As envisaged by the plans to revive the brand, the Abarth & C. Spa company has set up new premises in the Mirafiori complex in Turin, bringing together the manufacturing, design and management functions for the whole company, as well as the staff of the Racing Team who were formerly housed in the historical plant in the nearby town of Chivasso. And it took just eight months to build the new structure and to transfer the racing team, living up to the brand’s reputation for ‘speed’. This is all the more remarkable if we remember that the premises cover an area of more than 23,000 square metres, conceived specifically to house all the brand’s activities, and employ more than 100 people.
Located in the historical Mirafiori Engineering plant – now known as Officine 83 and also the home of the Fiat Group Automobiles Style Centre since 2007 – the new Abarth structure offers important advantages for both the expansion of the brand’s specific activities and for relations with the Fiat Group’s other industrial activities: the location will simplify interaction with the Style Centre, the Experimental construction centre, and the Engineering and Design departments.
The project embodies the same guidelines that accompany the brand’s re-invention: effectiveness, speed, essentiality and functionality.
A large industrial building has been refurnished, but maintains its original industrial configuration, and now houses the workshops where the models are manufactured and developed, divided into different departments: racing cars, prototype development, development of cars derived from standard production and the Racing Department. The technical and design offices are located next to the workshops, while the Marketing and the Sales & Network Development functions are housed on the first floor, with the other business support functions (Finance, Purchasing, etc.).
The entrance introduces the brand’s distinctive elements immediately: an Italian flag on the white side walls to underline the brand’s nationality, and a 1 metre high 3D rendering of the classic Abarth shield, made of steel.
The Abarth name appears over the main door, also in steel, 208 cm long and 25 cm high; a texture mounted on adhesive on the sliding glass door represents the car’s main mechanical components, a distinctive element of all Abarth dealers.
Beyond the entrance are the words ‘Officine Mirafiori’ (in relief) under another classic Abarth shield, which underlines the parent company’s determination to maintain the brand’s historical values and seamless continuity with the past. On the right, is the characteristic ‘Abarth wall of fame’: 40 photographs from the past that celebrate Abarth’s victories, successes and most important models, like the one in Carlo Abarth’s office 60 years ago.
The generous space to the left of the entrance will house a 560 square metre showroom, which will illustrate the brand’s past and future through a display of models and distinctive elements from Abarth’s history. With the strong imprint of the corporate colours (red and white with grey details), the exhibition space harks back to the past, underlining that the link with tradition is not only ideal but real and visible.
Next to the showroom is a chequered doorway – a symbol that represents the finishing line of endurance races and was applied on the roofs of cars with the Scorpion badge – leading to a small room where the new 500 Abarth will be displayed during the inauguration of the new premises, standing on a large aluminium scorpion: this ‘small but wicked’ car will be the only one in the room, a striking way of underlining the importance of its launch.
Another element that conveys the personality of the whole centre is the new workshop, which is equipped with eight car lifts for carrying out tuning operations on the cars. A special area has also been earmarked as a future assembly line for cars in small production runs. The route through the workshops is marked by a red Abarth strip (3.5 metres tall) on all the walls, to demonstrate that the Abarth spirit involves the whole company.
After the workshops is the area set aside for the various warehouses, where the walls are painted dark grey. Nothing random about this: grey was the colour that Carlo Abarth used on his cars (to produce it, he used tins of paint destined to the aircraft at the airfield adjacent to the original headquarters in Corso Marche).