Forty years of Fiat Uno, the small car loved by all Italians that has traveled the world

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At the beginning it was supposed to be a Lancia, but then it became a Fiat and not just any one but one of the most successful models in the history of the Turin-based company. We’re talking about the Fiat Uno which is celebrating its 40th birthday in these days, even if looking at it today it doesn’t seem all that old. The credit probably goes to the line created by Giorgetto Giugiaro, simple, rational and based above all on proportions. Returning to the genesis of the Uno, the original project was born in the late seventies in the Lancia driven by Rossignolo to replace the Autobianchi A112. In 1979, however, Rossignolo resigned, handing over the command to Umberto Agnelli who shared it with Ghidella. He was working on the heir to the 127, but he realized he had one ready and with all the right features. Thus, with a few tweaks the Uno was completed and at the same time the project that would lead to the creation of the Y10 began.

The new little Fiat had all the credentials to win the hearts of Italians: despite a length of only 3.64 metres, it was very spacious inside and with five doors – not so common on small cars at the time – to the rear seats it was very simple. Success was immediate (it also won the Car of the Year award in 1984) and to meet market demands which easily reached 40,000 cars a month, the lines of the Mirafiori and Rivalta plants were updated with cutting-edge robots. At launch, the range consisted of three petrol engines and one diesel: there were the old 45 and 55 bhp pushrod four-cylinder engines – the power corresponded to the name of the trim – but also the 70 bhp 1.3 from the Ritmo. The other 1.3 was the naturally aspirated 46 bhp diesel one.

In 1985 the 999 cc and 45 HP Fire engine at the base of the range made its debut, with clear benefits in terms of flexibility and fuel consumption; in the same year the legendary Turbo ie version also arrived, which was at the top of the wish list of an entire generation of young people. Under the bonnet was the 1.3 equipped with a turbocharger and capable of delivering 105 bhp. A year later the range was completed with the 70 HP Turbo D, suitable for those who traveled many kilometers. The first series of the Uno was replaced in 1989 by the second, which remained on the market until 1995. Finally, the Uno also has several parallel stories, made up of versions built for the Brazilian market (very different, with mechanics derived from that of the 127) and others under license in various parts of the world – Yugoslavia, Poland, Morocco, Turkey, India, Pakistan, the Philippines and South Africa – until 2014.

Making a precise sum of all the Unos produced is practically impossible, but it is estimated that they are between 9 and 9.5 million units.

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