Abarth-Fiat 500. Small but brave

Auto Motor Klassiek » Special » Abarth-Fiat 500. Small but brave
Purchasing classics there

Carlo Abarth was a scorpion. And then we are in the constellation corner. Hence its brand logo. The Austrian Italian started his company in 1949. He resumed entrepreneurship after the Cisitalia factory team was dissolved. From the legacy of the overturned Cisitalia, Abarth was left with five 204 cars. Two of them were ready. There was also a one-seater. The two-seaters were immediately rebranded as Abarth 204A, so that was an easy birth. We found a nice Abarth-Fiat 500.

Fast stuff for everyone

But the revenue model was soon in making just as fast stuff for Fiats, Simca's, Lancia's and Cisitalia's. Think mainly of intake manifolds and exhaust systems. Original (NOS) Abarth exhausts are now well-priced collector's items. And at Fiat they have been meeting for years to tackle the production of imitation LD exhaust systems by third parties and Chinese. The fact that there is Abarth on an exhaust system does not mean much more than that Abarth is on it. In 1952 the serious cooperation with Fiat became a fact. In the 1971s, Abarth, Abarths were successful in hill climbing competitions, in rallies and on circuits. And in 1971 Fiat took over the entire shop. So there are now hard core enthusiasts who are sure that only Abarths from before 500 are Real Abarths. This Abarth-Fiat 1968 is from XNUMX. So we get away with that nicely. And in any case, we are not talking about the very latest Abarths at all.

The 500's and 600's

In our collective philosophy, the Abarths based on Fiat 500s and 600s are the most present. If only because of the Scalextric models from our early childhood. Those were cars with a huge Calimero effect. They were small, but very brave. Nowadays we have to pay attention to what a Fiat Abarth is in this size. Abarth was a supplier of a lot of quick make stuff. And you could happily tinker on or on your regular Fiat. A lot of basic tuning consisted of purchasing an Abarth exhaust system, leaving the hoods ajar and lovingly sticking Abarth stickers. According to our sources, a very real Abarth 600 could even be made of thinner sheet steel than the convection Abarths.

The purchase of a classic Abarth therefore requires a lot of research, research and control. But then you have something. We found the Abarth-Fiat 500 plus its civilized brother at Jan Tinga in Ter Aar.

A line of Abarths

  • 1960-1961 - Abarth-FIAT Derivazione, 4 cyl., 747 cc, 46 hp on basic of the Fiat 600
  • 1960-1965 - Abarth –FIAT 850 TC, 4 cyl. 847 cc, 58 hp on asis of the Fiat 600
  • 1960-1965 - Abarth-FIAT 1000 TC Berlina Corsa, 4 cyl, 982 cc, 68 hp based on the Fiat 600
  • 1966-1970 - Abarth-Fiat 850 TC, 4 cyl, 874 cc, 76 hp
  • 1963-1972 - Abartt-Fiar 595, 2 cyl, 594 cc, 30 hp. Based on the Fiat 500
  • 1963-1971 - Abarth-Fiat 695, 2 cyl, 690 cc, 30 hp. Based on the Fiat 500

And then there were the SS or esseesse versions. These were often given up for a few more horsepower and were optically more impressive. About 695 of the 1000 esseeesse were officially made. And about 1200 remain. Just think about how easy it is to make an Abarth. Serious sources estimate that there are about 150 real survivors. The 'normal' Abarths were faster. The SS models are tougher (and faster). For example, the 695 had extended fenders and the bonnet that was ajar as standard.  

Also interesting to read:
- Abarth Replica: tribute or fake?
- Abarth 124 Rally. Impressive competition version of the SportSpider.
- Driving impression Fiat 600 D (1964). Little happiness, great virtue
- The Autobianchi A112. From road planner to evergreen
- The Fiat 500


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  1. in the fifties I came into contact with Roberto Belfi. the son of the owner of ice cream parlor La Venezia in Apeldoorn. he often drove like crazy to Italy to Carlo to get parts. He taught me the virus. When I worked at Leonard Lang FIAT, they said: who drives Fiat has lost his brain, but Abarth drives that is in a class of its own!
    Roberto has unfortunately passed away but his thought lives well with me!

  2. Normally I always try to express constructive criticism, but in this case it becomes difficult. The above text about the smallest Abarth's is very full of nonsense. Unfortunately, In the Dutch (classic) magazines there is rarely a story about the smallest Abarth's published that does justice to the truth. I do not understand why journalists, such as author Dolf Peeters, do not first contact a (real) expert before writing yet another bad article.

    • Well. In marketing circles they say 'As long as people talk about you'. The texts online are a free service to more than 13000 readers per day and are about 500 words long. And you cannot put down a complete documented history in 500 words. But that site does cost money. So the question for me is> Are you an AMK subscriber, or do you just grumble about free content? If you apparently know so much about it yourself, it seems sensible to share that knowledge. You can always send a text to the editors. And then we can check whether it is good.

      • Dear Dolf Peeters,

        For years I neatly bought the AMK every month in the kiosk. I certainly did that for 15/20 years. I read them from front to back and from top to bottom. At some point I noticed that the quality of the writing deteriorated. In my view, it became increasingly clear that commercial interests outweighed journalistic value. I then stopped buying the magazine monthly. I now only buy the magazine if it says something about my beloved brands Abarth and Giannini, if only to keep my “archive”.

        Just providing comments is very easy and that's not my style. Since so much nonsense was and is being written about the Abarth 595/695 series, last year I contacted the also unknown Carlo te Lintelo from Corsa Italia. We then agreed that I would write an extensive article about the Abarth 595/695 series so that enthusiasts can finally read a true story in a Dutch Oldtimer magazine. So if you want to know how it really is with the history of the Abarth 595/695, please contact Carlo and ask if he has a copy of No. 33 left.

        If you had previously contacted the Fiat 500 Club, for example, you would undoubtedly have been referred to one of the Abarth experts within the club and a throbbing story (of only 500 words) had been produced with united forces. With the article written by you, you unfortunately cut a bad figure and the car in question of your business relationship does not fully stand in the right light.

        If you have any questions in the future about the Abarth's on a Fiat 500 basis or cars of the Giannini brand, you can always contact me.


        Rinaldo Sanna

        • Thank you for your offer. There is a small 'but' in the story. Commerce and journalism go hand in hand as long as readers don't want to pay $ 450 / year for four magazines like for a foreign project I'm working on as a freelancer. And if you only buy AMK occasionally, that does not contribute to the stable revenue model. The site aims to provide infotainment and possibly inspire readers to subscribe to the monthly magazine. The site costs us money. That money comes from magazine sales. And if we look at the number of visitors - AMK has the largest NL automotive platform in the Dutch language area - we are not doing it very wrong. I understand criticism, would like to learn something. But don't share your conclusions in this one. And I will contact Carlo. And I am curious if you will buy the running AMK. There is also a story about such a Fiat 500 that does its very best to look like its mean brother. Regardless, enjoy your hobby and your laudable pursuit of perfection. For a possible future Abarth story in AMK I will definitely follow your advice.

  3. You would almost forget to mention that Abarth also tickled our native Daf 55 in the first Marathon run. It had a big fat exhaust pipe exactly in the middle under the rear bumper from which the good Daf gave a deep hum: the sound of the Abarth exhaust.

    The Marathon was a marketing ploy that capitalized on Daf's participation in the London-Sydney Marathon to give the brand a more youthful and sporty image.

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