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Fiat Uno Turbo buying guide (1985-1994)

Fiat Uno Turbo buying guide (1985-1994) Classic and Performance Car
Fiat Uno Turbo Fiat Uno Turbo Fiat Uno Turbo Fiat Uno Turbo Fiat Uno Turbo Is there anything that sums up the 1980s any better than hot hatches? Maybe the Rubik’s Cube, padded shoulders or Filofaxes would make it to the shortlist, but when it comes to the very essence of the Eighties, breathed-on hatchbacks have to top the list.

In the eighties the hot hatch ruled the roost; it had taken a decade from VW launching its Golf GTi to catch on, but once the trend had started there was no stopping it. Suddenly every city car was getting fuel injection or a turbocharger to pep things up (sometimes both), and while the French and the Germans often hogged things, the Italians didn’t miss the party. One of the best Latin creations was the Uno Turbo – Fiat’s first ever boosted production car.

While the Uno Turbo was based on a lowly Uno 70, it was far more than a standard car with a blower bolted on. Alongside water-cooled cylinder liners there was an intercooler and oil cooler. Also new was an alloy head with a belt-driven camshaft, electronic ignition, a knock sensor and Bosch LE Jetronic fuel injection.

There were all sorts of other tricks up the Turbo’s sleeve too, so it was no surprise that the car thrashed most of its rivals when new. Great to drive and capable of 125mph (along with 0-60mph in eight seconds), the Uno Turbo represents a classic performance bargain – if you can find one.

Which one to buy

There aren’t many of these cars left, and of the cars that have survived, many have seen better days. As a result you’ll have to be prepared to search and you probably won’t find anything in a hurry.

So any notions of being able to track down your perfect Uno Turbo may have to go out of the window – it’ll be a question of finding whatever you can. The most original, best-condition car should be your target, and ideally it’ll have the 1.4-litre engine as it’s got more torque as well as extra power.

These later cars are also better built than the 1.3-litre editions, with tighter cabins, improved electrics and stronger mechanicals. But frankly, if you can find a really good Uno Turbo of any flavour, snap it up before somebody else does – it’ll be a performance car bargain that’s utterly usable and that bit different from the more obvious French and German alternatives.

Tech spec - Fiat Uno Turbo Mk2

Engine 1372cc, 4-cylinder 
Power 118bhp @ 6000rpm
Torque 122bhp @ 3500rpm
Top speed 127mph
0-60mph 7.4sec
Consumption 36mpg
Gearbox Five-speed manual

What to look for

• Although the Uno was better rustproofed than any of its forebears, the age of these cars means you’re unlikely to find one that’s rust-free. Cars built before 1990 are particularly likely to have corrosion, especially in the sills, valances and wheelarches, along with the rear window surround.

• Poor crash repairs are also a strong possibility, although most of the real rubbish has long since been cubed. Still check for terrible panel fit and signs of crumpled inner wings though, suggesting someone has run out of talent at some point.

• Engines are tough but many were neglected in period; the smaller powerplant is generally more reliable than the 1372cc unit. Any survivors are likely to be cherished though, so check the oil level and colour, make sure the cam belt has been replaced within the last five years or 54,000 miles, and ensure there’s no blue smoke coming from the exhaust. If there is, it could be that the cylinder bores or piston rings have worn – or it might be that the turbo is on its way out.

• Although the gearboxes last reasonably well, the change can be horribly notchy. They were like that even when new, but if things are really bad it may be that the linkage bushes have worn out.

• Brake discs tend not to last very long, even on cars that aren’t driven especially hard. On hard-driven cars, they’ll probably be worn and possibly warped as well.

• The alloy wheels corrode, with pre-1990 examples likely to look especially tatty. Refurbishing them isn’t a problem, but if aftermarket rims have been fitted you could struggle to find a decent set of original wheels.

• The interior trim doesn’t wear especially well, with carpets and seats likely to be showing signs of ageing, especially on high-mileage cars. Unsurprisingly, you won’t find any new trim so you’ll have to get stuff made or recovered, which won’t be cheap. Squeaks and rattles are also par for the course, so don’t expect silence in the cabin.

• Check that all of the switchgear and electrical items work – both can prove temperamental, especially the light switches of early cars. Again, you’ll be doing well to find replacement parts; even used bits can be hard to track down.

• Poor starting may simply be down to damp having got into the under-bonnet electrics, so keep some WD40 handy.

Model history

1985: The Uno Turbo arrives in July, with a 105bhp 1299cc engine that will take the car to 127mph.
1988: In February the engine grows by all of 2cc, to become a 1301cc unit, still rated at 105bhp.
1990: In January the Fiat Uno Turbo Mk2 debuts, with a restyled nose, and a 1372cc powerplant with multi-point fuel injection to give 118bhp.
1992: A catalytic converter is fitted as standard from June.
1994: The Uno Turbo is discontinued in March

Key clubs and websites


Words: Richard Dredge
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Last updated: 22nd Apr 2015
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Fiat Uno
2295 2295 GBP
  • Fiat Uno

    £2,295 £2,295

    *SIMILAR QUALITY CARS ALWAYS REQUIRED* SOLD Thinking of selling? Our proven commission sale or SOR (Sale or Return) program is a great way to utilise and access our professional services and facilities while still maximising the return from your vehicle with minimal hassle, stress and time, If you’d like to take advantage of this then please get in touch for further information. Alternatively If you’d like to move your vehicle on quickly and efficiently with minimal delay then we can make an offer on an outright purchase basis with payment and collection arranged soon after. A rare special edition Fiat Uno 45 Spark in wonderful condition. EQUIPMENT PVC underbody protection, plastic front wheel arch liners, remote adjust twin door mirrors, rear fog/reversing lights, sunroof, heated rear window, opening rear side windows, water temperature gauge, reclining front seats, front head restraints, folding rear seat, height adjustable front seat belts, inertia reel front and rear seat belts, driver and passenger door bins, glovebox, rear parcel shelf, protective boot matting. EXTERIOR This ultra-chic classic Fiat Uno 45 is the limited-edition ‘Spark’ model, featuring factory fitted sunroof, full wheel covers and exclusive check interior as standard over the base 45. This superb example finished in Fiat Bianco, (Code 210), has a bright uniform finish to the paintwork. The underside is in amazing order and all panels are completely free from corrosion, including all common Uno areas such as doors, boot floor and scuttle. There is a cosmetic paintwork repair evident to the offside front wing, and two small dings to the bonnet. All trim sections are fully intact, and the supplying Fiat Dealer number plates remain fitted. Special edition Italian cars of the 1990’s held a certain undeniable charm, and this Uno Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro's ItalDesign company is no exception. INTERIOR The bright, vivacious interior of this Uno 45 Spark is exclusive to this limited-edition example and remains in pristine condition. The Fashionable Check seats are as new having been protected throughout by fitted seat covers, allowing the colours to remain bold and free from fading. The seats are surprisingly comfortable and remain firm and supportive, and the grey door cards matching the seat backs are perfect. The steering wheel and gear knob display prominent natural veins only found on such low mileage examples. All functions and controls operate exactly as intended including the original Pioneer Radio Cassette, a Sparkrite alarm sensor has been fitted. The parcel shelf remains straight and uncut and fully intact with hangers. A fun, simple interior, reminiscent of a simpler motoring era and in wonderful condition. ENGINE & TRANSMISSION Fitted with the 999cc fully integrated and robotised FIRE unit, this zippy little car produces 45bhp at 5000rpm and maximum torque of 58lbs.ft at 2570rpm. Quiet and very economical, a top speed of 90mph and 0-60mph in 17 seconds is achieved. With 30% less moving parts than a conventional engine, the FIRE power unit will provide the new owner with very low running costs but maximum reliability and tremendous fun. A beautifully clean engine bay is exactly as Fiat intended and displays factory protective wax, plates and original stickers. The five-speed gearbox is light and precise and allows excellent top end cruising for a city car. WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES Five factory standard steel rims including the spare wheel are shod in 155/70 R13 tyres, and the original Fiat full wheel covers are fully intact and in excellent order. The spare wheel is housed in the spotless boot area which is totally original, even down to factory build and paint code stickers to the inner boot hatch. Independent brake circuits with servo assistance incorporate front discs and rear drums to bring the car to a straight line stop quickly and safely. HISTORY FILE Registered new by Fiat Main Dealers, PDH Garages of Worthing, on 5th August 1992, this example represents a very rare surviving classic Fiat, seldom seen even at classic car shows. The original stamped service booklet displays 9 stamped entries from the supplying dealer, PDH Garages, to verify the low mileage of 48,514 miles, including a documented speedometer change by them at 20,555 miles. The history file contains previous MOT certificates, handbook and point of sale literature as well as two original Fiat keys. The previous owner, Mr Roy Winrow, is an avid Fiat enthusiast who also owns an Uno Turbo and an Uno 70SX that he has had for over 20 years! His knowledge and enthusiasm for these delightful little cars is vast and infectious, and his description of this car being well preserved and very genuine is entirely accurate. A wonderful entry level classic car, guaranteed to attract fond admiration anywhere you take it! MOT April 2019, HPI Clear. To see a video of this car please copy the link below: https://youtu.be/zdt8foMA2qc To see a complete set of photographs of this car please copy the link below: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmhEpNPy 'Like us' or 'Follow us' for exciting new cars coming soon at KGF Classic Cars: https://www.facebook.com/KGFClassiccars https://twitter.com/KGFClassicCars

    • Mileage: 48514 mi
    • Engine size: 1
    For sale
    £2,295 £2,295
    KGF Classic Cars
    01733425140 View contact number