Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Yamaha Italy Unveils Abarth Assetto Commemorative FZ1

Yamaha Italy and racing partner Fiat unveiled a special commemorative one-off custom FZ1 to honor the 100th anniversary of famed racer/engineer/designer Karl Abarth. The motorcycle, a track-ready concept machine that's more a promotional prop than a precursor to an actual showroom model, sports plenty of trick goodies designed to evoke the memory of one of Italy's greatest race car tuners.

Born in Vienna on November 15, 1908, Abarth made a name for himself building automotive exhaust systems.
The company he started built many memorable rally, hillclimb and other racers, bringing much success to Fiat and other brands. It was purchased by Fiat in 1971 and is now used to brand high-performance variants of Fiat products. But Abarth wasn't just about four wheels: he had a career as a motorcycle racer until a bad crash led him to designing and racing sidecars (he beat the famed Orient Express from Austria to Belgium in 1933 on a sidecar racer of his own design).

The commemorative bike features goodies like Öhlins suspension, Marchesini wheels with race slicks, monobloc Brembo brake calipers, and an Akrapovic exhaust system. Abarth doesn't make exhaust systems for bikes, but Akrapovic is a good choice, even if Termignoni makes the exhaust for Rossi's MotoGP bike: "Akra" is Turkish for scorpion, and Abarth used the scorpion (his astrological sign) as his logo.

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