Monday, 10 June 2013

Fiat Uno 1983 - 1995

An Uno in its home environment, looking decidedly care worn
As I've mentioned before, my parents owned a tatty 1976 Fiat 127.  It was my parents first car, after getting by with buses and motorbikes for many years.  We converted our front garden into a driveway ( a popular pastime in the mid 1980s) in honour of that Fiat.    Sadly, the car was a pain.  I have memories of my Dad tinkering with it endlessly, spending hours learning how to how to apply fibre glass (badly) to the gaping wounds of rust holes, and generally gaining childhood amusement in watching things fall off as it was driven around.

Despite this baptism of fire, I remember my parents being strangely nostalgic for it.  At one point I'm sure they even considering buying the car's successor, the once ubiquitous Fiat Uno.

Fiat must have done something right, as it was awarded European Car of the Year and sold something like 9 million of the things worldwide, with a large number going to the UK.  I remember travelling along in the back of my parents car and seeming to see these cars just about everywhere.  From what I can tell, they were pretty good motors of the era too.  The aerodynamics were very good, the engines maybe a little underpowered, but willing and the reliability wasn't so bad either.  The famous FIRE engines especially stick out in my memory.  What a great acronym that was a for an engine!

In fact, in 1994 there were around a quarter of a million Unos on Britain's roads.  Not a bad number at all.

Another Uno, perhaps not even as well cared for as that blue 'un
However low values (that might be attributed to a perception of an Italian rust problem) have seen numbers drop to alarming levels.  Less than 900 cars remain on UK roads now, 0.35% of what once was.  These are genuinely endangered cars.  Shockingly, there's only 50 examples of the deceptively entertaining Turbo versions, with just 2 left having ABS.  Thankfully, being so small, it's easy to find a space in your garage for one.  Go on, try one.  If you will, I will...

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