Before Abarth was the inhouse tuning and racing division of Fiat, it was an independant automaker and racing team. Fiat purchased the company in 1971 and, if our research proves sound, the last Abarth model by Fiat was the 1984 Ritmo 130 TC Abarth. The rebirth of the Abarth name and a new "Scorpion" logo will be spearheaded by this car, the Grande Punto Abarth Preview, a production version of which will go on sale in September. The show car that will be unveiled in Geneva features a turbocharged 1.4L petrol engine producing 150 bhp, which is 50bhp less than what we originally thought. At some point later, however, an even more powerful version with 180bhp, twice as much as the base Grande Punto, will be released.
No word on pricing or any deeper details than we've already discussed are available, so you'll have to wait until we touch down in Geneva to learn more. Also on the stand with this car will be the Grande Punto Abarth S2000, a racing version of the production model that will be entered in the 2007 Italian Rally Championship and the Intercontinental Rallye Challenge. It's powered by a much more potent 2.0L engine producing 270bhp and driving all four wheels. Both cars can be viewed in our high-resolution gallery.
[Source: Fiat via Autoblog Spanish]
The legendary Abarth "Scorpion" returns
A great project will be launched at the 77th Geneva International Motor Show: the rebirth of one of the most prestigious brands in world motorsports. Its symbol is a scorpion, and its name is Abarth.
Abarth has always been synonymous with assertive cars, competitiveness, passion and excitement, and it now returns with a new range that will appeal to all lovers of motorsports. Abarth's first interpretation of the Grande Punto will be on the "catwalk" at the Geneva Show, the first step in an initiative which will later involve other models.
This new adventure starts in the familiar, uniquely emotional context and exclusive setting of the Geneva Motor Show. A striking stand has been prepared, in line with the philosophy of Abarth's rebirth, an innovative space with a fresh, contemporary, technological language and great attention to every detail. The new elements that will publicise the Abarth brand are displayed with all their strong, original personality: the revamped version of the famous Abarth racing stripe has been rendered with LED tiles, while the new logo, the scorpion and the wording are all large, three-dimensional elements in polished, satin-effect aluminium.
The Abarth values and tradition on the other hand are underlined discreetly and technologically: refined materials and precious finishing details in aluminium, carbon fibre, enamel and lacquer decorate the exhibition area, and draw attention to the true stars of the stand: the Grande Punto Abarth S2000, a car that has been type-approved for racing and is proving to be highly successful, and the Grande Punto Abarth Preview, a concept car making its world debut.
These are the two souls of the Abarth world: racing and standard production.
Visitors to the Geneva Show will also have an opportunity to discover a third field in which the brand operates; a multimedia configurator will illustrate the whole concept of the 'Abarth Kit', and the flexibility and wide range of combinations that the brand will offer customers in its conversion kits. Some of these solid wooden boxes, inlaid with satin-finished aluminium trims, are on display inside glass cubes, with the historic mechanical and stylistic components from the conversion kits.
And finally, by means of exclusive LED technology and plasma screens, the walls of the stand propose historical photographs and films, alternating them with a reproduction of the new Abarth racing stripe, underlining the fine link between the past and the future, as well as the energy and personality that are inherent in the Abarth brand.
The Grande Punto Abarth Preview
The absolute star of the stand is the Grande Punto Abarth Preview, a true jewel of assertiveness and elegance. The car will be marketed in September, to enhance the sporty, youthful positioning of the Grande Punto.
The car on show in Geneva is equipped with a 1.4 Turbo petrol engine that delivers 150 bhp at 5500 rpm, boosted to 155 bhp by the adoption of 98 RON petrol. What is more, thanks to a booster kit, a version with twice as much power as the basic version (180 bhp) will soon be available. This is a revival of a tradition from the past: for example, the Fiat 500 of 1958 delivered 13 bhp at 4000 rpm with a top speed of 85 km/h, while the Fiat 500 Abarth of the same year delivered 26 bhp at 5000 rpm and a top speed of 118 km/h.
The Grande Punto Abarth aims to revive the feats of these entertaining performance cars, offering young drivers in particular an opportunity to enter the racing world in complete safety and at an accessible price.
The Grande Punto Abarth S2000
The public in Geneva will also be able to admire the extraordinary Grande Punto Abarth S2000. This is a racing car designed for racing stables, which the Fiat Racing Department will be entering in the 2007 Italian Rally Championship with Giandomenico Basso and his navigator Mitia Dotta. Davide Gatti, winner of the 2006 Fiat Abarth International Trophy, will compete at the wheel of an official Fiat Grande Punto R3D with a diesel engine. On the international scene, the Grande Punto Abarth S2000 will compete in the IRC (Intercontinental Rally Challenge) with drivers Andrea Navarra, his navigator Guido D'Amore, and young Umberto Scandola and Anton Alen.
The Abarth & C. Spa racing team will be managed by Claudio Berro.
Powered by a 2000 cc aspirated engine that delivers 270 bhp, with 4-wheel drive, the new Grande Punto Abarth S2000 is heir to the version that took the 2006 Italian Rally Championship title with Paolo Andreucci and Anna Andreussi, winning 7 of the 11 races on the programme. Nor must we forget the excellent season of their team-mates Andrea Navarra and Guido D'Amore who took third place. Giandomenico Basso and Mitia Dotta won the European title and the International Rally Challenge.
Since its debut last season, the racing version has proved unbeatable, whatever the type of route or terrain. And we must underline that the 15 cars built so far have been ordered by several racing stables in Europe and elsewhere, to compete in domestic and international rallies. And now, thanks to this technological and competitive superiority, the new Grande Punto Abarth S2000 is ready to compete in these two championships with the same determination and assertiveness.
And finally, as well as a successful car and an outstanding team of drivers, the new Abarth & C. company can also boast a staff with a great deal of experience in motorsports: a total of 113 experts, 26 in the engineering field, 43 on the manufacturing side and 9 dedicated to racing.