Home » The Fiat Abarth 2000 Scorpio Has The Greatest Pop-Up Headlight In Car History

The Fiat Abarth 2000 Scorpio Has The Greatest Pop-Up Headlight In Car History

Abarth Concepts 1969 Popups Alt

When it comes to iconic Italian automotive design, some of the most unique examples to grace the human eye were crafted together in the 1960s and early 1970s. The Ferrari 250 GT SWB, Lancia Stratos HF Zero Bertone, Alfa Giulietta, and so many more. They were often designed for motorsports applications or inspired by it. Another lesser known example of the latter  is the Fiat Abarth 2000 Scorpio.

This beautiful one-of-one concept dates back to 1969, and was a partnership between Abarth and fellow legendary design firm Pininfarina. It’s among the most bizarre concepts I’ve ever seen from the era, but very much in a good way. The sharp face, massive rear clamshell housing its potent four-cylinder, sleek bubble top greenhouse, it’s so neat.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

In addition to being quite small and quite gorgeous, it possesses one of the most unique headlights arrangements ever concocted—a pop-up light bar. Here’s what you need to know about this rare bird.

Fiat SE010

Race Car-Like Specs

The 2000 Scorpio was based on the Fiat SE 010—also known as the Fiat Abarth 2000 Sport Spider—an equally beautiful open-top hill climb racer. For those unfamiliar, hill climb racing is essentially time trial, except on winding mountain roads. The sport is all about fastest time and favors low weight, all the revs, and all the grip.

Pininfarina Fiat Abarth 2000 Scorpio Concept Car

Like a rowdy SE 010, this tiny Fiat sports a tube-frame chassis underneath that weighs just 85 pounds. Covering it is a gorgeous fiberglass body, and a simple interior that follows its motorsports inspiration. It really was a street-legal race car.


Its rear longitudinal 2.0-liter four-cylinder sported a dry-sump oiling system, big carburetors, and a slightly reduced compression ratio over the SE 010. Total output was rated at 220 horsepower, which was more than enough for its 1,631-pound total weight. To maximize grip, double-wishbone independent suspension filled out each wheel arch, and massive small wheels (never thought I’d type that in blog) measured out to 13×8 inches up front and 13×10 out back.

Pininfarina Fiat Abarth 2000 Scorpio Concept Car

That Face

Let us address the elephant in the room: Those headlights. They aren’t the spinny type, or more common lie-fat-on-its-face type, like the NA Miata. Nope, It’s a bank of square units that sits back facing up when not in use, and then pops forward at attention when turned on. Like a Porsche 928.

Fiat2000abarth Copy

It’s hard to tell if this was very much a conscious design decision or simply an after though, but I really dig it. Surely it was conscious, just look at similar square-lighted fare from the era like the … well actually, it seems like it was in a league of its own. And that’s so cool.

Pictures Abarth Concepts 1969 1

Beyond its source of lumens, the 2000 Scorpio has such a beautiful of-the-era prototype race car shape, and might be the best-looking skirted-rear-wheel arches, ever. Move over, ‘91 Caprice Classic Wagon. Some clever functionality was integrated into its design as well,


In the spirit of race car-developed design, form follows function, too. Note the small intakes up front and massive openings out back for better breathing and cooling. Like so much else of its era from Italy, form and function truly are in harmony here.

As luck would have it, YouTube channel 19Bozzy92 got the sole Abarth 2000 Scorpio ever produced on film nearly a decade ago. It really gives you a sense of the thing’s tiny size and wide shape, as well as how high-strung and race-derived its four-pot engine was. And, how oddly out-of-place—yet really cool—its headlights are.

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2 months ago

This vehicule could have been motorised with an Evinrud engine !
It really looks like in outboard configuration to me.
Protubering logos = – 10 kph
Headlight out = – 20 kph

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