The entrance to Officine Abarth gives you a clue to the treats in store, with twelve of Abarth’s most important cars on show.
It’s the location of Abarth HQ, and a fantastic collection of classic Abarths. There’s a prototype-in-resin of the roadgoing 124 Spider along with a new 300hp hardtop Abarth 124 rally car in superb 1970s Group 4 livery, a Tatuus Abarth Formula 4 single-seater, a minuscule 1000 Monoposto racer, and a real gem in the 1956 Bertone 750 Record car which hit 118mph on just 47hp.
The guide ushers us into the Abarth factory for a quick glimpse of Abarth 124 Spiders being built up on imported Mazda chassis/body units. We walk past a wonderful recreation of Carlo Abarth’s 1960s office into a huge workshop full of classic Abarths. This is Abarth Classiche.
Ferrari’s incredibly successful Classiche program (factory restoration and certification for classic Ferraris) has inspired Abarth to create a similar setup for owners of 20-year-old plus Fiat, Abarth and Lancia classics. Abarth HQ will check your car and (with your permission) return it to original spec, using correct parts as necessary.
It’s not cheap. Outside of the restoration costs, the final Classiche certification costs 1000 euros. The thing is though, ownership of the cased certification pack can boost a car’s value by up to 10,000 euros. It must be stacking up for owners as more than 50 of them have already signed up for it.
In the workshop just now are a beautiful Zagato-bodied 750 Record Monza, based on a humble Fiat 600 but nevertheless valued at 120,000 euros, and an ex-Markku Alen Fiat-Abarth 131 rally car whose incorrect one-piece exhaust is being replaced by a scratch-fabricated (and, most importantly, correct) two-piper.
As you’d expect, there’s a Fiat-Abarth 695 SS, and – gratifyingly – two examples of the 1980s Ritmo hot hatch: a Series 1 Fiat Ritmo Abarth 125TC and a Series 2 130TC. Smashing.