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Born in Austria in 1908, Karl Abarth’s birthday made him a Scorpio on the Astrological charts. It was symbolic, for the future car maker would use the image of a scorpion as the symbol of his company.

Initially working as an engineer of bicycle and motorcycle chassis, Abarth went on to become a five-time European champion motorcycle champion aboard a ‘bike that beared his own name.

Post-World War Two, Abarth moved to Italy and changed his name to the more Italian-sounding Carlo. He worked as a design representative for Porsche and collaborated with them in building the open-wheel Cisitalia race cars. When that company went into receivership, Carlo founded the Abarth automobile company.

The company ran a racing team and sold special exhausts for road and race cars. The money gained from these endeavours enabled Abarth to develop his own take on the Fiat 600. Using that car’s underpinnings and bodies by famous Italian coach-builder Zagato, the resultant Fiat Abarth 750 Zagato had more than twice the power of the car upon which it was based.

Abarth’s relationship with Fiat blossomed, and the 1958 the Fiat 500 Abarth was born.

Fast-forward to the 21st century and the legendary scorpion badge has reappeared, this time as an official performance sub-brand of Fiat.

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