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Karl (Carlo) Abarth (November 15, 1908 - October 24, 1979) was an Italian-Austrian automobile designer.
Abarth was born in Vienna, during the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. As a teenager, he worked for Castagna in Italy (1925-27), designing motorbike and bicycle chassis. Back in Austria, he worked for Motor Thun and Joseph Opawsky (1927-34), and raced motorbikes, winning his first race on a James Cycle in Salzburg on July 29, 1928). He later was European champion five times, along continuing the engineering. After a serious accident in Linz he abandoned motorbike racing, and designed a sidecar (1933) with which he managed to beat the Orient Express railway on the 1300 kilometer stretch from Vienna to Ostend (1934).
He moved permanently to Italy in 1934, where he met Ferdinand Porsche's son-in-law Anton Piëch, and married his secretary. Abarth was long hospitalized and had his racing career end, due to a racing accident in Yugoslavia (1938). Following this, he moved to Merano, where his ancestors originated from. Abarth got to know both Tazio Nuvolari and the family-friend Ferry Porsche, and with engineer Rudolf Hruska and Piero Dusio, he established the «Compagnia Industriale Sportiva Italia» (CIS Italia, later becoming Cisitalia), having the Italian Porsche Konstruktionen agency (1943-48). The first automobile outcome of this cooperation was the rather unsuccessful «Tipo 360» F1 prototype (see also Porsche 360). The «CIS Italia» project ended when Dusio moved to Argentina (1949).
Carlo Abarth then founded the Abarth & C. company with Armando Scagliarini (father of Cisitalia racing driver Guido Scagliarini) in Turin (March 31, 1949), using his astrological sign, the Scorpio, as the company logo. The company made racing cars, and became a major supplier of high-performance exhaust pipes, that still are in production as «Abarth». Carlo Abarth personally set various speed records at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza (October 20, 1965). He sold the company on July 31, 1971 to Fiat. // Text source: wikipedia.org
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