Customization programs are nothing new in the auto industry. For a fee, they offer a chance to work directly with the manufacturer to create a one-of-a-kind vehicle for the customer. These programs, however, are usually offered by makers of the most exotic, expensive and exclusive vehicles, like Ferrari, Rolls-Royce and Porsche. It's not often that a manufacturer of, shall we say, a more humble stature, offers this type of vehicle personalization. Nevertheless, that's exactly what Fiat is doing with its "Fuori Serie" program.
The Italian automaker's new personalization program is being offered only for Abarth models, and is represented at the Paris Motor Show by the Fiat 500 Abarth Fuori Serie, a stunning reinterpretation of the Fiat Abarth 131 Mirafiori "Olio Fiat" livery that debuted at the 1976 Monte Carlo Rally. The matte yellow-and-blue colors of the livery are the most striking aspect of the car, but walking around it reveals other details like a hood that features a NACA duct on one side and louvered vent on the other, the highly polished wheels with yellow center caps that match the painted Brembo brake calipers, and lastly, the special "Fuori Serie" and "695" badging. Along with colors and finishes, Fuori Serie vehicles also get a special 180-horsepower tune of Abarth's 1.4-liter turbo that normally leaves the factory with 160 hp.
The 500 Abarth Fuori Serie is just one example of what a customer can create using Fiat's new program, which starts by choosing one of two customization collections: Heritage or New Wave. The car you see here came from the Heritage collection, which draws its colors, materials and finishes from Fiat's motorsports exploits. The New Wave collection, meanwhile, draws inspiration from the "modern world." We're not quite sure what that means, but hopefully Fiat will show up at the next international auto show with another Fuori Serie car to explain.
Related Gallery2013 Fiat 500 Abarth Fuori Serie: Paris 2012
"Abarth Fuori serie" on stage at the Paris International Motor Show
Abarth has always based its philosophy on the concepts of "empowerment", tuning and transforming something ordinary into something extraordinary. Ever since the "small but deadly" Abarth 500s came on the scene in 2008, Abarth road cars have always had that one extra drop of poison that makes them unique and top performers.
Whoever chooses an Abarth wants to stand out in the crowd. Aware of this, Abarth is increasingly focusing its attention on the concept of personalisation to give its customers, as much as possible, the chance to choose and build a car that perfectly adapts to the driver's personality and driving requirements. It achieves this goal by offering an ever-larger range of performance kits and accessories along with interior and exterior customisation options.
The customisation path that Abarth has followed in recent years takes solid form in the new Abarth range. The first level, the Abarth 500, is a "custom" version that at the same time offers a higher degree of accessibility and vast possibilities for customisation and tuning. It is a more accessible model that, like an imaginary blank sheet of paper on which you can draw your dream car, can be customised based on your own personal means and needs. This is made possible by performance tuning kits and a range of accessories, such as gear lever knobs and pedal units, stickers and new colours and materials for exteriors and interiors.
The range is represented at the Paris stand by two customisations, the Abarth 595 "turismo" and the "Abarth 595 "competizione", two authentic Abarths with tuning as standard. In the first version, the tuning concerns the engine, geometry and braking system, in addition to a high level of interior and exterior details for those customers who identify with values such as the more exclusive elegance, refinement, comfort and sportiness oriented toward the world of "Gran Turismo". In the Abarth 595 "competizione", the tuning also affects the exhaust system, with the "Record Monza" exhaust fitted as standard, and the "Abarth Corse by Sabelt" sports seats for those who see themselves as downright "race lovers", inspired by the full-blooded world of racing.
The highest customisation level - definitely "all inclusive" - is the world of Abarth Specialties. In Paris it is represented by the 695 Edizione Maserati, a concentrate of sportiness, class and performance produced by Abarth and Maserati.
The Paris Motor Show is above all where the future evolution of the world of Specialties is making its official début. This sector is the ultimate level of customisation combined with the exclusivity of a car built for and dedicated to every single customer. "Abarth Fuori Serie" is the new programme that represents the point of arrival of a path Abarth has been travelling in recent years with the aim of increasing the possibilities of choice and customisation for its customers more and more. This exclusive programme is where customisation starts from performance, consistent with the brand's spirit. Only the "Fuori Serie" - special production - cars will have the 180 HP engine tuning and will feature the exclusive 695 brand. Exclusivity is also found in the production process since all the "Fuori Serie" cars will be developed, produced and type-approved at the Abarth "factory of victory".
Testifying to the authenticity of its Abarth factory origin is a certificate issued together with the car, in addition to the fact that Abarth&C. will actually be its first owner. To help guide its customers in making their selection, Abarth has created two specific collections: Heritage and New Wave. Heritage comes with liveries inspired by the record-breaking cars of the past and those that have written the brand's history. New Wave draws its inspiration from today's supercars with an eye to innovation. What's more, the interiors will be customised with specific materials and trim levels, made by involving superior Italian and international partners that share values such as craftsmanship and high quality with the brand. The result? Carbon finishes, dedicated personalisation plates and cutting-edge technology, as seen in the JBL car audio system, which HARMAN has custom-developed for Abarth.
To represent this programme, Abarth is presenting an unprecedented Abarth 500 at the Paris stand. It sports a special livery inspired by the cars that wrote the brand's history: the Fiat Abarth 131 Mirafiori "Olio Fiat". The Abarth stand at the Paris International Motor Show depicts this course taken with a conceptual common thread that links the four cars presented to the public through the concept of customisation.
The concept of customisation, however, also pervades the Abarth world of racing with the project "Make it your race", where in this case personalisation is intended as the realisation of one's personal dream of becoming a racing driver. Following the extraordinary success of the 2012 edition, boasting more than 30,000 registrants, "Make it your race" will be back with the new 2013 edition updated in contents and extended to a more global level. It is the international talent show that gives young racing fan rookies the chance to compete in a real Abarth 500 Trofeo race. The success of the 2012 "Make it your race" adds to that of the Abarth 500 Selenia Trofeo events, with this year marking its fourth season and now coming to an end with only a few races left to contend. More specifically, with just one race left before the season ends, the Abarth 500 Selenia Europe Trofeo has already decreed Alex Campani the absolute winner, whereas the contest is still open in the Abarth 500 Selenia Italy Trophy, with Campani, Baldan and Scalvini neck and neck.
The four cars on the Paris stand make their contribution to the established success of the brand, which once again reached its predetermined targets for the year. More than 5000 cars have been sold in 2012 to date. The contribution made by the Abarth Specialties is also sizeable. Over 1600 Abarth 695 Tributo Ferraris have been delivered since its launch in July 2008, and the Abarth 695 Edizione Maserati has already become extremely popular with the public since it was officially presented in May at the Automotive Giro d'Italia. These figures contribute to confirming the excellent results the brand has recorded since its relaunch to date. Suffice it to say that since 2008 the brand has grown non-stop, as about 44,000 Abarth Punto and Abarth 500 cars sold, plus more than 12,000 performance kits for the two models, demonstrate.
This commercial success was also possible thanks to the extraordinary network of dealers and official tuning shops, a phenomenon which is unique in its field and which, after branching out into new markets such as Finland and South Africa in 2011, forged further ahead into other new markets such as Morocco and Ukraine during the first half of 2012. Following the great success of its presentation at the LA Auto Show, the Abarth 500 was also launched on the US market in March.
Turin, 17th September 2012
The new "Fuori Serie" programme will be revealed at the Paris Motor Show. Abarth dedicates it to everyone who wants the ultimate level of customisation together with the exclusivity of a car built just for them. With the "Fuori Serie" programme, customers will have the chance to talk personally with the manufacturer to have their Abarths customised down to the smallest detail by a team of specialised Abarth designers, engineers and mechanics. A representation of the Officine Abarth Mirafiori showcases the project on the Paris stand. It is there where Abarth designers and engineers work with passion and professional expertise every day, and where the "Abarth Fuori Serie" team will guide customers in making their selections, devoting utmost attention to the details, craftsmanship and advanced technology that go into the car.
This exclusive programme is where customisation starts from performance, consistent with Abarth's spirit. Only the "Fuori Serie" - special production - cars will have 180 HP power tuning and will feature the exclusive 695 brand. Exclusivity is also found in the production process since all the "Fuori Serie" cars will be produced and type-approved at the Abarth "factory of victory". Testifying to their authenticity is a certificate issued together with the car, in addition to the fact that Abarth&C. will actually be its first owner. Lastly, the materials and finishes are also exclusive since the customer can choose from a range of colours and materials that are not offered in the standard product range.
Abarth has created two special collections to orient customers in their selection. In addition to liveries and exterior colours, they feature the use of special materials and trim levels, such as carbon finishes, dedicated personalisation plates and advanced technology outfitting like the Harman's JBL audio system, for a superior-in-car listening experience
Races have always been a part of Abarth's DNA. This collection, inspired by the cars that have written the brand's history, reinterpret their style with new materials and new finishes. From the Fiat 750 Record and 124 Sanremo all the way up to the X19 prototype: these are the record-breaking cars, the Abarth world rally champions, those driven by the greatest sports drivers that are being reinterpreted in a modern guise with a range of materials and finishes ranging from carbon fibre to sports fabrics, from leather to Alcantara, and from glossy to matt liveries.
A collection inspired by a modern world, sportsmanship - not necessarily drawn from the world of racing - as well as supercars and today's trends. Sportiness is also achieved through use of materials from research in the automotive field and in all the most technical sports.
Taken from the first of these collections is the brand-new livery being presented at the Paris International Motor Show, which draws its inspiration from the Fiat Abarth 131 Mirafiori "Olio Fiat". The "Olio Fiat" livery appeared the first time on the Fiat 124 Abarth Rally at the 1976 Montecarlo Rally, which Abarth competed in with three official teams. Three Autobianchi A112 Abarth 70 HP cars also competed in the same race, and with the same livery. The Fiat 124 Abarth Rally was still a winning competitor at the beginning of the 1976 racing season while awaiting the arrival of the new Fiat 131 Abarth. This made its début in the World Championship by winning the 1000 Lakes Rally in Finland, with the team of Markku Alen and Ilkka Kivimaki.
It was the start of a brilliant career that led the Fiat 131 Abarth to win the 1977 Constructors' Rally World Championship, the only world standings. The Abarth won the Portugal Rally with Alen, the New Zealand Rally with Fulvio Bacchelli, the Canada Rally, Quebec with Timo Salonen, the Sanremo Rally with Jean Claude Andruet and the Tour de Corse with Bernard Darniche in the 1977 season. The 1977 title was not the only international one as the Fiat 131 Abarth also made a name for itself in the 1978 and 1980 Constructors' World Championships. Its victories also include the European title in 1981 and the 1980 Italian championship, both won by Adartico Vudafieri.