In the early 1960s, the Italians decided to take a bold step. Fiat chief engineer Dante Giacosa convinced the management of the benefits of the successful cross-engine, front-wheel drive design in the Mini and the possibilities for further development, but for safety’s sake, the first revolutionary drive was introduced under the less popular Autobianchi brand. Unlike the English design, the 1964 Primula transmission did not have a common oil sump with the engine, which made it easier to engage, even quieter and more accessible in the event of a repair.
The talented engineer also designed a concentric clutch release mechanism to solve the problem of increased space requirements. All it took was to gain experience to incorporate the forward-thinking technology into a Fiat, and finally in 1969, with the 128, they revolutionized the brand’s offering and with it the market for compact cars. It was a logical move to try their luck on a smaller scale, which is why the Autobianchi A112 was unveiled that year, finishing second behind the Fiat 128 in the Car of the Year 1970 poll.
The brother Fiat, the type that is mainly popular in the Italian market, didn’t have to wait long either, with the successor to the farm-powered 850 in the spring of 1971, the Turin company stood out to the public. The 127 was an overwhelming success, with experts choosing it as the 1972 Car of the Year with the highest score in the award’s history to date. Beyond this modern design, the hatchback body, drawn with simple, simple lines, played a big role. The design was the merit of Pio Manzù, who did not deserve the premiere, as he suffered a fatal car accident in 1969 while on his way to Turin to present his 127 model to the management, his work completed by Rodolfo Bonetto. Eventually, a 3595 mm long car with better space utilization than ever before was born, with 80% of its floor space filled with useful space. It can comfortably accommodate up to four adults, making the 365-liter boot suitable for family use.
Its floor plate was made from the 128, with an independent front-to-rear, MacPherson chassis at the front, cross-spring suspension at the rear, wrinkled zones designed for passive safety, and fitted with a folding steering column. The 903cc, 47bhp, four-cylinder petrol engine from 850 Sport with a four-speed manual transmission was installed in its nose, bringing its top speed to 140 km / h. This was outstanding at the time, and thanks to the front disc brakes, there was no problem with deceleration, but excellent chassis handling was also required for the Italian driving experience. Buyers immediately fell in love with the 127, as they were condensed into a car to receive the improvements that were a significant step forward at the time. There was only one small thing missing from his repertoire, the tailgate that opened with the rear window, but it was only necessary to wait until the debut of the Renault 5 in 1972, following the example of the pioneering Renault 16, Fiat introduced the still new three-door design.
Anyone who hadn’t taken off their feet by then was sure to win the novelty after that, in 1973 the 127 was the best-selling car in Europe. Due to the unfolding oil crisis, more and more people were sitting in small cars, and Fiat gave them everything they had previously chosen for a higher category. In 1974, the one millionth copy also left the Mirafiori plant in Turin, which, like the 128, motivated rivals to develop similar models. By the mid-1970s, the Volkswagen Polo, Opel Kadett City, and Ford Fiesta were completed, so in response, Fiat began importing the four-door version of the Seat 127 in 1976 for some markets, and in 1977 unveiled the second 127 series.
It has been updated with new front and rear lights, grille, bumpers and hood. Thanks to the new tailgate, the loading ledge has been lower and the rear window has been larger, and the side panel designed for the Brazilian market has also changed the shape of the rear side windows and changed the design of the dashboard. The new 1,049cc, 50bhp OHC engine also came from the noses of European 127s from Brazil, and after the upgrade, both engines were mated to a longer gearbox. The third engine version was released in 1978, the 1,049 cc block already produced 70 horsepower in the Sport version, the result of a cylinder head and exhaust system from Abarth. Not only was the top model tossed up with spectacular accessories inside and out being new in the range, the second series also made available to the Fiorino freighter, which is also making its debut in the Brazilian market.
In 1979, the four millionth 127 had already been handed over to its owner, a number that no Fiat had previously reached in such a short time! Imports of the five-door version from Spain began in 1980, and in 1981, diesel from Brazil and the station wagon Panorama were also added to the range. The latter two designs retained a different design from the European ones. In 1982, the situation was further complicated by the fact that a year before the new Uno, Fiat made another upgrade to the 127. The third series said goodbye to brand new exterior and interior design elements, and in fact, the 1,301-cc, 75-horsepower SOHC engine and a five-speed transmission were built in, yet they didn’t work in vain because outside of Europe, his 127 career only reached the 1990s. by 1996, more than 8,000,000 pieces had been made.
Fiat 127 around the world
Production of the new model outside Italy first began in Spain in 1972. True to Seat’s market strategy, it also produced four- and five-door versions of the small car, which were exported to several European countries, albeit under the name Fiat. The Spaniards also made their own engine version, the 1,010 cc petrol was 51 horsepower. Because the two brands parted ways in the early ’80s, the updated version, available from 1982, was sold as Fura instead of 127. The 1438cc, 75-horsepower hot hatch was given the fantasy name Crono in 1983.
From 1973, 127s were also made in Poland from Italian and Polish parts, but the 127p was 30% more expensive than the 126p, so production was stopped in 1975 in favor of the latter.
In Brazil, production of Fiat began in 1976 with a type called 147 on the local market, with a 1,049 cc engine running on its nose. In 1978, the range was expanded with the Fiorino and a sports model, the 61-horsepower 127 Rallye, and in 1979, a 1.3-liter, 60-horsepower, alcohol engine was also introduced. In 1980, the 1.3-liter diesel and the station wagon version called Panorama were a novelty in the South American market. In 1983, during the upgrade, the 127 was renamed Spazio, of which a staircase version was also produced under the name Oggi.
In Argentina, local production of the 127 began in 1981 and did not stop until 1996, with late copies also receiving the new Fiat logo. In addition, locally assembled specimens were made in Egypt and Zambia, among others. The Greek Autokinitoviomihania Ellados built a multi-purpose vehicle, the Amico, 5 and the Yugoslav Zastava built the 1980 Yugo on the technical foundations of the 127, and kept it alive until 2008.
With Hungarian eyes
In 2013, talented designer Dávid Obendorfer dreamed of a modern incarnation of one of his favorite cars, the Fiat 127. At the beginning of his career, in addition to the design of the Riva and San Lorenzo yachts, a specialist also working for the Fiat Group developed the XXI. exterior-interior design of the 127th century, taking into account the technology and needs of today. He brought to life a retro version of “one of the most balanced fuel-efficient cars in his style” on computer drawings.
Source: Autó-Motor by www.automotor.hu.
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