Carlo Abarth established his car factory in Italy after World War II, and initially specialized in Fiats. The car he is best known for is indeed the Abarth Fiat 500, which he produced from 1963 to 1971. Fiat itself took over his company in 1973, so that was the end of the party for him (or maybe the beginning, who knows?) but the fact is that he took a Fiat 500 that was anemic by all standards and transformed it in no less than an automotive icon, a classic and a legend in its own right, so popular that over 40 years later, they’ve made a remake of it that’s riding on the fame of the original!
While the original Fiat 500 struggled to ooze out 21 horsepower out of its 0.6 liter engine, Abarth managed to massage nearly twice as much: 38 horsepower! In such a tiny car, it made for a spirited drive, to say the least: the Abarth Fiat 500 could reach 140 km/h, and accelerated to 60 mph in 15 seconds. Those aren’t exactly supercar figures, but in a tiny budget cars in the 60s, it was pretty darn good!
Abarth also improved the handling of the car by tweaking the brakes and suspension, and dramatically improved the look with racing stripes, flaring fenders and larger tires, making this little car the darling of every teenager and young adult. No wonder they made a remake!