What started as a one-off is now a limited-production mini supercar.
How much do you really know about Abarth? The brand was founded as a racing team in 1949 by Carlo Abarth, and it set up shop in Turin in 1951. That's when the close working relationship with Fiat started. After a decent racing career, Carlo sold Abarth to Fiat, who did almost nothing with the brand. It reemerged in the early 2000s as a trim in the Fiat Stilo range.
The first standalone model was the Abarth Grande Punto, but it was the humble Fiat 500 that took the go-faster brand to new heights. It was followed by the Abarth 124 Spider in 2015. Neither of these cars really made a splash, but all that is about to change.
Stellantis recently unveiled the brand-new Abarth Classiche 1000 SP, built on the bones of the famous Alfa Romeo 4C. It was supposed to be a one-off, but interest was so high that the Italians decided to give it the green light.
To understand where the Abarth Classiche 1000 SP comes from, we need to turn the clock back to 1966. Carlo Abarth lured famous race car designer Mario Colucci away from Alfa Romeo, and together, the two designed the Fiat Abarth 1000 SP, explicitly aimed at gentleman racers.
Fast forward to 2009. Abarth and Alfa Romeo were owned by FCA, which would later be incorporated into the Stellantis Group. Following the success of the 500 Abarth, it decided to broaden its range. Alfa Romeo was in the same position, so the two started working together on a lightweight sports car.
The Alfa Romeo 4C was launched in 2013, but Abarth's planned 1000 SP never made it past the sketch phase. Instead, Fiat made a deal with Mazda to co-develop the ND Miata, resulting in the Abarth 124 Spider. It was not a hit.
But Abarth's time has now come with the introduction of the new Abarth Classiche 1000 SP.
As you can see, the exterior is a modern interpretation of the 1966 model. Note the open slots for engine cooling, the curvy mudguards, and an exposed roll bar. In keeping with the weight-saving ethos, there is no roof.
It's built using the same carbon tub and 1,742cc turbocharged four-pot used in the 4C. It produces 237 hp at 6,000 rpm and 258 lb-ft of torque at 2,200 rpm, which might not seem like much, but the car's dry weight is claimed to be 2,396 pounds. That's less than a Mazda Miata with an automatic transmission.
Abarth says the Classiche 1000 SP is about to take to the roads, and if you're interested in one, you need to send a mail to Stellantis' heritage department. That likely means it's not cheap and will only be made to order.