One of the very obscure but undeniably beautiful FIAT Coupé’s, a car that encapsulate’s 1990’s sports car design, together with some grunty Italian power.
Even before the car was launched, the car was making motoring headlines when spy photography captured the car on test at the FIAT factory in 1992. The car was styled by Chris Bangle in 1991, a prominent American designer who would later do many creations for BMW, and his beautiful design was the spark that ignited the imaginations of those early onlookers. It wouldn’t be until the Brussels Motor Show of 1993 that the car was officially launched to critical acclaim. Available with a range of sporty engines, with base model 1.8L 16V powerplants producing 129hp, to the top range 2.0L 20V Turbo engine with 217hp, a 0-60 of 6.3 seconds and a top speed of 155mph. Both engines were later versions of Fiat’s twin-cam design and inherited from the Lancia Delta Integrale, winner of the World Rally Championship a record six times. Additionally, the coupe featured independent suspension all round: at the front MacPherson struts and lower wishbones anchored to an auxiliary crossbeam, offset coil springs and anti-roll bar; at the rear, trailing arms mounted on an auxiliary subframe, coil springs and an anti-roll bar.
As mentioned, the car was an instant success, and considered one of the best sports cars of the 1990’s. In all, 72,700 of these cars left the production line between 1993 and 2000, of which many of them can be found today. In fact someone at the bottom of my road has a collection of at least three of these cars!
Perhaps the most famous of these though was the one driven by Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear, and converted into the perfect Police Car for Britain, complete with Boudicea spikes and disconcerting messages!