Back To Black: Fiat Tipo

Back To Black: Fiat Tipo

Italian hot hatches rarely survive in great numbers - but the Fiat Tipo Seducuvalvole deserves better than extinction. Here' why

Words Nathan Chadwick Photography Adam Shorrock


Think back to the very early 1990s, before the Renault Clio Williams and Peugeot 306 GTI-6 wafted their Gauloises under our noses and enticed us into being Francophile B-road devotees. Hot hatches were in the doldrums.

Sky-high insurance premiums strangled sales, the Peugeot 205 GTI was getting stale, Ford was on a disastrous run of underwhelming fast hatches (Escort RS2000 MkV aside) and Vauxhall’s Astra GSI went down worse than a fart in a lift. And as for the car that gave the hot hatch genre its vim in the 1970s, the VW Golf GTI? The MkIII was a porky bloater that in frigid 8v form was as much fun as being surrounded by over-E- numbered Take That fans clawing for the latest single in Our Price.

But there was salvation and it came from Italy – the Fiat Tipo Sedicivalvole. This was the best hot hatch of the era, according to motoring hacks, taking on the world’s best efforts and dismissing them all with a cheeky Italian chin swipe. It’s also important because without the Tipo and its platform, cars like the Alfa GTV and Fiat Coupé wouldn’t be here. More on that later.

You could be forgiven for not remembering, though. When was the last time you saw a Tipo 16v? Just six remain on UK roads.

Should you care? Do those glowing reviews really mean much 25 years later?

To read more about this car, pick up the December 2017 issue: