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Fiat Ritmo
Out now: Autocade Yearbook 2024

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1978 Fiat Ritmo 65 CL.jpg

Fiat Ritmo/SEAT Ritmo (Tipo 138/X1/30/X1/38). 1978–88 (prod. 1,790,000 approx.). 3- and 5-door saloon, 2-door convertible. F/F, 1049, 1116, 1301, 1498 cm³ petrol, 1698, 1714, 1929 cm³ diesel (I4 OHC), 1585, 1995 cm³ (I4 DOHC). Successor to Fiat 128, and the first Fiat in some time to be launched with a name exclusively and not a number. Same running gear as 128 but distinctive hatchback body, with round door handles, unusual hubcaps and large, chunky plastic bumpers. At the time, appeared futuristic, and Fiat sold it in the UK highlighting the cars’ robot assembly. But fragile as with many other Fiats, and the last saloon to be sold in the US with this brand till the 500 returned in the 21st century. Models denoted not by capacity but by PS. Diesel (1714 cm³) from 1980. Bertone cabriolet from 1981. Sporting model, 105 TC (1·6) launched 1981 along with 85 (1·5); Abarth 125 TC (2·0) in 1982, the last to be made on a separate Abarth production line. Facelift in 1982, to appear more conventional, and gaining Fiat’s new corporate five-bar grille. New Abarth 130 TC the same year, with extra horsepower. Rectangular door handles for five-door, and other revisions, in 1985. Diesel replaced with 1698 cm³ unit, and Ritmo TS turbodiesel 1·9 introduced. Exported to UK and US as Fiat Strada, and licensed by SEAT in Spain as SEAT Ritmo.

Manufacturing location: Cassino, Frosinone, Italy; Martorell, Cataluña, Spain

Marque: Fiat | Predecessor: Fiat 128 | Successors: SEAT Ronda, Fiat Tipo (160)

q.v. Fiat Regata, Lancia Delta (831), Lancia Prisma

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Out now: Autocade Yearbook 2024