The Fiat Uno was a supermini car produced by the Italian manufacturer Fiat.
The Uno was launched in 1983 and built in its homeland until 1995, with production still taking place in other countries for some years, with the final Uno built in Brazil in 2013.
The Uno was launched in January 1983 to replace the ageing Fiat 127, which itself had revolutionized the supermini market on its launch more than 10 years earlier. Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro’s ItalDesign company, its tall, square body utilising a Kamm tail achieved a low drag coefficient of 0.34 won it much praise for airy interior space and fuel economy. Its tall car / high seating packaging is imitated by every small car today. It reversed the trend for lower and lower built cars. It showed that not just low sleek cars could be aerodynamic, but small, roomy, boxy well packaged cars could be too.
United Kingdom sales began in June 1983, with more than 20,000 being sold in its first full year on sale and peaking at more than 40,000 sales in 1988.
In April 1985 the hot hatch version of the first series Uno – the Uno Turbo i.e. – was launched as a 3-door only derivative. Despite marketing claims that it was fitted with an engine “specifically developed for turbocharging” the Turbo i.e. model actually used a Ritmo/Strada-derived 1.3 146-series engine with Bosch multi-point fuel injection.
The Turbo i.e. offered significant performance improvement over standard Uno models and was capable of reaching 124 mph, thanks in part to the car’s low 845 kg weight. Reliability was improved due to the reduction in maximum turbo boost pressure for mass-production from 1.0 to 0.6 bar but conversely, it allowed tuners to modify the engine relatively easily to run 1.0bar boost pressure for even greater performance without significantly compromising reliability.
Externally, the Turbo i.e. model sported black plastic sill trims and arch extensions, plus a revised front bumper with fog lamps and inlets/scoops to direct air to the oil cooler and intercooler. Decals were added along the side of the car, initially as “T U R B O” in large outline letters but then later in stripe form with “Turbo i.e.” cut into the rear-quarter section and complimentary stripes across the tailgate. This also deviated from the pressed steel tailgate fitted on non-turbo models as it was manufactured from fibreglass and incorporated a high-level spoiler to improve looks and aerodynamic performance. All body glass benefited from a very light green tint.
Suspension was lowered and uprated, 13″ alloy wheels with Pirelli P6 tyres were fitted and the brakes upgraded to vented discs on the front and solid discs on the rear to replace the drum units of the non-turbo models.
Interior equipment was upgraded in the Turbo i.e. model with ‘sports’ seats, plush red carpet and an extended centre-console. Later models had red seatbelts in place of earlier black versions.
The Fiat Uno Turbo you see in our pictures came into the workshop to have a new performance clutch fitted. After the clutch was fitted the owner wanted the car to go on the rolling road for a bit of dyno time to check the car was running as it should.
The car was put on the dyno and given a power run to find out how much power it was producing and the results was an extremely acceptable 129bhp, but we knew with a bit of a tweak we could get a little more horse power out of the old gal 😉 A bit of a tweak later and a clean bill of health was given to the 25 year old car along with a few more horses.
This Fiat Uno Turbo is an amazing example of a classic car and the owner should be extremely proud to drive it. For the few days that it has been at the workshop numerous people have commented on how clean and tidy it looks and how you hardly ever see them on the roads any more.