It's been a couple of months since I embarked on my international virtual tour across the world to discuss at length with representatives from the vast amount of Abarth Clubs. The club that I have the pleasure of speaking to today were one of the top tier available and have been inspiring in what they do. A club that I have looked up to and also where I can pick up ideas for our own going forward.
Today, I got the chance to speak with one of the Club Presidents that runs the show right in the heart of Abarth itself. My guest today is Fabio Bettarello from Abarth Club Torino.
Hello Fabio, thank you for taking the time to speak to me about you and the club. So like any introduction - Please tell me more about yourself, your position with Abarth Club Torino and what model of Abarth you currently drive.
Hello Ross, I'm Fabio I'm 26 years old. I am currently finishing up with university and working along side it. I have a lot of passions like football, tv series, comics and obviously the world of the “Scorpion”. My role within the club is a head member of the board of the official Abarth club here in Turin. My current car is a 595 “C”, originally “Turismo” but now modified in almost every inch of the car.
As for the club, how long has it been established for and how many members are currently within it?
Abarth Club Torino was created by Marco De Fortuna in 2010 with the primary purpose of bringing together the “abarthists” of yesterday and today, to share the same great and unique passion together.
Abarth Club Torino became an association, which is non profit drawn up by a Constitutive Act and a Statute. Since the official year, almost 100 events (updated to 2019) have been organized in the area and a total of over 650 abarthists. At the end of 2019 we ended with a record 210 official club members within it.
For the staff of Torino, how many are there of you that run the club?
We are 3 people with equal decision-making powers within the board: Giacomo Finotti, Marco De Fortuna and myself.
How has your club found the importance of having a membership in place.
Joining the club has made it possible to improve the sense of belonging among all members who, in addition to a family, have also made them part of a project that has been going on for many years.
Has it enabled you to grow as a club and what have you achieved from doing so?
Membership allowed all members to give and receive more within the club by receiving gadgets and exclusive events. In doing so it allows us to have a number of people always present at events which have guaranteed the possibility of accessing exclusive locations, as well as lowering costs. The growth in numbers led to a new consequent growth in all aspects. We also won some awards for the club following our hard work with everyone involved.
If a new Abarth owner based in Turin wanted to join your membership. How much is it to join and what do they receive being part of it?
The membership is dealt with annually and it currently costs €30.00 (£27.00) (renewals €25.00 - £22.00). In turn you would receive a series of gadgets and discounts. The gadgets change every year but as standard there are always the membership welcome pack featuring your card (with different graphics each year), the calendar (with different photos) and the club stickers. As each year passes we like to provide new gadgets, this year for example we have been given the broach and the model of the Esseesse wheel with docking station. The discounts are varied but there are a lot available for our members to enjoy and make the most of saving money.
It must be pretty special being right in the heart of everything Abarth related within Turin. What do you love most about your city? Where are the best places around the Turin area to drive to?
Turin is a wonderful city, often even little known or underestimated; the street and whole historic centre are a jewel of history (both architectural and events) with many typical places and magnificent views. Also obviously of reference to the history of Fiat and Abarth.
Immediately outside the city has a nice place to drive is the Turin hill that leads to Superga. Moving away a little instead you approach a series of beautiful places of mountain nature. Among these is Moncenisio, “col del Lys”, and all the Alps to the North on the border with the region “Valle d’Aosta” or towards Switzerland. Many of these places have been and are historic rally sites.
Another thing having right on your doorstep is the FCA Heritage Hub. I note from across social media your club have attended several events over the years at the Abarth HQ (Officine Abarth). We have only had a small amount of our members who have had the privilege of visiting it. What are your thoughts on why it is such an amazing place to visit?
FCA Heritage Hub is currently only open for special occasions, few even here in Turin have had the opportunity to see it; one of the occasions was the inauguration of “via Carlo Abarth” (street address). The place is certainly beautiful as it is full of history and also of unique car models such as prototypes (for example the first 500 Abarth Assetto Corse).
Abarth HQ, also called, “Officine Abarth” we saw it in every inch having organized events there in addition to the annual visits that we organized. Over the years, unfortunately, the activities and things exhibited inside have decreased a bit, but it is still a historical place from which many limited edition models as well as racing cars have come out. There are sill numbered models in the showroom and a beautiful area where they perform historical Abarth restorations.
When Abarth Club North East started back in 2017. My personal viewpoint was to find inspiration from what a lot of other established Abarth Clubs were doing at the time and still to this present day. Abarth Club Torino being one of them. Over the years you have continued to go from strength to strength being one of the leading Abarth Club's in the world. What has been the key to success behind this?
First of all, we thank you for the compliments.
Success is actually relative. There are things we do well and others in which we must improve. As all club staff know, there are often many organizational and legal difficulties in being able to organize various events,
gatherings, etc. We have been fortunate to have many people who are understanding and who have helped us. It is undeniable that being in Turin has also helped us to make ourselves known, even if sometimes it was more complicated to live in such a city. We have always tried to work for our members by giving them as much as possible, both materially and in memories and experiences.
We are doing a lot of things for entertainment and to keep the passion for this brand going forward for generations. Sometimes the projects have a good response, sometimes less, but we are always happy to have such a large family.
I note you had a strong presence at Abarth Days 2019 in Milan with the amount of members that had turned up for your club. What did you enjoy the most about the 70th Anniversary event? ..and could you list some of your personal highlights from it.
One of the most beautiful things about the Abarth days was certainly the number of participants. We were really many with very different cars and one more beautiful than the others. In this unique edition for all of Europe it was also great to see the different styles of the other countries and to be able to compare and get to know each other.
I personally participated only on Saturday because on Sunday I had another meeting in Turin with other club members, obviously I would have liked to stay but luckily there will be other occasions. One thing that I pleasantly remember about the first day was the discovery of the location by going between the various activities and eating at each stand haha.
I'm sure I seen over social media somewhere that your club has its own office? The photo showed it was decorated in a lot of club related items and photos. Could you tell us more about it?
Yes, we have a beautiful venue thanks to one of our sponsors. It is very close to the Abarth Hq, via Carlo Abarth, our sponsor and "Stupinigi hunting lodge" ( the place where the fiat 500 project was born). Particularity of our office? Is at civical number 595! Inside we exhibited many trophies, prizes and thanks to the participation of the various rallies as well as our gadgets and Abarth merchandising. Unfortunately we had almost double the material but 4 years ago there was a flood in the area of our old office and we lost almost everything but now the venue is more beautiful than ever and we often use it for hangouts, memberships, etc.
About your Abarth, what modifications have you done to it so far and do you have any future plans for it?
The list of changes is really long but I'll be brief haha.
Of engine and performance I did the stage 2 complete then with the original turbine (intercooler, exhaust, intake, etc), adjusted the whole set up (suspensions, shock absorbers, spacers, etc) and then I did a great job of aesthetic customization both internally than external.
For the latter: new hood, extractor, livery, etc in particular I am a carbon lover, so I replaced almost all the
replaceable parts in this material: door panels, dashboard, mirror caps, extractor, etc. plus various covers.
Given the situation with COVID-19 like all clubs a lot of events have been cancelled until further notice. Is there anything your club have planned towards the end of 2020 that you're hoping can still go ahead? If so, what events have you got planned?
Like all clubs, we have cancelled many events but we hope to be able to confirm our main event of the year in late September. One of the most important ever organized as we will be at the "campovolo" (aircraft runway) in Turin where 70 years ago Karl Abarth tested his vehicles before the acceleration races where he won several records (and where the gray cap was born). It would also drop with our event number 100.
Since your involvement with the club. What has been your best personal moment to date?
There are really many but if I had to choose 2 I would say you have been the most numerous club of the Abarth day 2017. I've also been interviewed in 2 Japanese fan magazines. A nice personal recognition for the hard work done (obviously possible only thanks to the many members who follow us)
What does Abarth mean to you?
Abarth is passion! No car brand in the world has such a history and such a "community" that has been handed down from generation to generation. Fans and lovers of the brand are all over the world and the bond that unites the Abarth with its scorpions, if true, will never cease.
Lastly, what are your club goals for beyond 2020?
We want to try to connect more with our friends and club members and expand all our Abarth themed projects! We also have many ideas, both original and reinterpretations, and we hope to have the possibility of being able to activate them all, some of which would also involve foreign clubs, like you!
Once again, a huge thank you to Fabio and Abarth Club Torino for their time to get an insight into their club. One of which I hope we can one day cross paths and showcase our love for the brand.
If you would like to know more about Fabio and Abarth Club Torino, you can do so at the following links and social media platforms below:
Fabio Bettarello - Instagram: @Betta_695
Abarth Club Torino - Instagram: @AbarthClubTorino
Abarth Club Torino - Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCstC9U4_q0EmIclMXLeBZRg
Club Membership - http://torino.abarthclubofficial.com/club/diventa-socio/
Main Club Event for 2020 - https://www.facebook.com/events/648104782638313/