Back To The 80s: Fiat Uno

Fri 30th Aug 2019

When we think of the classic eras of motoring we might cast our mind back to stylish cars of the 1950s, the muscle cars of the 1960s or the super cars of the 1970s. What might not spring to mind however is the motors which were produced in the 1980s - an era which certainly favoured practicality over power, style and sophistication.

But the cars of today owe much to 80s, it was a decade which brought us turbochargers, multi-valve engines and hot hatchbacks, an era of the people-carrier and the rise of the SUV. Digital displays and electronic gadgetry, were the norm as designers pushed the boundaries of of what was capable in a production vehicle.

So let's celebrate the 80s, a period of huge change across Britain as a whole, and one which had incredible landmarks in the motor industry.

Fiat Uno
Boxy in shape? Certainly. But Giorgetto Giugiaro’s Uno certainly redefined the supermini when it arrived on UK shores in 1983. It was vastly different to its predecessor, the Fiat 127, with a taller, roomier and more practical design. In spite of its shape, the unique ‘Kamm-tail’ design made it much more aerodynamic.

We see the flat-back design on a range of cars these days, but the 80s certainly changed perception of what was capable, and the tapered, tear-drop helped reduce the drag coefficient to just 0.34, which for a small car in those days was impressive.

The original aerodynamic Uno needed all the help it could get to glide through the air, it may have looked different to the old Fiat 127, but it shared the same engine and came with just 45hp. Fiat did change that engine to the FIRE (Fully Integrated Robotised Engine), which combined weight with efficiency, but could still only max out at 90mph. 

A turbo 1.3 105hp Uno was launched in 1985, closely followed by a 1.4-litre second generation and as time went on the Uno saw better quality production was more accepted to the public at large. 

Ultimately the Uno will be best remembered for its affordability and practicality rather than its style and power, but more than 8 million were purchased in a stretch of production which went all the way through 30 years to 2013, where the Brazilians were still in love with them.

Manufacturer: Fiat
Assembly: Turin, Italy
Designer: Giorgetto Giugiaro
Did You Know?: More than 300,000 were sold in Britain between 1983 and 1995, but as of March 2019 only 232 were still in use.