It’s July 16, 1969, 1:32 p.m. on a Wednesday that’s not just any Wednesday, but one that’s more formative in the annals than from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39A Cape CanaveralApollo 11 starts its space mission, which ends four days later with the first moon landing in history. As soon as you have entered the earth satellite, Neil Armstrong pronounce some of the most legendary words of the 20th century: “This is one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”. On this July 20th, the whole world listens to the radio and turns its gaze to the television, deeply moved by the man who conquers the moon. A few years later, in January 1983, another launch took place from the same NASA base, this time not intended for space, but only of a commercial nature, not so valuable for the fate of all humanity, but fundamental for the fate of a prosperous one People. well-known brand of Italian car manufacturers: Fiat. It storms onto the scene with the same force as a space shuttle Fiat Uno.
The Uno is not a small step for Fiat, but a giant leap forward compared to the past, to that 127 now anachronistic and outdated to face a hedonistic and opulent decade like the 80s. Gambling is expensive for Fiat, the coffers are crying and this project was worth an investment of over a trillion lire; Either the machine works and succeeds, or the castle collapses with everything inside. Victor Ghidella, CEO of Lingotto, is forward-thinking, brilliant and bold, all qualities that make him the right man in the right place. With him at the helm, the Fiat boat, which has been in crisis since the mid-1970s, cannot sink; However, things must be done right. For these reasons, in order to bring such a car into the orbit of the world market, it needs a presentation with an impact that is striking and powerfully put in the limelight. The Cape Canaveral setting is the ideal place to breathe the air of great endeavors, ones where you face the darkness and the unknown of space and conquer all fear. Ghidella’s “moon” mission worked, the Fiat Uno became the first car of the year in 1984 and collected no fewer than nine million units sold in its long career. A triumph that exceeds all expectations, equal to thatApollo 11 who traversed the immensity of the universe to reach the moon.
A successful project
Hitting the mark requires a clean break with the past, so Fiat entrusts its new creation to one of Italy’s most famous designers. Giorgio Giugiaro. From this skilful pencil, like a rabbit out of a top hat, comes a hatchback with the typical wedge shape so popular with those looking for character and personality in four-wheeler design. It has a mean and gritty front, it is not dry like its progenitor 127, a real daughter of the 70s. The Uno also stands out from the old Fiat bestseller with a refined chassis and suspension layout. A modern and innovative car that turns all its competitors into a fleet of vehicles that have suddenly and greatly aged in one fell swoop.
Fiat Uno, originally conceived as a Lancia
Everything that we have just described could not have happened, since in the most typical sliding door situations the Fiat Uno could have been born under the Lancia brand, and probably the fate of both brands – and the Fiat group as a whole – would have been different. Because the mid 70s Gian Mario Rossignolo, manager of the prestigious house in Chivasso, had the idea to create an elite utility vehicle, not the classic car with which you get your hands dirty with humble jobs on dusty and bumpy roads, but a practical and compact car with blue blood , destined to move through the city streets with class and ease, showing all the charm and charm that Lancia is able to give to its cars. Neat and refined interiors, with fine finishes worthy of an aristocratic Italian living room. Too bad that Rossignolo went on a collision course with Vittorio Ghidella and left his chair at the helm of the brand throw, but not before the “Uno” project was handed over to Umberto Agnelli. So the Uno has been recycled, decluttered, made more modest and spartan, in short a real Fiat. The small car went from exclusive to popular, becoming a myth and an icon of Italian mass mobility, effectively marking an era and rightfully entering the history and events of the Bel Paese. An impact on the lives of Italians worthy of a space mission as powerful as the moon landing.