When the FIAT 1972 appeared in 127, it was a true revolution in the brand. And it is that, far from the rear engine scheme used in the 500, 600 and 850 models, this new and small utility opted to place both the engine and the drive on the front axle. In addition, its bodywork started from scratch in the design for provide an interesting habitability despite its little more than three and a half meters in length. A car designed for urban mobility in the new decade. Equipped with an independent suspension system, only keeping the same four-cylinder engine block with side camshaft from the 127.
However, despite having been a global success, the 127 was not able to undertake the challenges foreseen for the eighties. Even less with models like the R5 or the Golf. Which They had been establishing a formula based on better performance and greater space thanks to more innovative bodies and more powerful engines. A context where Giorgetto Giugiaro saw the possibility of involving the FIAT Group in his new ideas in terms of habitability for compact models. In this way, at the end of the seventies he presented the so-called Project 144 to the Agnelli's house.
A B-segment car with the typical regular shapes of Giugiaro at that time. But quite novel when it comes to access and driving position thanks to placing the seats higher than normal. An interesting novelty. Which is why Project 144 was first thought of as a model for Lancia. Brand always given to experimentation and good finishes since its inception. However, here he ran into the refusal of the management of the FIAT Group towards the idea of a compact with high finishes whose reception could be uncertain by the market.
As a result, Project 144 was stalled. Although he finally had rescue and life when Umberto Agnelli himself -brother of the almighty Gianni- looked at him as the basis for what would become the 1983 FIAT Uno. The compact for the B segment with which the Italian house would have to stand up to the Supercinco and Peugeot 205. A fight in which he added attractions with the arrival in 1985 of the FIAT Uno Turbo.
FIAT UNO TURBO, THE ITALIAN ANSWER TO THE GTI OF THE MOMENT
By the early eighties, turbo fever was invading everything. In fact, even Renault abandoned names as established as Gordini, now naming its sports variants on touring models with the nickname of turbo. A technology based on efficient use of air in the engine capable of invigorating any vehicle. Just what small urban compacts like the R5 needed to go one step further. Mixing this together with direct injection, achieving obvious results in terms of sporty driving.
In addition, the power of the engines found in the chassis of segments B and C perfect allies to offer strong sensations at a low price. In this way the concept of the GTI was born. Able to offer excellent sales figures thanks to conquering the young market with its mix of practicality, low price and driving sensations. Thus, there was no major European manufacturer that did not make its turbo or GTI version on the intermediate or compact model of the range. In the case of the reference brand for the Italian industry this was done with the FIAT Uno Turbo.
A model that, despite having sold well, is actually understood more as a showcase model than as a mass market model. And it is that with the FIAT Uno Turbo the brand ensured a good advertising campaign. Joining the turbo craze at the same time that it took on not a few pages in specialized magazines. Generating an image of power and quality that, inevitably, transmitted good impressions to the rest of the range of this compact. Of course, in the case of the version FIAT One Turbo the power was 105CV for 845 kilos. Coordinates only suitable for drivers with the fickleness of a pilot when it comes to exploring the limits by drawing curves.
A FIAT 128 ENGINE
Obviously in the world of cars there is much more passion and subjectivity than we would like to acknowledge. In that sense, Italian cars tend to raise fiery positions both for and against. However, the truth is that speaking with mechanics the engine of the FIAT Uno Turbo is presented as a little gem for its segment. Far from having the FIRE (Fully Integrated Robotized Engine) block, this model mounted a 1-liter engine from the FIAT 3. Cast in steel and with an aluminum cylinder head, it was finished off with an overhead camshaft and a system injection Bosch.
All this for its four cylinders and eight valves, reaching 150 NM and acceleration from zero to one hundred in 8 seconds with a maximum of around 9 km / h. However, its main attribute was the turbo. A Japanese IHI that in the evolution ie presented in 1989 was changed by a Garrett T2 with Wastegate valve. Responsible for reducing turbo response. Always ensuring a constant air flow, so there is not so much delay between the power request and the delivery. In addition, an Intercooler was mounted to lower the intake air temperature.
A vibrant mechanic in the wake of the little Abarth-prepared FIATs, which was controlled by ventilated disc brakes front and rear. In addition, when it comes to stability, a special effort was made by fitting a torsional rear axle. In this way, the FIAT Uno Turbo has a rigid turn, although with a somewhat longer suspension travel behind it than in front. A good idea, since it does not compromise its behavior so much even if the trunk is loaded with a lot of weight. Another reason why the FIAT Uno Turbo is one of the most interesting little GTIs of the eighties. With a well-studied chassis and progressive turbo delivery that make driving as vibrant as it is comfortable and enjoyable. In short, a most balanced combination.
P.D. As you will know if you are a regular reader of La Escudería, we have already reviewed videos of the excellent channel on other occasions Power art. This time we also do it by recommending you review the video that Guillermo Alfonsín has dedicated to a FIAT Uno Turbo ie As always, his explanation is as complete as it is pedagogical. Especially in the mechanical, also giving a space to the quotes of the model in the market. If you are interested in this model, you should not stop seeing it.