FIAT Ritmo

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FIAT Ritmo
FIAT Ritmo   1978 1982
1978 1982

Fiat revolutionized its carmaking procedures, and the Ritmo was its first product that was welded and assembled by robots, raising the quality standards and lowering the production costs.
The Italian carmaker needed a compact hatchback to fight against the all-conquering Volkswagen Golf, and it made most of the right moves from design to the final product. It didn’t make it quite well on the engine department and on the quality check system.

Fiat relied on its own design center (Centro Stile Fiat), while for the convertible, it worked with Bertone Studio. At the front, the car featured a pair of round headlights surrounded by the wrapped-around plastic bumper on the lower side, and by the hood on the upper side. The Ritmo was available as a hatchback with three and five doors. From its sides, the round, flush to bodywork, black door handles were unique on the market. At the back, the designers made a tiny up-kick on the roof’s rear side, enhancing the airflow. The Ritmo sported a 0.3 Aerodynamic coefficient, one of the lowest in the automotive industry from those times.

Inside, the carmaker created a very roomy interior and seating for five adults. Yet, the one in the middle of the rear bench should have been smaller. Fiat introduced a new shape for the dashboard with a sloped upper area and a squared instrument cluster that provided a digital clock on one side. In the instrument panel, the carmaker included two large dials for the speedometer and tachometer. The fuel level was vertically arranged at the bottom, and the coolant temperature gauge on top between them. To expand the trunk, Fiat installed a one-piece folding seatback.

Under the hood, Fiat offered a choice of engines ranged between 1.1-liter and1.5-liter gasoline. Later on, it added the more powerful 1.6-liter 105 hp and the 125 hp Abarth versions. A diesel unit was introduced in 1980.

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