The Spirit of the Scorpion Part 1 – London 2022 - The Garage Queen





Featured: The Spirit of the Scorpion Part 1 – London 2022

The Spirit of the Scorpion Part 1 – London 2022

Photograph by: Ben Abell & Henry Jackson       Article by: G.D.S

Photograph by: Ben Abell & Henry Jackson      
Article by: G.D.S

August 21, 2022

On a glorious sunny Sunday morning Abarths came from near and far to enjoy a truly epic day in London. Starting at Battersea Park, the convoy of 9 cars met early and one by one the variety of Abarths appeared in all shapes, sizes and colours. The enthusiast-owned cars were all freshly washed to give London and the world a display as to why the popular Italian cars are so much fun. In order to understand why Abarth owners are so passionate about their little hot hatches, we must take a step back and recognise the founder of the company Carlo Abarth: a Austrian native from Vienna born as Karl Albert Abarth who later migrated to Italy and adopted the name Carlo Abarth (correctly pronounced by Italians as "EH-BART"). The founding father of the company was bold, brave and a genius in his own right, but also a man who challenged the status quo by not being afraid to take on the big guys. Blessed with a God given mechanical talent and a thirst for speed, in his younger days Carlo Abarth raced motorbikes and would become a five time European Champion - this was even more impressive as Carlo didn't have a race team behind him, he operated solo and worked on the bikes himself with no support.

In the constant pursuit of greatness Carlo Abarth transitioned to sidecar racing, and as the old Italian proverb says “Fortune Favours the Bold”, he raced the Orient Express in a 1300km race beating the train by 20 minutes. Long embedded in the brand’s identity is the famous Scorpion logo, which is Carlo Abarth’s astrological star sign, and sits on a yellow and red shield. The colour choice is said to pay homage to the town of Merano where Abarth and his father were first welcomed into Italy and adopted as Italians.

The Abarth brand enjoyed numerous years of success from 1949 all the way until it ceased to exist in 1981. After a 26 year hiatus Abarth made a comeback in 2007 and would often be compared as a rival to BMW’s new modern Mini; however opinion as to which hot hatch is better is always debated amongst both owners, and we would love to hear your thoughts on this subject!

The London takeover of the Abarths was organised by Mark Rosales (Senior Lead for Abarth Club Buckinghamshire, Oxford, London), and also the proud owner of The Black and Yellow Abarth aka “The Dark Bee” – the special day was planned out as a joint event in collaboration with The Garage Queen.

As the owners gave their cars last minute wipe downs and admired the beautiful scenery in the park, passers by were pleasantly surprised to see a very diverse group of Abarths line up together, in what was a first of its kind event, where a convoy of Abarths were ready to take over the streets of London!

Just when we thought the day couldn’t get off to a better start, the group were blessed with a stroke of luck that felt as if ‘The Spirit of the Scorpion” aka Carlo Abarth himself was present amongst us. The UK Bungee Club allowed for a one-off picture to be taken at the top of a 160 ft crane located between Albert Bridge and Chelsea Bridge. We have to say hats off to photographer Henry Jackson who risked his life to capture this one-off shot. Opportunities like this are one of those rare “meant to be” moments in life, and we thank the UK Bungee Club for getting behind the event.

The Abarths got ready to leave and depart from Battersea Park where the perfectly aligned convoy, synced as if they were The Queen’s Guards, paused for a moment to take in what was about to happen. In the words of Barry Webb (owner of the Adrenaline Green Abarth nicknamed “Mini Hulk”) “The Big Little Adventure” was ready to be underway and hit the roads.

From Battersea Park the convoy immediately caught the attention of the general public who were smiling and echos of “WOW, OMG and how cool!” could be heard as they counted how many Abarths would follow through.

In an array of colours the convoy made their way towards the next destination and drove carefully via Chelsea, Park Lane, Mount Street, Berkeley Square and would make the first pit stop at the world famous Savile Row, directly outside 36 Savile Row,  Argent Timeless – a store dedicated to car enthusiasts. 

Despite its long history of being famous for bespoke tailoring, Savile Row is now one of many spots in London, where some of the world’s rarest cars make an appearance on a daily basis, and therefore it was only appropriate for the Abarths to make their presence well known on one of London’s most famous streets.

Official brand ambassador for The Garage Queen, Nikko the Dog (a petrolhead), who loves the sound of loud engines, and is a regular face in the London car scene and who lives his best life in the fast lane, stepped out to say hello to his new friend Hugo, who was cruising around in his yellow convertible Abarth. The pair of them together were melting hearts and making everyone in London fall in love with them.

The great thing about each Abarth is that although they look similar from a distance, they are in fact all so uniquely different. Owners take great pleasure in making modifications to their cars and spend hours taking their cars to the next level in order to be different from the rest. Abarth ownership offers a huge variety of avenues for their owners to take ,which includes bodykits, wheel upgrades, engine remaps, and loud exhausts! It seems as if every Abarth has its own personality (usually matching that of the owners), oh and did we forget to say how fun they are to drive!

Fun fact number 1 – Savile Row has provided bespoke tailoring for many A list celebrities of past and present such as: Winston Churchill, Frank Sinatra, Jude Law, The Beatles, and Charlie Chaplin to name a few.

As the convoy left Savile Row it was a short turn around the corner to The Royal Academy of Arts where ‘The Dark Bee’ buzzed his way through and made sure its striking presence was known. The tastefully modified Abarth that has adopted a Black and Yellow theme with an endless list of modifications that include the following: 200bhp repmap, Killachrome Carbon front whisker, Carbon rear bootlid, Carbon glove box, Carbon Gear stick and Steering wheel, Carbon pillars, Killachrome ultra gauge, 17inch Japan racing 28 wheels, OTA induction kit, Koshi front splitter, fog light and grill in carbon, Latanadeltuner custom Led headlights, Cadamuro vented bonner, Sforza carbon centre exhaust rear diffuser, custom straight pipe exhaust and carbon tips, Maxton front splitter, side and rear skirts, Maxton spoiler, BAF K-brace in yellow, 12&16 mm spacers, H&R lowering springs, Rear seat custom Abarth back plate cover, custom decals and badges.

Owner Mark Rosales is still not finished and his passion for building his own perfect Abarth gets him recognition amongst fellow Abarth owners, as well as the general public, who can all appreciate the man hours behind the vision of pulling this build off.

The scenic backdrop of The Royal Academy of Arts could easily be mistaken as somewhere in Italy, and fitted very well with the Italian hot hatches – Nikko the Dog was very happy and gave his approval by sticking out his head (and tongue) admiring his surroundings. Not far behind was also Rosa aka The Shrunken Ferrari owned by Courtney Giles-Buchanan another lead from the Abarth Club Buckinghamshire, Oxford and London who helped coordinate the day.

An excited Theo Sloot who owns a Modena Yellow Abarth caught in the moment with his conventional way of capturing content was all smiles throughout the day. Theo is very much an example of what the Abarth community is all about positivity, passionate and fun.

Fun fact number 2 – The Royal Academy of Arts dates back to 1755 and there are 22 statues on the facade of this building! The Academy’s mission is to raise awareness about enjoying and appreciating the visual arts. Courtney carefully taking a picture of “The Dark Bee” outside couldn’t have been more apt, as all the Abarths were quite literally creating art and enjoying the moment. 

The building also celebrates the work and life of many pioneers and visionaries of their time and therefore we would like to think that somewhere amongst this building “The Spirit of the Scorpion” was watching the fruits of his labour continue his legacy.

Parents to Hugo the Dog, Dyanne and Matthew Worle’s yellow convertible Abarth being overlooked by the statue of British Philosopher Sir Francis Bacon, a key figure in British history and a visionary ahead of his time is an example of “Greatness recognises greatness”. The modern and bold yellow colour against the backdrop of the historic building represents old and new – perhaps the only thing missing was an old classic Abarth amongst the modern Abarths.

The convoy left Mayfair and made its way on to London’s Regent Street, known as the “Mile of Style” due to its fashion stores and one mile length, where Rosa aka The Shrunken Ferrari was driving in style soaking in the sun and admiration.

Proud owner Courtney, another passionate enthusiast, has also spent a fair amount of time to make the following modifications: Low line TRC kit, Sports Cat with Stage 1 remap and pop and bang map (this car is very loud), Killachrome exterior handle and whisker kit, and Carbon look Sabelt Bucket seats. Very much like fellow enthusiast Mark Rosales the list of modifications is never ending and Courtney plans to keep adding to her car.

Fun fact number 3 – Regent Street was built in 1819 and every building is Grade II listed . It has been the mecca of shopping for over 2oo years, and was named after Prince Regent (who later became King George IV), but unknown to most people it is owned by The Crown Estate and accordingly the Abarths and The Garage Queen momentarily claimed stake to one of the worlds most famous roads!

Rodney and his wife Zena owner of the grey Abarth nicknamed Arbart enjoying the scenery and drive.

The rest of the convoy were close by and the would make their way to yet another famous London location – Piccadilly Circus. Famous for its bright lights and millions of passers by on a daily basis, this is one of the locations that no matter where in the world everyone recognises and immediately knows it as London.

Fun fact number 4 – The famous Coca Cola sign at Piccadilly has been lighting up London since 1955, and although it was not the first sign up there, it has been there the longest, and is made from 774,144 pixels!

From there it was full steam ahead down Haymarket, which is famous for being part of London’s entertainment district. The Abarths on tour gave the crowds plenty of entertainment as Londoners and tourists captured the rare sighting as they followed through in to Pall Mall.

Fun fact number 5 – Pall Mall derives from the Italian word “Pallamaglio” that translates to ball-mallet, which was the name given to a 17th century ball game played on that street in the 17th century. Also yet another coincidence that the Abarth’s found another Italian affiliation on route.

Picture perfect, Angelo Eugeno’s white (with a hint of red) Abarth next to a double decker London bus in a similar colour scheme at the side of Trafalgar Square. Underneath the convoy in full force with The National Art Gallery in the background.

Fun fact number 6 – The Lions at Trafalgar Square are Barbary Lions (which are now extinct), however there are 4 situated in the square and sit in front of The National Art Gallery. According to urban legend if Big Ben chimes 13 times the Lions will awake from slumber! Thankfully, if this were to ever happen the Abarths would all be able to make a quick getaway!

The Abarths made their way through what is often referred to as the “Heart of London”, and to find out what happened next you will need to stay tuned for Part 2 of this exclusive event..

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