A new year has arrived. That means a number of important cars are celebrating their fiftieth anniversary this year. And 1972 brought many new car models. Traditionally, we put a number of newcomers from the past in the spotlight. Today we present part one. And in it we highlight the Alfa Romeo Alfetta, the Honda Civic, the Renault 5 and the Fiat 132.
Alfa Romeo Alfetta (berlina)
At the beginning of the 1972s, Alfa Romeo had a beautiful sedan range, which would remain in production for a long time in terms of model line. However, the Italians also stood for innovations. In 1974 the Alfetta appeared, a tough Berlina with numerous technical adjustments. The most important of these were the transaxle transmission and the use of a De-Dion Axle. The Italians thus ensured optimal weight distribution. Alfa Romeo also applied this configuration to the actual Bertone successor from XNUMX. That was the Alfetta GT and GTV series based on the Alfetta.
The Alfetta replaced the Berlina 1750. It received the 1779 cc engine from its predecessor, which had its other successor in the Berlina 2000. The Alfetta thus debuted as a 1.8 and was joined a few years later by the 1.6, which was equipped with some headlights, for example. In 1977, the Alfetta 2000 also appeared on the program, as a replacement for the Berlina 2000. The two-liter Alfetta was characterized, among other things, by rectangular headlights, and the lack of an extra window style in the front doors. Later, the Alfetta was facelifted a few times and Alfa Romeo released (Turbo) diesel versions and some special versions (including the Quadrifoglio Oro). Compared to their graceful and light-footed predecessors, these Alfas had a different and more weighty character, but they also drove beautifully. It is not for nothing that the Alfa Romeo Alfetta regularly appeared at the top of the preference lists. In 1984 it was succeeded by the Alfa Romeo 90.
During the early 1972s, the Japanese car industry definitely acquired a position that could no longer be ignored. Honda was one of the manufacturers that responded to this and followed the trend of the Superminis. In 1170 the Civic appeared: a small front-wheel drive car that would ensure worldwide success. From the outset, the Civic showed a surprising degree of maturity and engineering precision. It debuted with a 1500 cc overhead cam engine and a two- or three-door body. Later, a larger four-door (with longer wheelbase) and a station version, the Civic Van, followed. The 1974 engine came, and it was available in the larger Civic models from model year XNUMX. It was also possible to equip the Civic with a five-speed gearbox. In addition, there was the unhurried Hondamatic (two gears).
Time ahead: the CVCC engine
Honda also developed the Civic with CVCC engine for Japan and America. Thanks to the pre-combustion of rich mixture, this power source ultimately emitted fewer harmful substances. The carburettor and cylinder head were designed in such a way that the mixture entered the power unit in two phases, resulting in a more favorable consumption. In 1977 Honda adapted the Civic technically and cosmetically, and also appeared with a five-door body on the program, the four-door version finally disappeared in mid 1978. In the run-up to the eighties the first Civic was succeeded by the second generation. He had more than served Honda and paved the way for the Japanese manufacturer.
It was a bull's eye shot. In February 1972, Renault presented the new R5. The French Supermini initially made use of various technical R4 components and of course - and in the spirit of the time - also received front-wheel drive. Nevertheless, the R5 - and that is needless to say - was a fundamentally different car than the still popular Renault 4. The R5 had a unibody construction and it was one of the first cars to be equipped with plastic shield bumpers. The first R5 models all had the umbrella stick, which later only remained for the entry-level model for a few years. The R5 debuted with 782 cc (for certain markets, for tax reasons), 845 cc and 956 cc engines.
Later on, Renault expanded the program of the R5 considerably. The LS, TS, GTL and Automatic took the R5 to a higher level with larger engines and more complete (or sportier) equipment. The toppers in the range eventually became the Alpine version and the Turbo versions launched in the 5s. By the way, the R1979 was modified in 4. There was (for certain versions) a new dashboard. A five-door version was also introduced. With the enduringly popular R5 and R5, Renault was very strong in the small class. The public embraced the beautiful, modern and French idiosyncratic R500.000 at lightning speed. Within two years Renault sold 5 units of the R1999 and it remained as popular as ever. It was built no less than five and a half million times and in 1984 it was nominated for the Car of the Century election. In 5 the RXNUMX was succeeded by the Supercinq.
In 1972 the Fiat 132 appeared as the successor to the (Italian) 125. The striking and powerful 125 models were popular for a long time and expectations regarding its successor were high. The 132 failed to live up to this in the eyes of the press and potential buyers. The road holding and design of the car drawn by Gandini were certainly not appreciated. The rear-wheel drive Fiat 132 debuted with 1600 and 1800 DOHC Lampredi engines and with a conventional chassis. Fiat's sales, however, fell short of estimates. The Italians soon modified the 132. In 1974 Fiat improved the road holding and the 1800 DOHC engine got a new cylinder head. All versions received a five-speed gearbox and were optionally available with the three-speed automatic transmission from General Motors of Strasbourg. In an optical sense, Fiat also adapted the 132. For example, the new rear light units and the larger windows stood out. In the eyes of many, the Fiat 132 improved in 1974.
Third series becomes top model of Fiat
The most beautiful 132 series (although that remains subjective of course) was the third, which was presented in 1977. The 130 disappeared, and the initially so maligned Fiat 132 now became Fiats' top model and was still given the intended and deserved prestige. In the spirit of the times, the necessary chrome disappeared, giving way to more black accents. There were 2 liter and 2.5 liter diesel engines. The new 2 liter petrol engines (with and without injection) sent the old 1.8 into retirement. The 1.6 engine remained, with a slightly modified displacement. This is how the Fiat 132 ran from 1977 to 1981. It formed (also in an optical sense) the basis for the successor: the Argenta. Despite the fact that the 132 never fully came out, it became more or less a world car. Polski-Fiat, Zastava and Seat built the car under license. And Kia built the car too, in a limited edition. A Panorama (station) never got beyond the concept phase. Fiat eventually built more than 650.000 copies of the Fiat 132 in Italy.