Remembering a highly successful car from a company that was once an automotive giant.
It is generally acknowledged that the honour of producing the first true mass-market(1) European B-segment supermini is most equitably shared between Fiat and Renault. While the Fiat 127 was unveiled first, in April 1971, it did not initially feature that essential ingredient, an opening tailgate, but instead had a conventional boot lid and fixed rear windscreen(2). The three-door Renault 5 followed in December of that same year, but its front-wheel-drive mechanical layout, featuring a longitudinally mounted engine with gearbox sited out in front(3), would not be adopted by any other supermini and, when the second-generation Renault 5 arrived in 1984, it featured what had by then become the supermini norm, a transverse engine with end-on gearbox.
Today, however, we are recalling a Fiat that predated the 127, but featured the same mechanical layout, the 1969 Fiat 128. Continue reading “Dante’s Peak (Part One)”