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The return of Abarth

 

by Stephen Walker

 

21st September, 2007

Abarth Grande Punto

Suzuki has given us the Swift Sport and now Fiat is preparing for the Grande Punto Sport. In so doing, Fiat will revive the once famous Abarth name and produce not the Fiat Grande Punto Sport but the Abarth Grande Punto as it endeavours to liven up the image of the Italian car company.

Decades ago, the Abarth name meant a 'fire-breathing' enhancement to routine Fiat cars, much like HSV and FPV add an element of excitement to Holden and Ford cars.

The Abarth Grande Punto, the first product the wear the revived 'Abarth' badge will be released in Italy this month and in Switzerland by the end of the year. Other European markets will follow during 2008.

To furnish the new brand with sufficient product to make the Abarth exercise worthwhile, additional Fiat models will be enhanced in the future. As many as four models will feature in the line-up before 2009 arrives.

Many enthusiasts will, no doubt, be hoping that the recently released Fiat 500 will be amongst the models chosen for the Abarth re-invigoration. That's because it was the tiny Fiat 500 and 600 of old that saw the name Abarth spark interest in hotting-up old Fiats. There is even the odd Fiat Abarth still motoring along in Australia, delighting those with good memories with each sighting. They are easy to distinguish from other Fiat 500/600s by the engine lid which doesn't fully close! And, of course, mandatory bonnet straps are fitted, too.

Given the struggle that Fiat is having in re-establishing the brand in Australia, it is considered unlikely that Abarth will be sold by Australian Fiat dealers.

To support the brand, the company, which is known as Abarth & C. S.p.A., will present itself in motor sport.

The company is based at Fiat's Mirafiori site in Italy.



Abarth content: here.

Fiat content: here.



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