in a different direction, even using the Abarth brand to build commercial vehicles alongside high performance models.

Carlo Abarth died back in his native Vienna in 1979 at the age of 70.