Started in 1949 by Carlo Abarth with cars bought from the liquidated
Cisitalia company. It raced and modified cars for competition and
made performance parts and accessories for European cars, though
mainly Fiat. Fiat bought Abarth in 1971, selling the motorsports
division and created a new competition arm that prepared the Fiat 124
coupe for rallying. It also developed the Lancia Beta Montecarlo for
Group 5 (winning the 1980 and 1981 World Sportscar Championships)
and the Lancia 037 Group B that won the 1983 World Manufacturers’
Championship. The Abarth name was shelved in 1981 and didn’t
reappear as an independent model designation until 2007 with the
Abarth Grande Punto. It is now part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
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Abarth, being part of Fiat, now becomes an asset of the
amalgamated Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) that includes
stand-alone marques Chrysler, Jeep, Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Lancia.
FCA was formed in 2014 and is made up of FCA US (Chrysler,
Dodge, Jeep) and FCA Italy (Fiat Group).
Bought Abarth in 1971 to become its competition division but
wound its motorsport operation down and closed the division in
1981. However, Fiat recognised the growing importance of sports
versions of production cars and created the high-performance
Abarth Grande Punto in 2007. It has since added the Abarth
name to its 500 micro car, incoming 124 Spider convertible and is
rumoured to introduce a 500X-based performance SUV.
Abarth developed the Lancia Beta Montecarlo and the Lancia
037 for sportscar and rally competition. The Group B 037 was
predominantly Abarth’s design and engineering. Lancia, part of
the Fiat Group since 1969, sold Chrysler cars under its own label
(Chrysler Voyager and 300C as the Lancia Phedra and Thema
respectively)and also built models in right-hand drive with Chrysler
badges (Lancia Delta is the Chrysler Delta).