A Brief History of Twinks
sporting fiats club Friday, August 18, 2017

ORIGINS
TC Evoluzione
124
124 Spider
124 Coupe

Pininfarina
125
Vignale Samantha
132
131
Lancia Beta
037 Abarth Rally
Argenta
Strada/ Ritmo

Morgan
Regata
Lancia Thema
Croma
Delta/ Integrale

Maggiora
Grama Punto

Alfa 164

Tipo
Tempra

Dedra

Alfa 155

New Delta
Coupe

Lancia Kappa

Brava/ Bravo
Barchetta
Punto Sporting

Marea
Stilo


Today

Yesterday

Towards Tomorrow

 

 
Origin of the Species
Beloved of our Fiat Twin Cam Register, the Fiat Twin Cam engine is fast approaching its fortieth birthday. MT explains why it continues to be so popular.

Without getting hugely technical – the efficiencies of the twin cam engine had been recognised in motor sport for most of the 20th Century. It can provide power and torque advantages over other head configurations by allowing better combustion chamber shape and valve inclination, (aiding flow of gases across the chamber and the flame path at ignition) as well as central spark plug location. Having the cam lobes operate directly onto the valve assembly also minimises valve chain inertia by minimising the amount metal in the path to open the valve. Most of this is a very good idea if you want to increase the usable power and efficiency of a car engine.


Twin cam engines were common in racing cars by the forties and fifties. But were considered expensive to maintain and build. Adjusting and keeping the optimum valve clearances was time consuming, as most designs required the camshafts to be removed to fit new shims etc. Sports car manufacturers like Aston Martin, Jaguar, Ferrari and Lamborghini all used a ‘double overhead cam’ (dohc) twin cam layout.
It was Aurelio Lampredi’s vision when he moved to Fiat from Ferrari that created the first mass production twin cam for normal road cars in 1966. He oversaw Fiat’s focus on engines during this time - including development efforts to improve combustion efficiency and maintainability of the designs. The Fiat Twin Cam also needed advances in manufacturing, materials and machining quality to help increase engine reliability. In summary, Lampredi’s twin cam was sophisticated, efficient and didn’t require the traditional level of maintenance or tools to sustain optimum operation.
I recall the shock I felt some years later when I first had the opportunity to compare the under-bonnet architecture of two twin cams, a 124 special saloon and my fast and powerful Lotus Cortina…. to find the Lotus engine clearly inferior in several ways to this mass-produced Fiat.

I stopped listening to propaganda against Italian cars the same year after a similar ‘back to back’ comparison between an MG ‘B’ and a 124 Spider - both produced in the same year. Cart springs, lever arm shockers, drum brakes and the ‘B’ series ‘Siamese’ ported, push rod engine – and of course guess which was the rustier! ‘Nuff said really.
The UK general motoring press tended to damn the Fiats with faint praise on the lines of ‘eager but odd’, or ‘goes well but too Italian for us’. Actually if the first Italian Job film had been made with reversed roles - the English Job, if you like, with Abarth’s 500/600s instead of Cooper’s Minis - it would probably have been a much shorter film as the Italians would have got through the ‘traffic’ a damn sight faster!

The Twin Cam Evoluzione
Time out called for definitions. For once only in this ranting, I’ll say that the official description of the twin cam cylinder head is a Dual Over-Head Cam (dohc). Fiat’s version of a twin cam is the Twin Cam or affectionately ‘twink’. And any Fiat with TC on the back refers to this – and not “Twin or Two” anything else beginning with “C”.
Get a coffee or beer, I feel a long bit of typing coming on as I’m going to go through all the production and some competition based development I know something about.

Lastly, we can review the 'Alpha and Omega' of the Lampredi Twin Cam as the 4 cylinder is no longer in production. The line began with the 124 in 1966 and ended with Lancia's New Delta in 1998. Of course Fiat know-how has spawned three other forms of twin cam described here, within their principle models. Each has its own very distinctive attributes.

You must forgive me if you disagree, my own pride of place goes to the original and the classic twink and the cars that it powered so well. In competition it started with an 1197cc push rod block, alloy twin cam head and enthusiastic privateer Italians. Then to the 1600 and onward through the Integrale and Nine World Rally Championship Titles finishing in the 600bhp turbo track monsters of today. The dedication and passion wrapped into this evolution is always apparent to me.

1998 was also the end of the line for the Fiat Twin Cam Register as we formerly began the process to change the club's name to Sporting Fiats Club. I hope you find these classics and the club are secure in our hands.

Fiat 124
The 124 Sport series was announced at the Turin Motor Show in the autumn of 1966 with the 124 Sport Spider and its Twin Cam engine. Strictly speaking it was a push rod engine block with a Twin Cam head. All the 124 ‘Sport’ series had versions of this twin cam fitted.
The 124 Saloon had been launched earlier that year with a push rod 1197cc engine. A production rate of 1000 cars a day was soon established. Over the next four years progressively better equipped 124’s were offered.
Right hand drive versions appeared from 1967 while in 1970 the first 124 Special T saloon bearing a 1438cc Twin Cam engine arrived. The twin cam head on pushrod engine block remained until 1971 when the 132 engine variants were available.

The 124 Special T engine was rated at 80bhp and the car had all round disc, dual circuit brakes, an alternator, twin headlights, radials, and a rev counter, but only a four speed gearbox. A revised 124 saloon series was produced in 1973 and 1974, which included the 1592cc Twin Cam and a 5 speed box with 3.9:1 final gearing. The fifth gear being an overdrive add-on to the earlier 4 speed box.
The 124 ST in this last form gave little external hint of its performance potential. Like many Fiat Sports later on they didn’t flaunt it. This is also the era before emissions regulations, so these engines revved freely.
The 124’s rectangular shape was last produced in Italy in 1974 but production continued in Russia into the 1990’s as the Lada or Vaz. It’s a shame they didn’t make a twink engine too! Some enterprising UK budget rally enthusiasts fitted Fiat running gear, competition rally engines boxes and axles to Ladas for top value club rallying! The last time I saw one of these was on the BBC TV Top Gear programme about a year ago when Clarkson challenged Lotus to make a Lada go faster. Come to think of it that was also the last time I saw Guy Croft too (brought in by Lotus to fettle the odd 180bhp from the Fiat twink transplanted into the car.)
Anyway the 124 was also made in South Africa, Croatia, Spain (SEAT) and Argentina as well as being assembled in Bulgaria, Ireland, India, Morocco, and several other parts of South America. At over thirty years is this the longest Fiat production run ever? No, I think the 500 series holds that honour - but it’s close. Total Italian 124 production was over 1.5 million cars. I don’t have figures for the rest of the world – the Russians have certainly made significant numbers of Ladas.

124 Spider
One of the great seventies mysteries to me is why Fiat never made the 124 Spider fully available in the UK. No right hand drive versions of this car were made. It was a highly successful export all around the world with 170,000 sold in the USA alone. And to try and solve a little SFC debate of the recent past… some of them were badged as Spyder by Fiat at certain times in some countries. The two spellings are interchangeable. Fiat made it so!
The Pininfarina designed wing, recessed headlights and bonnet aperture of the 124 Spider have tended to make a wayward comparison with the MG ‘B’ common among anglophiles. As I’ve already hinted the ‘B’ was technically and mechanically inferior – and a test drive in both would convince all but the hardened MG fan. As others have pointed out before me no ‘B’ ever won the European Rally Championship either!
124AS Link to model page

Historically the engine chosen for the first series of 124AS was the 90bhp 1438cc unit – with pushrod engine block and twin cam cylinder head, similar to the 124 saloon. The 124 Spider was available in limited numbers across Europe during 1967, but in 1968/9 numbers increased. The only real mechanical change then made was to drop the torque tube transmission in favour of a propshaft. The AS designation comes from the car's VIN plate code.
124BS Link to model page
Late in 1969 (that would be about chassis number 21000) the 110bhp 1608cc engine from the 125 was introduced, alongside the smaller twink engine option. Later known as the 124BS, this series has bonnet 'power' bulges to accommodate its twin carbs. The capacity increase to 1608cc was achieved by increasing the stroke of the 1438cc engine from 71.5mm to 80mm – the 80mm bore was retained in future versions too. All the 124’s fitted with this engine also had a ‘1600’ badge on one of their rear facing panels.
124CS  Link to model page
Late in 1972 the 124CS was introduced taking advantage of the 1592cc and 1756cc engines from the 132 saloon. Unfortunately USA emissions regulations and the oil crisis affected this series. No twin carb. options were available and the road going model of the 124 Spider Abarth was cancelled. We were left with just 1000 of the 124 Abarth Rally’s produced to homologate the car for FIA Group 4 rally competition.
The 1975 124CS with its single carb. and somewhat strangled breathing was the last Spider to be sold in Europe via Fiat dealerships until the 1982 Spidereuropa. During this period the cars were only orderable direct from the factory with the American spec. (You can have any spec. you like so long as it’s US sir.) Initially the 124CS ‘1800’ was rated at 118bhp. By 1977 the power output fell to around 87bhp under US emissions regulations. These regulations dealt a heavy blow to the twinks. The large bore - large valve - hemispherical chamber design was built for free revving and power first. Economy and emissions were secondary goals, and combined with the carburation available at the time, Fiat struggled to achieve the successive emissions targets in the seventies.
Returning to the engine theme, Fiat had taken the engine block design another step forward. The 1756cc is an over-bored version of the 1592cc, with 84mm and 80mm bores. The blocks share water/ oil gallery layouts and similar engine bay layouts to later cars.
My first advice for anyone looking for better performance or a freer revving twink remains the same from this point onwards. Look to the air filters and exhaust system, then the carburetor(s) and manifolds, and lastly the cams valve/ head and carbs together. Fiat tend to ‘strangle’ the noise out of their Twin Cams and appear to pay less attention to the resulting performance deficit. Because the twink is such an inherently good performer it's relatively easier and cheeper to put it back. The same sorts of ‘rules’ apply to tuning all the twinks for the next 15 years from the 132 onwards. And this is practical evidence of the evolutionary nature of twink engine development. (My apologies to any owners precluded from such changes by local regulations). Back to the plot…
124 Abarth Rally  Link to model page

The 124 Spider Abarths were produced at Abarth for two years from 1972… with special lightweight body panels, glassfibre boot and bonnet, minimal bumpers and alloy door skins. The mandatory hard top was fitted with a perspex rear window and of course with Abarth CD30 alloy wheels plus Recaro bucket seats. The 1800 engine had twin Weber 44IDF carbs and it had a unique fully independent rear suspension design complete with anti-roll bar. Within 12 months, a full performance package was available to take the cars’ 128bhp basic road output to 170bhp. In later rally variants Abarth produced a 16-valve head to help keep up with the world rally competition. But obviously there were considerable differences between the homologation road going and competition Abarths.
124 Spider 2000 & Pininfarina Special Edition  Link to model page
In 1978 the final series was introduced as the Spider 2000, with body styling bumper and interior changes. 8 months later fuel injection and automatic transmission were introduced as options. Although power output was increased to about 100bhp, the ride height was raised and the CS hydraulic bumpers weighed nearly the same as the car’s transmission! The 2000 spec. car with fuel injection, 8.2:1 compression, and high ratio final drive returns 35 mpg – but couldn’t rev much beyond 5300rpm.
In 1981 a special edition 124 2000 was produce to commemorate Pininfarina’s 50th anniversary. 1000 cars were sold with leather interiors, Abarth style wheels and metallic paint.
124 Turbo 2000 Spider  Link to model page
Perhaps as a result of customer requests, with the agreement of Fiat Motors North America, Legend Industries (of New York State) were contracted to provide 1200 turbo conversions during 1981. These kits had to comply with emissions regulations, maintain fuel economy and generate a significant power increase (rated at about 125bhp). This did less than you might anticipate to the performance levels due to the weight side of the power to weight ratio! It was marketed as the Fiat Turbo Spider. Warner IHI of Japan were chosen to provide the turbo (IHI type RHB6). It was compact and lightweight. For the level of boost an intercooler was not considered necessary – which simplified the kit and installation costs. The Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection was modified to enrich the mixture, and a Lambda sensor was added to the turbine housing output case. The 124 Turbo package also included Cromadora 14in wheels plus coachwork stripes and badges.
124 DS Azzura & Spidereuropa – The Pininfarina Years  Link to model page
In 1982 124 production was transferred to Pininfarina creating the Spider Azzura in America and the Spidereuropa in Europe. Pininfarina had always produced the body shell and now made and distributed the complete car. A similar arrangement occurred with Bertone and the X1/9 at this time as part of a Fiat and Lancia rationalisation of their production.
The new Pininfarina 124’s were labeled ‘124DS’ with engines rated at about 105bhp – the Europa being without the catalytic converter mandated in the States for the Azzura.
Lancia’s earlier collaborations with Abarth during the seventies had spawned some interesting competition equipment, including the Volumex supercharger – which Lancia installed in the Trevi, Beta Coupe/ HPE, and Fiat used in the Argenta.
124 Spidereuropa Volumex  Link to model page.
In the ‘GTi’ era of hot hatches the final chapter of the 124 Spider includes the Spidereuropa Volumex. The belt driven ‘positive displacement’ Volumex was developed specifically for the Twin Cam range with serious work undertaken latterly for the Fiat 131 Abarth prototype race cars. Testing was carried out in both 1.3l and 2.0l form with 131 Sports chassis (later marketed separately as the 131 ‘Abarth Volumetrico’ - see below). The low down instant torque of the Volumex blower suits these cars and Twin Cam road going applications well. Why superchargers? Lampredi's influence in encouraging the use of blowers - as opposed to turbo's has been noted in several autobiographies. They didn't need the same level of sophisticated engine management as turbos to make reliable road cars. (The Uno Turbo was the first of the production turbo Fiats).
After 12 months development, in 1983, manufacture began of the ‘Abarth Spidereuropa’. 500 cars were produced before Pininfarina ceased in 1985. The car is finished to very high standards with Bilstein gas shockers, Speedline 7j x15inch split rims, extended arch trims, ventilated discs and a top speed of 120mph. The engine layout is typical of Abarth’s input with coolant and airflows closely regulated to improve engine operation. Everything about the engine was re-engineered with special cams, pistons, piston rings, sodium filled valves, as well as a unique 36 DCA7/250 Weber twin choke carb. The 2-litre was conservatively quoted at 135bhp, with a maximum of 1.4bar from the blower. It’s capable of a lot more.

I’d like to know whether it was financial/cost, marketing/distribution or maintenance problems that caused Pininfarina to stop production. It has been suggested that Pininfarina stopped making the 124DS when no more gearboxes were available from Fiat - as all Fiats produced from this point have front wheel drive. As alternative sources for the gearbox components were available, I doubt that this alone would have been enough to end it all.

There should be more of these Spidereuropa VX’s in the world today. Simply marketing the cars direct to interested Fiat European car clubs should have sold more than 500 of them. Anyway 40 were painted black and the rest were ‘Abarth’ red. I suspect Pininfarina couldn’t make the project profitable enough but in engineering terms the 124 evolution ended on a fittingly high note.

124 Coupe
Yes, for the younger generations of browsers there was another Fiat Coupe ‘TC’. Its impact on the motoring world in 1967 was even greater than the nineties version! Furthermore line up the Saloon Spider and Coupe variants of the 124 in 1968, you’d be hard pressed to spot they came from the same manufacturer.
124AC
The 124 coupe made by far the greatest impact of the three in the UK. Its cornering ability – in the 124AC – is excellent. Unlike its later brethren the AC keeps all its wheels on the ground in hard cornering and doesn’t engage in the ‘ducking and diving’ antics of the saloon. The lightweight door pillars provide a light, airy feel and look to the car.
One of the fashions in this era was towards the GT or fastback shape. The 124AC suggests this while retaining a boot and headroom for four adults. The AC also had servo disc brakes all round, an optional 5-speed box and full instrumentation as standard. The torque tube transmission seems to help rear end stability of this dream of a little car on the early examples too.
Put it this way. There are very few sixties cars I would join a queue to drive. My old ‘A’ frame modded Lotus Cortina, a Lotus Elan and the 124AC would be near the top of a very short list. The 124AC is one of the very best of its day. And just as the Elan needs later suspension upgrades and the big valve head, this Fiat only really needs the later 1608cc engine from the 125 series to match any Elan I’ve driven in cornering. If you’re into collecting old Fiat greats, why haven’t you got one yet? Ah yes, they rust.
124BC
In 1969 the second series, 124BC was launched. It should have been easy…. slight body mods and more power in the same chassis right? Wrong.
Like so many manufacturers before, since and no doubt again in the future, Fiat took a winner and softened it up for popular appeal. The springs were softer, the back axle and pick up points revised which combined to give understeer, body roll and inside rear wheel lifting traits in corners. Its high gearing (4.3:1 final drive) made for good fast starts, but noisier cruising. As with the Spiders, the 124BC upgrades are base upon the 125 designs. The BC was offered in single carb 1438cc and twin carb 1608cc form.
124CC
The next major update for 124 coupes occurred late in 1972 with the new 132 based components and engine. The new 124CC had a 1756cc option with 120bhp quoted (up from 90 & 103bhp in the first two series). The styling looks heavier on the CC. The car is heavier with the larger engine and front panels. It’s revised frontal area and grill with its split bumper has always been controversial. The CC was withdrawn in 1975 although SEAT continued to make these models until 1977.

Link to model page.

125, Berlina and Special
In 1968 Fiat needed to rapidly update their medium sized saloons. To save design time, (125 was completed in 6 months) the floor pan of the previous 1300/1500 model was used. Bodywork was based on the 124 Berlina saloon, lengthened to fit onto the 1300 chassis. So although similarly shaped, the 125 and 124 actually share few panels. The 125 suspension and steering retains the older 1500 layout. Front suspension components were common to the Fiat Dino, while the rear suspension was derived from the 1300/1500 with leaf springs and trailing radius arms. The 124 1483cc engine was ‘stroked’ to 1608cc and produced 90bhp (type 125 A. 000).
125S
Simultaneously Fiat also offered the 125 Special with a 100bhp spec engine (125 B. 000) having a different camshaft and inlet manifold, but otherwise similar to the 125. In 1971 revisions were made to the 125S with a revised grill front bumper and coach trim in a second series. A General Motors auto or five-speed manual box option was also available. Road tests commented on the 5th gear at the time – it was more of a cruising overdrive gear – as a higher top speed could be achieved in 4th. This might be to do with its ‘brick shape’ and the resulting aerodynamics.
Production ended in Italy in 1972, with some 600,000 manufactured, yet the 125 proved very popular in countries where Fiats were produced under licence. In New Zealand they were called the 125T. Egypt, Argentina, Polski and FSO in Poland amongst others manufactured 125s for years after they had ceased production in Italy.

Vignale 125 Samantha
The Fiat range have always given great opportunities to the coach builder and body fabricator. Some are worthy of web pages in their own right. But on the basis that most will never be seen outside of Italy and the Alps, I propose to limit discussion to one token example. My apologies to Moretti, Scioneri, Zagato, Michelotti, Giannini, Savio, Ghia, Touring Superleggera, and Bertone et al for not including their prolific and stylish Fiat based designs. But I’m going to choose one that made it into production with a strong if tortuous UK connection… the 125 Samantha.

Tony Robinson's restored Samantha 01

Vignale had produced a series of Fiat based cars from around 1967. For the first connection, in 1968, Jensen commissioned a design competition in which the preferred design was given to Vignale for production, before a change of mind by Jensen switched production back to England. The Samantha door design was never-the-less retained from the Jensen Interceptor. For the second connection, several hundred examples of Vignale car designs were brought into the UK mainly by a London based importer. Fiat UK serviced these cars through their dealer network by prior arrangement. The list of imported cars included Vignale bodied versions of the 124 Coupe, 500 Gamine, 850 coupe and Lombardi Grand Prix, as well as some 20 Samanthas.
The 125 Samantha 4 seater coupe was well received here. Despite being nearly double the price of its donor 125, it had a classic exclusive appeal yet with standard 125 and 132 components. The Samantha’s performance was similar to the 125S with a 0-60 time of 12 seconds and 103 mph top speed. As 132 components can still be sourced for these cars (from Germany and South America in particular), running one is not completely impractical today. (I did say ‘not completely’!)

132
First launched in May 1972 the 125 replacement was available in three variants, the 1600, 1800, and Special. The Special was the first Fiat production saloon to have a wing mirror and triple section steering column. Options included electronic ignition and a limited slip diff., yet European motoring reaction was look-warm. Despite its Twin Cam heart, it is a significantly larger car than the 125 it replaced. Some of the traditional Italian brio was lacking.
Yet the 132 was a step forwarded in twink history as its engine re-design consolidated the TC package and layout. In 1972 the push rod block casting is replaced with a new 80mm bore 1592cc and an 84mm bore 1756cc. In 1974 the face-lifted second series GL and GLS versions include small adjustments in the head and valve position, and fuel supply. While in 1977, the third series standardised the bore at 84mm for both a 1600 and the new 2 litre engines. A comparison of the top models from each of the three series on power and weight would be 105bhp/1070kg, 107bhp/ 1080kg, 112bhp/1140kg. In other words a fairly modest power to weight ratio got progressively worse. The later option laden models were heavier still. From 1979 the 2 litre was also the first Fiat to have fuel injection.
Boosted by sales in Spain the Middle East and South America, the 132 was successful, but in Europe the heavy 132 seemed to be too slow, too noisy and not frugal enough in comparison to the competition.
Despite several face-lifts and limited editions over some nine years, the 132 was never a hit in the market here. In 1981 it was withdrawn. Its final edition, the Bellini, was all black with 14in Cromadora wheels.

131 Mirafiori
This car was the 124 replacement as Fiat’s mid range saloon. Yet in making the car ‘classical’ as their publicity brochures claimed, Fiat ensured an immediate visual confusion with the 132. Nor was it launched in 1974 with a twink engine. The initial models had side mounted single cam 1297cc and 1585cc engines (based on the pushrod 124 saloon).
On the plus side the 131s had rack and pinion steering and a McPherson strut suspension layout (both front and rear). ‘Competent if unspectacular’ was the general impression of the UK press.
131 Abarth  Link to model page
Fiat had already nominated the 131 for competition and prototype stardom. It is this success that really underlined the car’s potential and ensured more powerful variants.
There were 400 131 Abarths built for homologation, with special light weight panels made and assembled by Bertone. The car’s rear suspension was very similar to the 124 Abarth’s fully independent design. Much of the Abarth equipment on the car was a natural development from their 124 Rally experiences.
An exception however was the engine. New for a road going Fiat was the 2-litre twin cam engine, with a 16-valve head developed by Lampredi (and not the Abarth one available). Carburation was via a single Weber 34 ADF – although this was not used in the competition examples as they employed a Kugelfischer mechanical injection system from the car's second full season of competition.
131 Racing/ Sport  Link to model page
The 131 Racing (or Sport in the UK) was the special edition model aimed at the performance and rally interests in Europe. Paint finishes were limited to Orange, Black, Metallic Silver or Metallic Dark Grey. The Racing was also offered in White with blue stripes emulating the Walter Rohrl rally car – mainly in Germany. The Sport had a different grill lights and bumper/valence finish, but was otherwise difficult to spot to the many uninitiated. Of course the Sport/ Racing did not have the 16-valve head, or twin carbs of the rally car, yet its 2-litre engine put out a healthy 115bhp@ 5800. One of the Sport’s enduring claims to twink fame must include the gearbox - gear selections with the Abarth remote shift and ratios were excellent.
131 SuperMirafiori (Series 3) Link to model page
During 1981 the final (third) series of 131s were unveiled. The Super Mirafiori included 1300cc, 1600cc, and 2000cc versions of the Twin Cam. The 2 litre replaced the Racing/ Sport with a softer sprung four-door example.
131 SuperMirafiori Volumetric Abarth Link to model page
A special edition Volumex version was also prepared by Abarth in the same four-door shell. It was called the ‘Volumetrico’. To give its full title, the 131 2000 SuperMirafiori Volumetric Abarth. But I doubt that would even fit on a number plate sized rear badge. Again apart from the oval exhaust tail pipe and Pirelli Plus One wheels, you’d find difficulty in spotting this one until it burnt passed. Mechanical changes were extensive but in keeping with usual fast road car treatment by Abarth. This left hooker gave massive torque, 140 bhp DIN @ 3600rpm and a lot more tuning potential. I don’t have any figures for the ‘Volumetrico’ production numbers. Last time I looked Tony Castle-Miller had one, and I’ve seen two others in the UK… about the same number as the competition 131 Rally Abarths over here.

Lancia Betas
So much of the Twin Cam story centres around the Lancia developments that I make no apology for including our Fiat Group ‘brothers’ when necessary. If I had the space to delve into more detail the reasons would be blatantly apparent. Suffice to say some of the Lancia models were the champions and prototypes for successful technical evolution of the Twink designs. So in these circumstances they’re one of us! (By the way, the SFC constitution allows and demands that we address “Fiat derivatives”).
After merger between Fiat and Lancia in 1969, one of the first decisions was to adopt the Twin Cam for Lancia’s next range of cars. The new Lancias were named ‘Beta’ in honour of Vincenzo Lancia’s first ever production car.
Beta Saloon
Engine development for the Beta and Fiat 132 occurred in parallel. In the Beta, however, the engine is transverse driving the front wheels. Consequently the engine was canted backwards to reduce bonnet height. And detailed design of the combustion chambers, cams, carbs and inlet manifold are different in the Lancia engines. All the Betas had 5 speed boxes and the Berlina saloon was launched with all three capacities then available in the Twin Cam range – namely 1438cc, 1592cc and 1756cc. Power outputs from the engines were 90 – 100 – 110bhp @ 6000 rpm and max torque of 11.8 – 13.1 – 14.7mkg @ 3800 – 3200 – 3000rpm respectively. The Beta Berlina was an advanced and well received success. Perhaps one general adverse comment centred on the lack of difference in the performance of the large capacity models.
Beta Coupe & Spider
A year later a Beta coupe was produced, using the same engine and components as the Berlina, but with a shorter wheelbase. The clean lines of the Beta coupe were complimented with a 10% power increase over the Berlina. A Beta Spider was also commissioned, designed by Pininfarina and built by Zagato, with a removable targa top and folding rear panel.
Beta HPE
In 1975 a High Performance Estate (HPE) version of the Beta was announced. It was a two door five seater car based on the Berlina floor pan with a rear tail gate. It was really a sports version of the usual estate cars, aimed at country living, load bearing and family carrying requirements. Again the car was a commercial success.
Beta Montecarlo/ Scorpion  Link to model page
The Beta Montecarlo had been developed by Fiat along side the X1/9 project – initially as the X1/8 and later the X1/20. (Biographies from these days suggest a lot of ‘smoke and mirrors’ around the Fiat research and development X projects, more for internal than external consumption – they weren’t always so tightly defined either). Pininfarina had been involved in the mid engined rear wheel drive two seater design, and probably envisaged using a V6 engine, derived from the Lancia Stratos. An Abarth/ Pininfarina prototype, the SE030 had been entered in the 1972 Giro d’Italia with this configuration. Oil crisis pressures seem to have favoured the Twin Cam choice, however, with the transverse Beta power unit and transmission chosen and mid-mounted – driving the rear wheels.
The car was named after the first Stratos victory in the 1975 Championship, the prestigious Monte Carlo rally. The Montecarlo was also the first Twin Cam with a 1995cc capacity – by increasing the stroke of the engine to 90mm whilst retaining the 84mm bore size. Power was increased to 120bhp @ 6000rpm. The engine block of these cars is therefore significantly taller then the 1800 equivalents.
Beta Montecarlo Turbo
Fame was to come for the Montecarlo when Lancia approached Dallara to design a racing sports car to take on Porsche in the World Championships. The Montecarlo was the obvious candidate.
While Dallara crafted the chassis, Lancia developed a special twink of 1426cc (so that it could run as a turbo in the under 2 litre class - carrying a x1.4 capacity penalty for the turbo). The cylinder block was from the US spec Beta, with a bore of 82mm and stroke of 67.5mm with special con rods and pistons. The cylinder head came from the Fiat Abarth 131, fuel injection from Bosch (mechanical), and turbo from KKK. Power was quoted at 370bhp @8500rpm, and 35mkg @7000rpm torque in 1979. I don’t have the turbo output details.
Dallara used a similar design to their racing X1/9 with front and rear space frames extending from the cabin to carry components, and an all-round McPherson strut suspension. The bodywork was Kevlar reinforced, being designed and wind tunnel tested by Pininfarina – who were responsible for body assembly.
During its development year, 1979, two cars were entered in the Giro d’italia, finishing first and second before disqualification on route infringements. They took the World Championships in 1980 and 1981, although not without massive further development including a 1773cc twin turbo version. Jolly Club 1.4 litre cars ran with factory support and gained valuable championship points and class wins in all the championship years too. Changes in World Endurance Championship regulations and the advent of the ground effect era meant Lancia moved on to the twink engined LC1 Sports prototype and we should move on too.
Beta Series 2
The second series of Betas adopted a variant of the 1995cc engine, as well as introducing a 1297cc Twin Cam instead of the original 1438cc unit. Subtle changes were introduced to the bodies of the second series too.
Exports to the States suffered from the restrictive emissions regulations, where the Montecarlo was called the Scorpion. It even lost out to the X1/9 in overall performance.
In 1978 electronic ignition was introduced across the range, followed in 1980 with fuel injection – initially on the Coupe and HPE. This fuel injection solution has been complimented for its improvements to the mid range response of these engines, rather than their maximum power or even economy – both of which tended to suffer a little.
Beta Series 3
The final engine version in the Beta family was the Volumex supercharged units. This had been tested in a prototype version of the Beta Montecarlo during 1980 before being announced in the 1982 model ranges. In the April Turin Show that year Lancia unveiled the Trevi VX and the road going version of their new rally car, the Group B Lancia 037. During the summer of 1983, Volumex installations were also available in the third series Coupe and HPE. By the time that the last production ceased on the Beta models in 1984, Lancia’s research and testing for their rally cars was in full swing. And this heralded the
next chapter in twink development.

Lancia 037 Abarth Rally

Lancia had been competing with great success in the World Sportscar (later Endurance) Championship with a very reliable Beta Montecarlo Turbo package between 1980 and 1982. The passenger cell of the Montecarlo was also chosen for their return into world rallying. Entered into Group B, the 037 (named after the Abarth code number for the project) had a space frame structure with the supercharged engine placed longitudinally in mid engined layout. Pininfarina designed the bodywork and the final choice of engine was the 1995cc twin cam with, Abarth 16 valve head and twin Webers. Remember a similar engine configuration had been developed and understood in the131 Abarth Rally for over four years by now. The competition cars were quoted at 270bhp at 8000rpm during 1982.
But this really underplays the amount of changes that made the 037. Apart from the bore and stroke of the engine, and the basic passenger cell, little remained of a standard Montecarlo/ Scorpion.
The competition car was press reviewed in February of 1982 and homologated in April. But it was in August with the first of the evolution cars that fuel injection was introduced. Markku Alen finished fourth in that year’s RAC Rally as the team worked to gain reliability in the September-November period before the season’s end. A rigorous weight reduction programme and engine upgrade continued into the new year. The car now weighed 760kg in comparison to 1020kg of the first car with power now in excess of 300bhp. The driver line up for 1983 also included Walter Rohrl, who joined Markku Alen and Jean-Claude Andruet.
In 1983 was a season long battle with the Audi Quattros ensued, ending in Lancia’s first WRC championship since the Stratos years. Any time the rally events presented reasonably solid surfaces, especially on tarmac the 037s could beat the Quattros. But the results show very similar stage times between the rival makes. Biasion and Siviero also won the ’83 European Driver’s Championship in a 037.
A second evolution of the 037 was prepared for 1984 with an over-bored (86.4mm x 90mm stroke) 2111cc engine. But the Quattros were quicker, and Lancia finished runner up in the championship. 1985 followed the same theme, as the successive revisions in 4 wheel drive technology allowed the 4WD cars to exploit better grip. The ’85 037 is quoted at 345bhp and 32mkg @ 4500rpm torque.
By 1985, Lancia had a new generation of rally car in full development – the Delta S4. I’m going to exclude detailed discussion of this car, as it was not derived from the Fiat Twin Cam. It wasn’t really a Delta in anything but name, it was very exotic in its use of advanced technologies and ultimately led up a blind alley in world rallying as Group B and Group S were excluded in 1986. It did herald the Delta Integrale though – see below.
Link to model page.

Argenta
In 1981 Fiat introduced a re-styled 132 called the Argenta. As the top of the range saloon several new innovations in the Twin Cams were introduced. For instance the 2 litre variant had electronic injection. From 1982 these cars were also fitted with electronic ignition (making them ‘iE’s in badge-speak). These Twin Cams were also the first to have the new head seal designs and a revised sump with increased oil capacity. The increasing trend towards diesel power was also reflected in turbo and non turbo 2,445cc examples delivering 90 & 72bhp.
A special Volumex SX edition of the Argenta even gave 135 bhp at 5500rpm and pushed the car to 60 in 9.2 seconds. Yet the large saloon was never a commercial success and was withdrawn in 1985.

Strada/ Ritmo
I always had the impression that Fiat were a little surprised by the hot hatch revolution in Europe. Perhaps it was just too close to their own long-standing philosophy for them to spot the differences. The second thing I couldn’t understand about the late-seventies-into- eighties era was the pasting that the UK press gave to the Strada (Ritmo in Europe). It did the job intended.
Strada 105TC  Link to model page
Fiat & Fiat UK seemed very reluctant to market the Strada in Twin Cam form until relatively late in the GTi day. In 1982 the newly discontinued 75CL three door was fitted with a 1585cc Twin Cam and the Strada 105TC was born. It had been marketed in Europe for nearly 12 months, having been announced in May 1981. It was basically a transverse variant on the 131 1600TC engine, but with bigger valves, increased compression, and a full flow manifold –although also with a single Weber carb. As its name suggests, the resulting power output was 105bhp at 6100rpm.
The UK Strada 105TC package included front and rear spoilers, 14inch Cromadora wheels (with P6 Pirelli tyres in the UK) and an Abarth Scorpion-ed steering wheel. Improvements to handling and braking were also radical with a larger clutch, and sump, better oil pump and revised spring and damper rates. The mark 1 had single headlights, although in 1983 the mark 2 had a revised grill with twin headlights and electronic ignition. The mark 2 also benefited from the Strada Abarth anti roll bar and front spring designs.
Compared with hot hatch rivals, the 105TC lost out in the important 0-60time/ spec/ look/ badge wars of the hottest hatches. 1,790 were imported into the UK by 1986 when production ceased.
Ritmo Abarth 125TC  Link to model page
Ritmo Abarth 125TC was the second sports version of the Ritmo to appear. This was the mark 1 105TC with a more powerful engine and further Abarth rally experience applied. It was presented at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1981 and production began later in the year. Abarth stiffened the shell and changed suspension details and brakes. The interior was also better equipped. It is a cracking little car.
Strada Abarth 130TC  Link to model page
But the Golf GTi challenged Fiat on their traditional ‘home turf’. Major modifications and a comprehensive styling package were at last on the agenda. The Golf was to be beaten on performance by the third in the trio of Strada hot hatches – the Abarth 130TC.
I’d been looking for another saloon to put true driving performance first. And at last it had arrived. The mark 1 Strada Abarth 130TC had a grey check interior while the mark 2 was black with the Fiat 5 bar logo in a red diagonal pattern. They shared twin Solex or Weber 40mm carbs, ZF gearbox, ventilated front discs, Recaro racing front seats and a stronger suspension – especially at the rear. The 130TC was also slightly lighter than the 125TC despite being larger.
The twin carbs made the 130TC fussier than the other hot hatches (with their injection systems) and it needed more specialist maintenance support. Just over 700 Strada Abarths were imported so it is a scarce and desirable Fiat.
The Strada Abarth delivered what it promised “(it)…goes right to the top of the hot hatch league with no ifs or buts. It goes it stops and it grips. And I want one.” Car and Car Conversions.

Morgan

From 1981 Morgan used the 1585cc engine and gearbox from the 131 as it was capable of passing the overseas emissions requirements in some of their key export markets. In 1984 the 1600 engine was substituted with the 131 1995cc unit - in this case from the Argenta. It had a Bosch fuel injection system and delivered a respectable 130bhp max. This option remained on the Morgan catalogue until 1986.

Regata
The Regata was effectively a longer wheelbase Strada with a boot. Initially it was available with a carb, but later the 1585cc engine was supplied with single point fuel injection. The Weekend estate version proved more popular as a spacious and competent performer in the estate sector. Sales in the UK never approached the popularity of the 131 (131 worldwide sales totaled over 1.7 million) – which in size and function it replaced. Its floorpan was used for the Lancia Prisma too.

Lancia Thema
At this point another Fiat Group car should be added as TC evolution stepped forward. The Lancia Type 4 Project model was called the Thema. Announced in October 1984, it was powered by a further development of the Twin Cam. As it was equipped with counter rotating ‘Lanchester’ balancer shafts. A turbo and a normally aspirated version of the 1995cc-twin cam was on offer. The turbo version had a Garrett exhaust driven turbo, Bosch Jetronic fuel injection and Marelli electronic ignition. The normally aspirated version was also equipped with balancer shafts after number 2000 had been made.

The transverse engines are tilted forward 20 degrees in the Thema to reduce the height of the bonnet line.
In 1988 a second series of the Thema introduced 16 valve versions for both normally aspirated and turbo options. The power outputs were 150bhp @6000rpm and 185bhp @5500rpm respectively. An 8-valve option was retained producing 119bhp @5250rpm.

Croma
I offer a thought about the ‘sporty’ nature of the 2-litre twin cam. It is a lively and torquey design rather than lazy or frugal. The engine has a short stroke and wide bore so they rev and breathe well. Consequently they don’t make for easy or relaxed cruising. In comparison with Ford Europe, Fiat had stopped production of their V6 engine with the 130 Coupe and Saloon. Yet Ford retained their V6 for the Granada and 3 litre Capris. Like Fiat, Ford have struggled at times to provide an effective fleet sales executive car. But they retained a larger engine which made selling in this sector a lot easier. Aside from kudos and badge snobbery issues, is this part of the reason why Fiat have consistently struggled in the large car sector? It's even more curious when Lancia used a version of the Alfa V6 in the Lancia version of the joint venture project. Was Fiat's large saloon ever really expected to compete against the Lancia Thema on equal terms?
The Croma was Fiat’s attempt to occupy a niche in the large car market in the mid-eighties. Born of a joint venture (the Type 4 Project) with Lancia, Saab and Alfa Romeo, they aimed to use a common platform and floorpan and offer four different models - one for each manufacturer.

Bobby Sev's Croma Turbo
Compared to the Alfa 164, Lancia Thema V6, and Saab 9000, the Croma was definitely a budget large car. And it’s 155bhp-turbo version Twin Cam in particular has found its way into many SFC project cars! It remains, however, under rated.
The Croma also offers a link with the earlier 8 valve TC engine technology and the Fiat/Lancia experience in eighties turbo design. It used a Garrett turbo charger, Bosch injection and electronic engine management. The Croma offered good value in all its 1800 and 2 litre variants. But did not sell in great numbers here. It was a better car than the write-ups made out. Its trim levels and build quality were an improvement on comparable Fiat saloons of the day - yet in this important executive area it probably wouldn't compare well with the Croma's partners in the Type 4 project. The UK press dubbed these cars as 'Euro Bland'. When compared with other manufacturer's 2 litre variants at the time I find this unjust. Yes these four cars behave quite similarly - as you might expect - but they were well up to the standards of their time. The Croma gave huge value and reliable second hand motoring as a family car, the Turbo's give you a super Grand Tourer.

Meanwhile Lancia were about to take the turbo-charged 2 litre Thema engine onto a 16-valve level, and apply it to their mid range saloon with world shaking consequences. The 2 litre Twink engine was about to come to maturity at a level of performance that would have both shocked and pleased Lampredi, I'm sure.

Lancia Delta and Integrale
The first Deltas were produced in the final months of the seventies, with single overhead cam power. Three years later a 1585cc Twin Cam was introduced to the range at roughly the same time as the Strada 105TC was being imported to the UK. The Delta 1600GT delivered its 105bhp at 5800 revs.
Delta HF Turbo
In 1984 the Delta HF Turbo became the first twink production model to be fitted with a turbo (albeit only months ahead of the Uno Turbo). Lancia had made good use of their competition experience with turbos from the Beta Montecarlo and LC1 race car programmes. The HF Delta mechanicals have proved enduringly reliable and delivered 130bhp at 5600rpm. Curiously enough this was the same maximum power as the Strada 130TC. As a motorway cruiser the Delta HF is a little more refined, but for fast road work the 130TC had the edge. However, the hot hatch rule book was about to be re-written.
Delta HF Turbo iE
In 1985 both Deltas models were given fuel injection, which increased their maximum power to 108 and 140bhp. The torque curve was much improved, and the HF Turbo was much more responsive. It is a shame these cars were so rust prone, few good examples remain. Again it had a good sized intercooler, (double the Uno Turbo’s) and the 1600 engine size gives it flexibility and tractability in an engine block that’s significantly smaller than the 2 litre. Consequently many of SFC performance conversions have this engine. Its Weber-Marelli engine management is also fully re-mappable and doesn’t use an air corrector assembly to control pressure in the injection plenum chamber – the map being able to correct for plenum pressure variations itself. It’s an excellent example of eighties turbo engineering.
Delta HF4WD
A third model Delta was introduced in 1986 with 4 wheel drive, balance shafts and a 1995cc capacity. Along with the Lancia Thema, these engine designs really show the main elements of Twin Cam development for the next decade. The Delta HF4WD produced 165bhp.
During this year the World Rally Championship regulations were revised, on safety grounds. This effectively excluded Group B and left the championship to production based Group A cars, 5000 of which had to be produced for homologation. The Delta HF4WD suited this purpose well. Its first win was on the Monte Carlo Rally in 1987 and it took the World Rally Championship in its first season, 1987.
Delta HF Integrale
For 1988 development continued and the Delta HF Integrale appeared for the first time. The transmission brake system and power output were all uprated. An initial run of 5000 was planned for homologation, but popularity ensured that production lines stayed open. The 8-valve engine developed 185bhp at 5300rpm (31mkg torque at 2500rpm). Homologation had delayed the use of the first Integrale in WRC competition and the Delta 4WD was used for the first few rallies.
Delta HF Integrale 16 valve
In 1989 the 16 valve 200bhp engine was introduced, and the Delta Integrale 16v proved to be as effective on the roads as on the rally courses. Lancia had another winner.
A different turbo charger and management package increased maximum power to 200bhp in the road going version.
Delta HF Integrale 16 valve (Evoluzione 1)
The final version of the Delta, the Delta HF Integrale, was introduced in September 1991. Again revisions were aimed at maintaining rally competitiveness with track, damper and brake improvements for the 1992 championship. The road going version was rated at 210bhp and had different wheels rear spoiler and interior.
Just to add some confusion to the mix the cars were never badged as ‘Evoluzione’. The Evo 1 was so described at the Chivasso factory to help tell it apart but never appeared in the sales literature. If we stay with the Chivasso definition then the 1991 Delta HF Integrale (the second 16-valve series) was the Evoluzione 1.

Delta HF Integrale 16 valve (Evoluzione 2)

The Evo 2 had only cosmetic changes with high back Recaros, 16inch wheels and air conditioning. Production ceased in 1994. By then no less than 10 limited editions had also been released to the UK culminating in the Final Edition Evo 2. Excluding the special editions, all HF Integrales sold in the UK were also badged ‘Montecarlo’ – like the Beta, for the Stratos and Integrale wins on this prestigious rally.

Maggiora and Chivasso

Formed in 1925 under Arturo Maggiora as a high quality car body maker - a coach builder or 'Carrozzeria'. Their work has graced many Fiat and Lancia cars like the early Fiat 1100 Viotti Giardiniettas and the Lancia Flaminia Tourers. The company was grown and extended, with several Abarth and Cisitalia bodies produced.

Diversification into many body forms continued - including two and four wheel vehicles as well as commercial and light commercial projects. By the mid-eighties, these included the De Tomosa Pantera, van and pickup versions of the Panda, sub assemblies for several commercial vans and Uno van bodies.

In 1991 Maggiora merged with Sanmarco and Lamier to form IRMA SpA - later a major supplier to the Ducato range. In 1992 Maggiora SRL was formed and took over a major part of the old Lancia Chivasso factory north of Turin.

From October 1992 they undertook production of the Delta Integrale Evoluzione. The last deliveries of the Evoluzione were completed in 1994. They had a party there with the inaugural meet of the Italian Delta Integrale Owners Club - effectively to toast the end of production for the great car. At the same time the 'Puntograle' was shown for the first time. Gob smackingly good, dressed in all gold, images of this car have gone around the world and featured in most car magazines.

From the demise of the Integrale, most of the production capacity was taken up by the Barchetta - at around 50 bodies a day. Some complete cars were produced here too. Including the Kappa Coupe. In addition many design studies and prototypes are still produced at Chivasso. More recently these have included soft top Unos and Cinquecentos, special Integrales and Barchetta Coupes.

Punto Grama 2 - the Puntograle

Into the 1999 -2000 era Maggiora also built the Punto Rally and S1600. But we return to the Punto Mk1 and 4 wheel drive with a difference! The Puntograle is painted in metallic gold paint and looks fantastic. The car's floor pan is made from the Dedra Integrale - with engine and running gear to match. It was first seen in 1994 - and shown at the inaugural party of the Italian Integrale Owners Club in the Chivasso Works. The party was held to celebrate the last batch of Delta Integrales on their way to Japan and the passing of the Integrale Evo2 out of production and into history!

Grama2 Punto by Maggiora at Chivasso

The Dedra floor pan is too long for the Punto. Yet to accommodate the Integrale running gear and keep the proportions and rigidity of the original Punto, the additional length has been disguised with extended front and rear valances. It is done very well. The 17inch Delta Integrale wheels distract the viewer's attention from the enormous valences - they are in proportion with the wheels, while the wheel arch extensions are barely apparent but again of more significant scale.

Twinks in Rallying - World Rally Championship x9

This is a fitting moment to pay tribute to the competition efforts of the Fiat and Lancia teams. In 1991 it was Lancia’s intention to defend their World Title again. To this end an Evoluzione 2 was planned with power, suspension, brake and wheel upgrades. But it would miss homologation for the 1991 season. They used the previous spec. car to win the last championship in a very close fight with Toyota. This should have brought the Integrale’s competitive career to an end as Lancia did not officially contest the next season. But Martini sponsorship, and driver contracts were in place, so with Abarth support the Jolly Club entered the cars - and took the championship again.
The Deltas had just completed 5 successive championship wins to complete a tremendous series of 9 WRC manufacturer wins by Twin Cam engined Fiat/Lancias. This was achieved between 1976 and 1992… (x4 Integrale wins, x1 Delta 4WD win, x1 Lancia 037 win, x3 131 Abarth wins). It also makes their competition departments, along with Abarth, the best in the world in this era – with no ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’!

Alfa 164

The 2 litre Turbo of the 164 had a version of the Lancia twink when it was introduced in 1988. The output of this engine was raised to 171bhp - about 6 bhp more than the equivalent Lancia engine - simply by the omission of balancer shafts. This turbo version of the 164 had a top speed of 139mph and 0-60 time of just over 7 seconds. The 164 turbo can be identified from its additional driving lights and additional front valance air intakes - distinguishing it from the more pedestrian versions of the 164. In 1991 the 164 turbo was superceded with the Alfa 2 litre V6 Turbo version.

Tipo
The Tipo was launched in 1989. The 10-model range was an immediate success with over 1 million produced within 32 months at Cassino. The engine range includes two sohc versions, a 1.7 diesel and 1.9 turbo diesel, a 1756cc TC and the last a 1995cc 16-valve TC.
In 1990 a 1756cc Twin Cam (called the GT in the UK) was introduced with injection and balance shafts. It had excellent free revving attributes and was notably smoother. There are examples in the club, although Fiat UK say they were not officially marketed here, you could get right hand drive versions.
From October 1991 the 1995cc iE was introduced. It had an ABS and Recaro interior option, stiffer suspension and disc brakes all round. The 16 valve Tipo is a greatly under-rated car. Its engine delivered 148bhp and 18mkg max torque, giving a 0-60 of 8.3 seconds. The unit is virtually identical to the Lancia Thema, with a 20-degree forward inclination.
The main criticism of this car is its relatively late appearance in the UK. Only some 700 cars were imported before production ceased. If the 16-valve had been available sooner after its launch, I suspect many more would have been bought here. It has a broad torque curve but is not as free revving as some of its predecessors. Although getting rid of some of the strangulation is relatively easy. One mod frequently mentioned is the conversion to a cone air filter. It is highly advisable to retain the standard ducting and airbox, locating the cone in the near side wheel arch to keep interior induction noise to normal levels.
All the outer panels of the Tipo were galvanised, and ten years on they look good. Once the Bravo/a get to this age too, I think we might see Fiat’s adverse reputation for rust and build quality quietly die in the corner somewhere.
From mid 1993 all the Tipos (and Tempras) had a revised front grill with narrower headlights and improved crash protection. All models also got central locking and electric windows as standard. The Tipos were discontinued at the end of 1995 with the introduction of the Brava/o range.
Is it heresy to admit I sometimes use my Sedicivalvole as a tow car? It’s mid range torque and spacious interior (with the back seats down) makes it very useful.
With the Tipo and Integrale under bonnet space is at a premium. Am I just getting old or is the idea of testing and replacing a component you can’t even see let alone touch - from any angle - making this bonnet place a no go area? Getting them up on hydraulic ramps helps - like tropical vegetation it thins out a bit underneath the photosynthesizing layers.

Link to model page.

Tempra
In 1990 the Tempra came to the UK with a broad range of models including the 1.8iE SX Twin Cam. Unfortunately the SX had digital instruments. The Tempra estate was introduced a year later equipped with a horizontally split tailgate. All the Tempras were four door saloons, except for the 5 door estate. Fiat repeated a trick they’d used with the Strada and Regata – basing the saloon on the initial hatchback design and floor pan. This floor pan was also the basis of the Lancia Dedra. The clean lined Dedra was not deigned in–house like the Tempra, but by IDEA, the Italian design house.
The Tempra was not popular here although they make thoroughly attractive work-horses. Club members report that the ride and handling wasn’t as good as the Tipo. From early 1993 the top Tempra became a 2 litre iE with disc brakes all round. The Tempra was discontinued in 1996.

Lancia Dedra

The Tipo 16v, Tempra and Dedra all benefited from the latest in engine management and injection technology within the Group. On launch two of the Dedras three engine options were twinks. Both these models use the newly available Weber IAW system to control ignition and fueling. The Dedra also has a self diagnostic facility, and a 'get you home' facility to compensate for defective engine sensors.

It also has a good drag coefficient (Cx0.29) and a top speed over 125mph. By 1990 a further two models were added to the range, the turbo having Viscodrive traction control and the Dedra Integrale being equipped with 4 wheel drive. The integrale version carries the same components as the turbo, but 15bhp more (180bhp). These are seriously underestimated, and often under priced saloons.

In 1994 the turbo version was discontinued, and a new 1.8litre 16-valve introduced, cutting the range offered to three engine variants - 1.6,1.8 and integrale. Production continued until 1998.

Alfa 155

Introduced in 1992, partly to homologate the racing version of the model - the 155 GTA - for the Italian Touring Car Championship. This was the Alfa 155 Q4 with a turbocharged 186bhp twink - based on the Lancia Integrale. The 'Q4' refers to the 4 wheel drive system also borrowed from the Integrale - with three differentials. All this adds another 200kg to the weight of a standard Alfa 155 Twin Spark.

I think we could safely describe this car as 'trick'. It also had electronically controlled suspension and four way six sensor ABS. It was built between 1992 and 1993, and just over 2,700 were made. A couple of handfuls were delivered in the UK (left hand drive of course).

It worked - the race car took 17 outright wins from the 20 round Championship - driven by Nicola Larini.

The carbon fibre bodied race car (155GTA Superturismo) weighed 1050kg, had 400bhp on tap, and had a fully programmable suspension /torque split capability so it could all be changed for each race track. 164 rear axle geometry was adopted. Why do I get the idea that if it were allowed back into the championship in the next season it would have done the same again?

New Delta

In 1993 Lancia launched a new hatchback model to replace the Delta. It was called the New Delta. The mistake was that it hadn't any major body or engineering connections with the previous Delta.

(Yes, I know now it may beggar belief but Lancia executives must have thought they could get away with this one... you take one of the World's all time great hatchbacks - an icon of the age..... and you bin it - all but the name, and you presumably think we the dumb car buying public won't spot the difference... and will go out and buy the new one just because its called a Delta. Well Lancia were within 5 years of withdrawing from the UK and I think this decision put many screws all the handles and several coats of varnish on the coffin!)

The new Delta was actually a cut down version of the Dedra - in looks and engineering approach. The package was extensively re-engineered - but for the ultimate test of performance style and iconography can you tell me the last time you saw one? Now can you tell me what was the colour of the last Integrale you saw and when you saw it?

The final edition of this new Delta was the HPE Evo 500. The HPE was made from 1995, and has a turbocharged 1995cc twink putting out 193bhp. While the other versions of this car received the new version twin cams in 1996, the HPE retained the four cylinder Lampredi 1995cc engine until Lancia withdrew from the UK in 1998. It holds the distinction of being the last Fiat Group car to have a Lampredi based twink in the world. In 1999 the new Delta was discontinued. There were no owners club parties at the factory for this Delta.

Coupe
Some cars are just born classics - before they roll off the production line. Looks and performance combined also make for a very special Sporting Fiat! And here we have one of the all time best. The Tipo floor pan was the basis for the Coupe. And the builders were Pininfarina so the car's build quality is good too. Galvanised and well painted, the bodywork looks good ten years from new. You will need to check for niggling relay problems, and look after/ replace suspension bushes and wishbones - even perhaps replace brakes and a turbo exhaust manifold, but overall these cars are viceless. You will only need to budget to maintain a performance car to be rewarded with reliability and huge enjoyment.

The Coupe is also a high watermark in the Lampredi Twin Cam development. Because half way through the Coupe's production life, the 4 cylinder twink was substituted with the new 5 cylinder engine.

This engine is not a twink with an extra cylinder. The engine's characteristics and parameters are quite different. It is a different design, with a more refined, longer stroke engine. Its built for cruising efficiency and economy before performance. That's not to say the 5 pot lacks poke - it just does the other things a bit better.
Traction control is installed on the 4 cylinder turbo option, and traction control with ABS is standard on both the 5 cylinder models and it is needed! But when driven on the limit, the traction control can’t cure all the front wheel drive cornering antics. The 5 cylinders are more economical and a have a smoother engine. For modification the 4 cylinder turbo gains years of development and tuning experience from the Lancia Integrale. The 'LE' Turbo is the one Coupe special edition, with 6 speed box, different wheels and enhanced trim.

The Coupe is a Grand Touring cruiser of the classic coupe variety, with great looks, good build quality and is a performance bargain. Thanks again to badge snobbery, you can appreciate quality engineering at great value. Production ceased in 2000. I'm still in shock - as four years later we have nothing remotely like a replacement. Here are some Coupe milestones…
1995-96 4 cylinder 2.0 litre 16 valve with turbo option arrived in UK
1996 Late in the year 2.0 litre, 5 cylinder was introduced with minor improvements
1996 2.0 litre 5 cylinder turbo option.
1998 Mid year Turbo Plus limited edition introduced with 6 speed box, push button starter body mods
2000 Coupe withdrawn.

Link to model page.

Lancia Kappa

The Kappa was the replacement for the Lancia Thema. It had a large berlina aimed at the upper end of the market with four doors and air conditioning. Its interior was well finished. Five power unit options were available. The most powerful of these was the 1995cc Turbo Twink - with balancer shafts - that delivered 205bhp DIN. Ventilated front discs and ABS were standard. The suspension was a refined version of the Thema. It has Macpherson struts and anti roll bars front and rear, with lower wishbones at the front and trailing arms with transverse links at the rear. The Coupe's Visco-drive traction control helps prevent torque steer. In 1996 the Kappa SW estate version was introduced.

In 1995 Bertone showed the Kyak - a coupe based on this floor pan and components at Geneva. In this case the 5 cylinder twink was the power source. But by 1997 Lancia produced their own Kappa Coupe with a 120mm shorter floorpan. This coupe offers unique 16 inch alloys and adjustable Recaro seats.

In 1998 the 4 cylinder Twink was dropped from the Kappa range in favour of the 5 cylinder engine.

A much lighter version of the Kappa Saloon is presently to be seen in the Euro Italia race series, owned and run by Trevor Nicosia.

Barchetta

The Barchetta made its debut at the 1995 Geneva Motor Show. Fiat's response to the upsurge in soft top demand - led by the growing sales of the Mazda MX5 was the Barchetta. It is based on a shortened version of the Punto floor pan. And it also boasts an all new twin cam engine design.

The engine has the familiar iron block and alloy head, but Fiat had taken the time to look carefully at the features and performance of the MX5 and produced a tractable and sporty alternative. They acquired a Japanese company with variable valve technology, to produce the Barchetta's variator. This design has caused problems due to over-close tolerances and engine oil carbon fouling on the early Barchettas.

But the nearly square 1747cc, dohc 16V unit with 130bhp and 121lbs/ft of torque is a drivers delight. The engine is compact and features a stainless steel 4-2-1 exhaust manifold, piston crown oil cooling jets, forged steel conrods and self adjusting hydraulic tappets too.

In 2003 production problems suspended deliveries, but from Summer 2004 the Barchetta is available again.

Link to model page.

Punto Sporting and the 1242cc 16-valve twin cam

Another great Fiat twin cam was launched with the first major revisions to the Punto in 1997 (although it was used in the Lancia Y a few months before). The Punto had then been in production for 4 years. The new engine replaced the original 1.6 litre Cabrio and Sporting models and was an immediate hit. Sporting Puntos now not only looked and sounded good - but also had true Sporting power and poise to match. These are great little cars because of their engine and revised rear suspension.

This 1242cc 16 valve is a physically small engine. Even so it's a tight fit in the Punto's engine bay. It was the first twin cam FIRE engine as well. All the previous engines to go through the Fiat FIRE process were single cammed. Perhaps we should pause for a list of them. The FIRE process stands for Fully Integrated Robotised Engine.

FIRE

ENGINE

Year

Bore x

Stroke

Applications

156.A2 000

999cc

1983

70x61.9mm

8 valve

09/84 Y10, then Uno, Panda

156.A4 000

769cc

1985

65x58mm

8 valve

01/86 to 04/94

Panda

160.A3 000

1108cc

1988-9

70x72mm

8 valve

09/89 Uno,

Punto, Cinq Sporting

176.A7 000

1242cc

1992

70.8x78.9mm

8 valve

09/93 Punto

Lancia Y

657 CA 12

1242cc

1996-7

70.8x78.9mm

16 valve

03/97 Lancia Y,

07/97 Punto

       

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The process has changed over time to include all the main elements of engine design, casting and manufacture, as well as automated assembly. In this case particular attention was paid to the block size and weight. High quality cast iron and casting methods have allowed thinner walled engine blocks and more weight saving throughout the FIRE range. The 1242cc also has 20 degree inclined valves to reduce the head width required. The toothed cambelt also drives only one cam directly. As in the Barchetta engine the second cam is gear driven - allowing the use of Fiat's variable valve timing system in the Barchetta.

The engine punches well above its capacity in performance terms - delivering 86bhp at 6000rpm and 83 lbs/ft of torque at 4500rpm. In the Punto it also includes the now mandatory hydraulic tappets and multipoint injection too.

From now one all the medium sized Fiats will have this engine in their range. Its too good not to be the first small engine choice. It lifted the Punto Sporting towards the performance levels of the standard Punto GT turbo.


Bravo/ Brava

Utterly reliable, well thought through and oozing Italian styling – especially in the second revised body shape and a stylish match against any of the alternatives. The day will soon dawn, for the second hand market, when this car's build quality and lack of corrosion will be appreciated. What this car has extra of is that illusive style factor.

The range includes a choice of the new twinks - the top of the range being the HGT 20 valve from the Coupe. The 5 cylinder engine has an impressive number of developments in a really well sorted car. Balancer shafts, variable valve timing, hydraulic tappets, twin injectors. This new 2.0 litre engine size is 1998cc with 82mm bore and 75.7mm stroke, and Max power is 147bhp@ 6100rpm with 137lbsft @4500rpm torque. This gives 130mph top speed 0-60 8.2sec. The Bravo HGT is quiet, sophisticated and speedy.

Marea
My first reaction to this car was ‘no way does this just feel like a bigger Brava’. The ride and drive are too different. And the Marea is no poor relation – of course it out lived the Bravas too.
The 2.4 litre 5 cylinder 150bhp version is a deceptive family car (which it shares with the Coupe). The engine is powerful enough to upset the car mid corner, and dispose of any rolling road blocks on your local A road. 0-60 time is a shade under 9 seconds and the top speed about 130mph. New I expect many would opt for the more frugal diesel or 1.6/1.8/2.0 4 cylinder TC. From 1999 the 105 range also got the new JTD diesels. But this Marea is going to be a used car bargain where you’re most likely to encounter the grey or blue 1.8 ELX. Watch for the costly major services at 60-72k (as with all the TC Fiats). It’s well equipped and finished with quality. Later cars have standard air conditioning and ABS. Yet parked on anyone’s drive will look docile enough. I’m looking at the Marea like this really to say Fiat has an excellent family saloon. Is it destined to remain another of Fiat’s well kept secrets?
The estate car, the Marea Weekend is one of the top towing cars that I’ve driven. Its load carrying and tow car potential is enormous and its selling at 20% discount on the equivalent used estate/ tow car market leaders. I really can’t separate this car’s towing performance from the 406 Peugeot.

Stilo

The Stilo has replaced the Bravo and Brava. Stilos have a lot to live up to. Again the economics of mass production has decreed the demise of the Marea at the same time.

What does the Stilo have to offer in the Twink History context? Is this an Argenta or a Tipo in our history of Fiat Twinks? We at SFC are getting mixed messages about this car. The good messages are qualified, and the bad ones follow a theme of not sporting enough or un-italian. Well perhaps its too early to tell. Of course I don't need to say much about treating Abarth as just another level of trim.

The Stilo engine range is a summary of the best twinks Fiat has to offer - with the latest turbo diesel to come, and its the new turbo diesel that looks like it can provide the missing performance edge the best.

So Fiat have some of the class leaders in engines for you to choose from. For the UK there are 5 engine options. These include a drive by wire system, so some of the usual pedal connections to the under-bonnet orchestra are missing. The whole noise thing is heavily damped in the Stilo - almost eliminated in the cabin.

Perhaps we have reached a point were maturity and global competition in smooth quiet driving has finally won out over performance and driver feel? Is this the epitaph for the passion and performance first instincts at Fiat? I would certainly have guessed that this Stilo was built in Northern Europe - an MG perhaps or VW Group car - from sitting inside. I wonder what the Italian designers and workers think of this range? Are Fiat about to embark on an electronic aid extravaganza?

But this is a brief history of engines first, not body shells and markets. And the family of new generation twin cams are all represented here.

All the new generation of Fiat Twinks are represented in the Stilo range. There is one of the turbo diesels on offer here, the latest turbo diesel, with a Garret turbo charger and intercooler accompanying Fiat's Unijet common rail injection system. This one can really be persuaded to get going with the right boost, chip and injectors. But for now it is merely one of the best diesels around. In performance terms this might herald the dawning of a new non-petrol era.

The 2.4 20 valve Abarth delivers its 170bhp with little fuss. From the Brava HGTs and Marea we know this is about the power limit from this engine before its miles per gallon figures start to plummet. A viceless, smooth 5 pot, with the established long service interval. But I could never call this car a hot hatch. Because it isn't. Most of the extra horses are absorbed pushing around the car's extra weight.

As with the 2.4 litre, the 1.6 16v and 1.8 16v engines twin cams have been developed with space economy and weight saving in mind. All benefit from the variable valve technology/ hydraulic tappet design pioneered by Fiat in the nineties. They are well established, and familiar to the Fiat dealerships so maintenance should not now be a problem. Remember to keep up the oil changes when the warranty expires.

The excellent lightweight FIRE 1.2 16-valve was first introduced during 1996 with the Punto Sporting - as I have already mentioned. It has been an unqualified success to date. I would suggest, however that the Stilo is a much heavier vehicle and I'd like to know how the two get on together from any owners.

So in the Stilo the family of twin cams that followed on from Lampredi's original are all present and very correct. Now we only need more variants to show off their real potentials!

Today

Fiat's competition efforts - through saloon and rally cars appear to have come full circle. At last there is some stability and continuity again. N.technology, based at Chivasso, is the heir to the Alfa, Lancia/Abarth and Fiat/Abarth competition genes. More importantly there is again a high level acknowledgement of the role competition and motorsport can play in re-writing Fiat Group's place in the world.

Perhaps they put a little too much emphasis on the role of modern electronics systems for my more purist leanings. But it is a start. I can't claim there's a direct bloodline back to the Abarths of old. But I could be persuaded. I want to be persuaded. There is a level of winning excellence being built in N.technology again.

The Fiat Super 1600 Rally Class entry - the Punto Rally Abarth - is entering its fourth full season. Complaints about its tarmac dominating potential filter through the rally web pages - along the lines of 'if I want to win I have to be as fast as the Puntos' - once more a Fiat is the competition benchmark. I look forward to correcting the droves of journalists who will bracket up this car and its drivers with the WRC winning 131 Abarth and talk as though nothing lies in between (forgetting all the Lancia based rally victories come from the same teams). Yes the passion for motorsport in Italy runs deep and demands participation of Fiat.

But have Fiat understood yet WHY you must grab the right headlines with cool looking, attention grabbing, powerful cars? And that winning keeps you up there in the car celebrity spotlight? And the change in mind set that has to link the different looks and fast options that turn mass production into an owner's very own aspiration? This time are they going to understanding the (brand) value of building dreams and connecting to young aspiring drivers is not just about the tiny minority who will actually participate in motorsport, but the millions who want to dream of owning 'cool' cars. The reason why Fiat could never square this circle in the past is because they've never really believed it. Engineers can have a big mental block about what their customers actually buy when they buy a car. Fiat have a mindset as well as a marketing problem.

Would they throw away another world icon like the Delta... again.... because they are programmed to make something (anything) else new now? It is deeply frustrating to see such rare opportunities lost. So would they do it again? Well first they will have to make the chance.

Yesterday

What would my favourite Twink be? Well that's just an impossible question. You must understand we still have the rights to modify our road stallions in the UK too. I think careful re-reading of the text would give you more than a few clues.

Of the competition cars I've driven the 037 stands out above the rest. I was priveleged to be loaned one for a day when they were in their prime - with the competition rev limit available. For a reminder of what competition cars are like in normal life - a car that always raised my pulse to know it was on the drive - I'd have to say the 130TC and 125TC Abarths. For grand touring speed and style, the Coupe - the 5 pot turbo please. As the ultimate Twink Icon it has to be the Delta Integrale, first of the 16-valves perhaps. For the biggest lost opportunity, I'd say the SpiderEuropa Volumex - its almost criminal that so few of these were produced. The purest of the classics? For me it would be a French Blue 124 AC with the 1600cc engine and five speed box. It needs the bigger engine, and nothing much else.

I've just stumbled on my own definition of what makes the great Fiat twinks great. They all invite and reward passion in their driving. They raise the expectation and pulse rate. My life is better knowing they sit on my drive or in my garage. Fiats deliver this with huge value too. Lampredi understood the heart of a great car is its engine. And the soul of the engine is its performance. This is after all the Ferrari philosophy. He brought this into Fiat and drove it into their designs from the engine outwards. This sort of thing is easily hidden from the run-of -the-mill owner. The engine bay is not a place for most owners. For them the car is viewed as status symbol or just to get from one place to another. It doesn't need too much thought, or too long a look beneath the surface. What they miss!

Towards Tomorrow
A long time ago I remember one of my Economics professors commenting on macro economic policy “In Government you can usually get your first wish in implementing policy,” he said, “but it always comes with a price ticket. Your second and third wishes not only have a tendency to get more expensive but they also get in each others way.”
The point is about how everything is connected. “What goes around, comes around” is the American saying – ultimately you pay the price.
So the Fiat Group now includes Alfa Romeo. Another proud Italian company with a great history and a fine motor pedigree. I do hope they can avoid following the British car industry into near-oblivion, and avoid the same mistakes. When talk of keeping the British Industry British owned, and saving British jobs, and buying British followed each lightly popular launch of a mediocre car - and then sales down-turn. Periodically mergers followed on. These were mergers out of desperation, not from a clear strategy. Talk of scale economies, synergy and cuts. Their first wish was to stay afloat – and keep a British Institution. Strange choices followed mergers, borne more of power struggles within (for example to concentrate on making lesser known Triumph sport cars rather than MG).
It is difficult to make profits with so many surplus cars being produced in the world. Without profits you cannot generate the investment to design and deliver new models. Car Industry profits today come from getting your whole act together; great cars, great marketing, great support, great value, great volumes, great margins. But this industry will always be about great cars first and it is very competitive – there are always other great cars out there.

My heart is for Fiat, my head says they’ve yet to cross this Rubicon.
What has all this to do with the twink engine? Well looking back I see the twink as an evolutionary success story. If anything the pace of successful innovation has quickened in the last decade. The technologies are applied in well engineered forms. The spirit and intention behind Lampredi’s vision lives on in the best of them. While they can craft cars like the Coupe and Bravo HGT there’s nothing wrong with their engineering spirit. Yet the Punto is the money-maker. I sense a hesitation, a loss of confidence even, in Fiat about the twink future. I’d like to say the future looks like more of the same, more great driving, interesting motor sport, competitive cars, classic road runners from more new, Twin Cam, petrol Fiats. I hope so.
MT December 2003

Bibliography
I’d like to thank all the SFC helpers who have contributed to this web page with advice and notes. Much of the information has been gathered from Fiat and Lancia model brochures and Fiat press releases (to a depth of feet rather than inches around my PC table at the moment).
And in particular to John Eglington, who maintains SFC’s Archive.

General Magazine and Newspaper Article Sources
1. Motor Magazine, Competition results Regulations and Legislative Bodies, entry, cars and drivers, progress details
2. Autocar Magazine, Haymarket Motoring Publications Ltd, England, UK model releases and commentary
3. Autosport, ,England Competition results Regulations and Legislative Bodies, entry, cars and drivers, homologation details, progress details
4. Car Magazine, UK model releases and commentary
5. Car and Car Conversions Magazine, Link House Publications Ltd., England - General commentary on models
6. Auto Italia Magazine, Intermarque Publications Ltd., England – General commentary on models
7. The Times Newspaper Archive – Historical and topical model news
8. The Daily Telegraph Newspaper Archive- Historical and topical model news

Reference Books and Sources
1. All the Fiats by Gianni Mazzochi 3rd edition 1984 Domus Books “Editorale Domus”
- Milan. Printed by Instituto Geografico De Agostini, Officine Grafiche of Novara.
2. Fiat Historical Centre, Turin, Italy Brochures pamphlets and information used as the most reliable source in cases of historical divergence.
3. Modifying and Tuning Fiat/Lancia Twin Cam Engines by Guy Croft 1st edition 1996. Published by Motor Racing Publications Ltd. Tuning data, power outputs, 8/16 valve carb. drive train & engine advice
4. Porter Manuals by Lindsay Porter and Roy Stenning Porter Publishing Ltd., England. Model information from 1989 onwards especially on ‘UK releases Facts and Figures’.