Today’s Andalucían postscript is Seat’s shortlived Fura. What, if anything can it signify?
When Seat parted from its Italian benefactor and fell into the arms of Wolfsburg, it was necessary to place some distance between the two former partners. So while prior to the severance of connubial relations, all Seat models simply took the equivalent Fiat nameplate (or number), from around 1981/2, Seat products would have (to varying degrees) their own, distinctly Spanish identity.
The Seat 127 had been a staple of the Spanish market since 1972. Essentially a rebadged version of the Turin bestseller, its primary difference being that it uniquely could be purchased in four-door form; retaining the familiar Pio Manzù penned silhouette, but with the provision of two additional doors – a spiritual successor to the Spain-only Seat 800 model. [A larger four-door version of the immortal Seicento].
In 1981 however, in line with the new policy, the Seat Fura was introduced as a 1982 model. Identical visually to the third-generation 127, which was introduced shortly afterwards, the restyled car exhibited the template Fiat Charter® facelift in all its polypropylene vainglory. It is perhaps a mercy that poor sainted Pio didn’t live to see such vandalism inflicted upon his best known design.
Since the booted bodyshell had been discontinued in Turin by then, all Furas, be they 2, or 4-door models were hatchback-only offerings. Engines were confined to the familiar Fiat 903 cc unit, although a 1438 cc engine would appear in the short-lived, Fura Crono model, its 75 bhp exhibiting a little more of what its nameplate might have implied.
In 1983, the Fura received a mild facelift, perhaps to distance itself further from its origins, but also by way of stop-gap prior to the advent of the 1984 Ibiza, which would combine some Fura/ 127 chassis hardware with new ‘system Porsche’ engines and Ital Design bodystyles. Fura production ceased in 1986.
The Southern Spanish climate, despite the proximity to the Mediterranean tends to be kind to older cars, meaning their bodies last longer than they might do in more Northern climes. Despite this, the example pictured here was the only Fura encountered in the wild over the fortnight your correspondent was domiciled in Marbella.
Resplendent in its faded red paint, the body seemed in reasonable fettle, with few of the expected 127 weak-points showing signs of rot. Apart that is from the scuttle area beneath the windscreen, which displayed evidence of judicious, poorly applied (and it would seem), futile application of body filler. Hardly a cared-for example, but clearly a runner, whether it survives to re-emerge into the roseate embrace of nostalgia however is questionable.
But these cars are hard to kill – a matter this former 127 owner can attest to, so this one will probably keep smoking on until something significant gives. But what then does our unicorn Fura signify? Not much perhaps, but surely survival itself is something worth marking?