range saloon and family work horse was greeted with very mixed comments
from the motoring press. The angular lines and squared off body shape
reflected the Giugiaro designed Uno and earlier Strada/ Ritmo. The UK
press just can't seem to accept the idea that Italian cars don't always
have exotic curves and exciting lines. Reliability maintenance and body
finish had all improved for the Tipo, yet most of the general press
chose to focus on its weight - heavy for its class. In fact the Tipo
was roomy, palatial even with the rear seat down, and wide too.
What can we
say with hindsight? Well firstly you'll note there are still an awful
lot about. That's because they were fully galvanised. Like it or not
the Tipos will be around for a long time to come. Secondly we know the
engine range is all but bomb proof. Yes there are a few niggles with
the gearbox synchros and drive shaft rubbers, but overall there is no
reason why these cars can't deliver their full mileage quota. And of
course they'll be going for a song on the second hand market.
But is there
more to them? The best Fiats always have some engineering class and
pure driver enjoyment too. Can the Tipo deliver on the hidden performance
and smile factors as well as on top value? Yes they can. For this we
turn to the GT (8-valve that Fiat UK say weren't imported) and 16-valve
Sedicivalvole models. So lets take another look, have another go at
this intro by turning things around a bit....
Tipo is really a Delta Integrale without the turbo and four wheel drive.
They are both derived - rather evolved - from the Strada floorpan. And
by the third version used in the Tipo things were getting sophisticated.
Fiat/Lancia were so confident in this floorpan that it continued to
be used for the Fiat Coupe, and other Lancias into the mid nineties.
All these cars
share the front anti roll bar under the passenger compartment bulkhead
and similar MacPherson strut front suspension, and similar engine layouts.
Yes they are all heavy too - but not by today's medium saloon standards.
The 16-valve had the new twin balancer shaft Twin Cam with similar engine
management to the Weber-Marelli design pioneered in the Delta range.
Drive one of
these cars and your first impression will be of solidity, quality and
weight. It takes time for the Twink to lift its skirts and fly... but
fly it can. With some simple de-congestion on the air filter, management
chip and exhaust you have a 170bhp car to go anywhere. Unfortunately
the combination of late launch and UK anti Fiat prejudice means there
are little more than 700 around the UK. But to you that means they are
a rarity. Look after yours and you'll be rewarded! They have long since
hit there depreciation minimums. The under bonnet may come as a shock
too. There's little room for anything beside the canted forward twin
cam, injection system, exhaust and six reservoirs that great you. So
servicing is not going to be cheep. The 16-valve heralded the nineties
race to emissions control but with power. The Coupe, Bravo and Marea
owners would see the same sort of layout - but to any used to earlier
Fiat Twinks the increased complexity comes as a bit of a shock.
On the road
the solid feel is retained - on wide profile tyres the power steering
is needed and the steering retains feel but is heavy and a bit clunky
- just like the gear change. Get beyond this and into the mid range
torque band of the engine and the familiar twin cam delivers performance
wit a lovely noise. Yes there is understeer if the car is pressed through
corners, but on the motorway the whole package comes together very,
All 10 models in the Tipo range were manufactured at Fiat's
Cassino factory capable of producing 1,000 cars per day using state of
the art technology both in the manufacturing machinery and in the materials
used to construct the cars which meant that many aspects of Italian mass
car manufacture changed for ever when the Tipo was launched in early 1988.
At launch Power units comprised three petrol
engines, the 1.1 F.I.R.E. (Fully Integrated Robotised Engine another
Fiat innovation using 30% less parts than previous engines) 1.4 and
1.6 (updated versions of engines previously available in the Strada/Ritmo)
along with two 1.9 litre diesels (one normally aspirated one turbocharged),
a year later the 1.7 litre normally aspirated engine was added along
with the 1756cc 110bhp non catalyst 8v Twin-cam, followed in 1991 by
a 16 valve 138hp version of the 1756 twin-cam and finally in late 1991
the 1995cc 148bhp "Sedicivalvole".
A mark two version of the
car was launched in 1993 featuring a three-door version of the car as
previously all models had been five-door most other changes were purely
cosmetic all cars carried a different grille, different wheel trims
etc. It would seem Fiat were very careful not to go too overboard with
the styling changes to the Tipo for several reasons (a)The Brava/Bravo
project was nearing completion (b)The smaller Uno had been heavily re-styled
for its mk2 incarnation and had become somewhat un-loved by the motoring
press and motorists alike.
to the right shows that the external parts of body shells (coloured
green) of all models were zinc galvanised and extensive use was also
made of composite materials (coloured red), the tailgate and many other
items were manufactured from various plastics, rather strangely though
internal metalwork was not galvanised (coloured yellow) as it was judged
to have a lower risk of corrosion and therefore a small weight saving
could be made from an already over-weight body shell.
wind tunnel work was carried out and a drag co-efficient of 0.32 was
achieved unfortunately when compared to their competition the Tipos
tended to be heaviest in their class (partially due to the galvanising)
which of course led to the cars not being as sporty as previous Fiats
and also to higher fuel consumption these were perhaps the only two
criticisms that could be leveled at the cars, indeed the buying public
seemed not to be put off at all as the cars had many more positive points
than negative such as cavernous passenger cabin (largest in its class)
including a large boot space, an innovative digital dashboard (series
one cars only), much better build quality than earlier Fiats leading
to higher re-sale values and a shape which didn't look as euro-boring
as many of its competitors.
Tipo range launched with 1.4/78bhp and 1.6/86bhp carburettor petrol
engines and five-speed gearbox. Base 1.4 had split rear seats
and rear wash/wipe. 1.4/1.6 DGT had digital instrument display,
central locking and electric front windows.
||Diesel versions added. 2.0 TD had
height adjustable steering column, headlamp wash/wipe, electric
door mirrors and front window lifts, plus digital instruments.
||Base 1.4 became Formula. 1.4 S
version had glass sunroof and improved trim.
||New 1.8ie launched with 110bhp,
DGT SX trim and equipment, plus power steering.
||Selecta CVT (Continuously Variable
Transmission) automatic on 1.6 DGT, with power steering standard.
DGT SX gains electric sunroof.
||Sedicivalvole 16-valve 2.0 twin
cam with 148bhp, lowered suspension, alloy wheels, close-ratio gearbox,
cat, PAS, electric sunroof, power steering and Recaro seats.
||Revised range: 1.4 (78 bhp) Formula,
1.4 S, 1.6 S, 1.6 SX, 1.6 SX Selecta, 1.8ie SX and 1.9 TDS SX (92
bhp), with uprated transmission, revised suspension, improved sound
insulation. S models have analogue instruments. 1.4/1.6 S have central
locking, sunroof, rev counter and electric front windows and mirrors.
SX models have electric sunroof, PAS, remote central locking. 1.8ie
SX has alloy wheels. 1.9 TD SX replaced TD. 1.8is SX replaced DGT
SX. 1.6 DGT Selecta dropped.
||Special edition 1.6 S 'Brio' launched.
||Special edition 1.4 'Forza' launched.
||1.4ie and 1.6ie engines now with
petrol injection and catalytic converters. 1.4ie power down from
78 to 71 bhp due to cat. 1.6ie power down from 86 to 75 bhp due
||Special edition 1.4ie 'Eleganza'
||Eight-valve 2.0ie GT with 115bhp
replaced 1.8ie. Uprated suspension, disc brakes, alloy wheels, remote
locking, plus power sunroof and windows. Selectas dropped. Special
1.4ie 'Forza' reintroduced with injection engine and 'cat'. Special
edition 1.6ie 'Brio' reintroduced with injection engine and 'cat'.
||Revised range and 3 door model
added. 3 and 5 door 1.4ie S, 5 door 1.6ie SX, 1.9 TD SX and 2.0ie
SLX, and 3 door 2.0ie 16v (142 bhp), all with restyled exterior
(new grille and narrow headlights), uprated brakes, power steering,
central locking, and electric front windows. 2.0 became SLX. Safety
improvements; side impact beams, stronger front subframes, sills
||1.6ie S 5 door model launched.
1.7 DS (57 bhp) 5 door model launched with PAS, electric windows
and central locking.
||Special edition 1.4 'Action' model.
||Special edition 1.6ie SX 'Liberty'
||Airbag, fire prevention system
and seat belt pre-tensioners standard.
||Revisions: height adjustable driver's
seat. Special edition 1.4ie 'Start' launched.
||Drivers airbag becomes standard
across range. VIN security window etching on all models.
To check if
your car is affected call the SMMT recall point on 0171-235 7000. Most
recalls are completely effective, but it is worth checking with the
manufacturer importer if you are unsure about your car's service history.
||Incorrect accelerator cable
fitted to 5,261 cars built during 1990. Faulty fuel return pipe
on some 1.4 and 1.6 models built in 1988 and 1989.
||Faulty rear wheel bearing on Tipo
2.0 and TD cars built between 1991/92. Front coil spring corrosion
on some Tipo 1.4 and 1.6 models built between September and November
||D/TD models built between September
1992 and April 1994 pre-heater leads and main battery cables could
chafe against clutch slave cylinder or brake pipes.
sales were kick-started in 1989 with the 1.4-based Clan ,
with alloys, mud flaps and a tailgate spoiler. In 1992 came the Brio
, with 1.6 S engine, power sunroof, metallic paint and front
fog lamps. The 1.4 Forza in the same year had a sunroof,
tinted glass, red or blue metallic or white finish. The 1.4is Eleganza
came in early 1993. The Action followed
in the spring of 1994 having a sunroof, roof-rails and metallic paint.
Best of the bunch was the 1994 1.6ie Liberty with
(issue 20) saw Bialbero feature the Tipo Sedicivalvole for the first
time (based on Fiat press releases).
ITS A WINNER
new Fiat Tipo 2 litre is the latest in a long line of highly regarded
sporting Fiats for the road. Yet the concept of this latest chapter
in Fiat's acclaimed sporting heritage goes further. It is concerned
with much more than ensuring the 128mph five door hatch-back offers
high standards of performance, handling and refinement in the highly
influential hot hatch market sector.
new Tipo 2.0 16v comes equipped as standard with a three way catalytic
convertor & exhaust gas recirculation valve to dramatically reduce
unmanted exhaust emissions. the 148bhp engine meets the demanding
US 83 automotive polution legislation and confirms that, for Fiat,
high levels of usable performance are now available with the minimum
of environmental implications.
two litre engine features contra-rotating balancer shafts for remarkable
smoothness. A classic four valve cylinder layout - a design which
Fiat first used in racing back in 1908 - was considered essential
to provide the Tipo with a specific power output, but not at the expense
of goo low and mid range torque figures.
the peak torque of 130ft/lbs occurs at 5000rpm, 90% of this figure
is available from 2500rpm, and more than 116ft/lbs at 2000rpm.
aids to this flexible a torque curve has been achieved in part by;
optimising the intake manifold, an insulated four branch stainless
steel exhaust manifold, and careful adjustment of the Weber-Marelli
IAW engine management controlling the ignition, multi-point injection
system, lambda sensor and 3 way catalytic convertor...
of the effectiveness of the IAW system can be seen with a 0-62 time
of 8.4 seconds, matched by fuel consumption of 37.7mpg at a constant
56mph, 30.3mpg at a constant 70mph and 24.5mpg in the urban cycle.
have also turned their attention to engine durability. Tri-metallic
journal and con-rod bearings, high yield steel intake valves and temparature
resistant steel & nickel exhaust valves have been used. Oil jet
piston cooling, refined from Fiat's turbo'd engines, a large capacity
radiator and and long life stainless steel exhaust system also form
part of the impressive mechanical specification.
close ratio 5 speed gearbox offers reduced gear lever travel, and
new mounting design with bracing reduces vibration through the gear
its launch in January 1988 the Tipo, which is fully galvanised on
all external surfaces, has been widely praised for its combination
of subtle ride and crisp handling. Thus the long wheel base, wide
tracked Tipo chassis required minimal alteration to imbue the 16-valve
with impressive dynamic characteristics. Uprated springs and dampers,
with anti rollbars front and rear, form the basis of changes to the
from the original Tipo is the overall suspension configuration:
MacPherson strut front end with loer wishbones anchored to an auxilliary
crossmember, telescopic arms and offset coil springs. A the rear MacPherson
struts are again employed with trailing arms anchored to minimise
body shell intrusions. The high torsional stiffness and overall rigidity
of the Tipo bodyshell also plays a major role in acurately retaining
the suspension alignment, ride and handling.
is provided with 284mm ventilated front disc brakes and 240mm rear
disc brakes. A Bosch electronic ABS is optional. The diagonally split
brake circuit combines with the offset front springs ensures the Tipo
retains high stability and controllability in problem conditions.
The Sedicivalvole also has distinctive 15 inch alloy wheels and 185/55R15V
low profile radial tyres to add the finishing touch to its ride/handling
distinguish it from the rest of the TIpo range, there is a new body-colour
raditator grill complete with two large air intakes, aerodynamci side
skirts, body-colour heated electric door mirrors, and red tinted rear
light lenses. In addition the side skirts and valences carry a red
insert, and a Sedicivalvole on the tailgate.
the combination of height-adjustable steering column and Momo leather
wrapped steering wheel, comprhensive instrumentation, tachometer,
oil pressure and temparature gauges act as a discreet reminder of
the 16-valve's sporting purpose. An electronic check panel also monitors
vital engine plus driver alert functions. Sports seats in grey cheque
cloth come complete with discrete side bolsters for improved passenger
location. Recaro seats and metallic paint are optional.
standard equipment comprises electrically operated sunroof, electric
front windows, remote control locking, stereo radio/cassette with
four speakers, and front and rear fog lights.