The first Fiat Tipo was built until 1995 and was an important car for Fiat: several Alfa Romeos (145, 146, 155), Lancias (Delta, Dedra) and the Fiat Tempra and Coupe Fiat were based on it.
1987 already had espionage photos. But in 1988 he was brand new: the Fiat Tipo. The successor to the Ritmo. That Ritmo was a nice car, but not a success in the Netherlands.
That Fiat Tipo was also viewed with some suspicion
The sober Dutch car press thought the Fiat Tipo looked extravagant. And that is not an emphatic compliment in the country of 'just act normal, then you act crazy enough'. But Fiat proved with the Tipo that there could also be cars in this class with their own face.
Your own design
After the first photos were published in the summer of 1987, the Fiat Tipo was launched in January 1988. For the record, the Tipo was designed by I.DE.A and not by Giugiaro, the creator of the Panda and Uno. Fiat would have revived this design agency to 'punish' Giugiaro. Because Giugiaro had presented VW with a drawing for the future Golf II, which VW had adopted for the Seat Ibiza. And Fiat was not happy about that.
Highly original, with a distinctive rear end “like a stylistic signature”, according to Vittorio Ghidella, the Fiat Tipo also represents the result of research into the prototype VSS (Vehicle Subsystems), being very innovative about production solutions.
An example: On the Fiat Tipo, the dashboard was already fully installed and inserted through the doors, whose opening angle was therefore unusually important (almost 90°). And that turned out to be very beneficial for ease of entry.
A cheering press
The first tests of the specialized press took place at the end of 1987 and the new Fiat compact was officially launched with great fanfare in January 1988. This coupé with a length of 3,96 meters quickly distinguished itself for its exceptional interior space, excellent suspension and safe handling. in all circumstances. The concept turned out to be the forerunner of mid-sized super-practical cars like the Peugeot 15, Honda Civic and others, with a 307-year lead. With an elbow width of 1,70 meters, it trumped all its competition in terms of interior space, without any tricks like the cut-outs in the doors that Renault loved so much.
Car of the year and top sales
The approach worked, in 1989 the Fiat Tipo was voted European car of the year, far ahead of the Opel Vectra in second. The Tipo was the first Fiat model, and the first car of its class in Europe, with a fully galvanized body.
The Fiat Tipo quickly became a huge commercial success. During the first full marketing year, 437.114 units were sold, while the manufacturer only made 270.000 units. It was therefore necessary to increase production speed and relieve Cassino's highly automated factory by urgently setting up a production line in the Alfa Romeo factory in Pomigliano d'Arco near Naples to meet this demand. Unfortunately, that led to quality issues (on-board electronics and electricity or some accessories). Sales fell to 292.777 units the following year.
The Tipo, with a choice between three petrol (1100, 1400 and 1600 cc) and two diesel engines 1700-1900 cc) was a good family car, but there were also wilder versions such as Sedicivalvole (16 valves in Italian) of 2 liters and 142 hp (and 139 with catalytic converter). These variants are less known to the general public than those of the R19 16 V, the VW Golf GTi or the 306 XSi.
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- Seat Ronda 1.2 GL (1985). Compact Spanish class.
- Fiat Ritmo 130 TC Abarth (1984): Approval looks for Bouke.
- Fiat Panda. The last of the Mohicans
- VW Golf GTI. From small-scale project to resounding success.