Purists might prefer the pre-facelift version, while performance car fans probably yearn for the Turbo i.e. hot hatch, but there’s something very appealing about this 1993 Fiat Uno Start. A case of Start by name, starter classic by nature, because we reckon this is ideal for a young retro car fan dipping a toe in the classic car pond.
Not that we should be mentioning water in the context of a Uno; rust-proofing wasn’t a strong point of Fiat’s replacement for the 127.
Build quality is one reason to choose the post-facelift over the original. Although it lacks the purity of Giugiaro’s vision, Fiat went to great lengths to improve what was, at the time, Europe’s best-selling car. New engines, a subtle facelift, some galvanised metalwork, a plastic tailgate and a new dashboard were the highlights.
Start me up
The new fascia was a step forward in quality, but many of us mourned the passing of the old, uncluttered dashboard, complete with Citroën-style switchgear flanking the two-spoke steering wheel.
Today, Uno beggars can’t be choosers. Despite global production totalling 8.8 million, the Uno is vanishingly rare in the UK. The DVLA figures are notoriously unreliable, but there are reportedly 18 Fiat Uno 1.0 i.e. Start models on the road, with a further 95 locked up in garages, parked up on driveways or being lost to the undergrowth. Twenty-five years ago, there were 15,000 of them.
We’re not here to say that the Fiat Uno is cooler than its chief European rival, the Peugeot 205, but its rarity makes it standout. This example has also been tastefully modified using bits from a Uno Turbo, including 13-inch Cromodora alloy wheels, rear spoiler, rear arches and front fog lights. The Start decals have been removed from the rear wings.
It looks authentic; the kind of thing a young car enthusiast would have done in the 1990s. The original buyer ticked the option boxes for metallic paint and sunroof, but make sure the latter doesn’t leak. If it does, a chat with Captain Tolley might be in order.
An official 61.4mpg from the 999cc engine is just the thing for a cost of living crisis, while a 0-62mph time of 17.7 seconds should please insurers and parents alike. With just 51,406 miles on the clock, this Uno could be the one.
Car & Classic head of editorial, Chris Pollitt, told us: “One of the world’s best-selling hatchbacks, the Fiat Uno’s unmistakable Giugiaro-penned shape is still well loved in Italy, and starting to get appreciated in all forms, including non-turbo versions, in the UK. Recently, two Uno Turbos have sold for over £15k and £26k respectively on the Car & Classic auction platform, but you can get your foot on the ‘starter classic’ ladder with this 1993 non-turbo version, offering style and substance: the Uno was, after all, European Car of The Year 1984.”
At the time of writing, bidding had reached £500 with five days to go. To us, it’s one of the most appealing cars coming up for auction on the Car & Classic website. If you pull the trigger, drop us a line and we’ll feature the car in our mag.