ABOUT : The Fiat Punto Mk1

Our introduction to Fiat's 1st generation Punto was in 1993, as a replacement to Fiat's "Uno", which was also designed by the same car design artist "Giugiaro". It was a revolution in it's time, the inspiration for many later 'super-mini's', which earned it the prestigious award of "Car of the Year 1995" in Europe.

It's improved aerodynamics over the "Uno" was a visual and technical improvement, and although it was set out as a totally new car, it kept certain characteristics of its predecessor. The main one being its valuable use of internal cabin space that was advantageous over other cars in its category. As with most hatchbacks, it was also released in 3 and 5 door versions. Soon after a Cabriolet was released, still designed by Giugiaro and specially constructed by Bertone. Due to loss of its upper structure, lower chassis areas were reinforced, including a roll bar incorporated into the pillars of the windshield.

The engines powering the Mk1 Punto came in many size and variations, with one to suit any need or requirement. These included the Fire 1108cc (54hp), 1242cc with either single (60hp) or multipoint injection (73hp), SOHC 1581cc (88hp), turbocharged 1372cc (136hp GT1) and diesel powered units including: 1698cc n/a diesel producing 54bhp and a turbo diesel model of the same capacity producing 71bhp. An automatic model using the 1242cc FIRE engine fitted with CVT was released as the "Selecta". Later models that used the 1581cc petrol engine [excluding the ELX] was later exchanged with a more economical 1242cc 16v [86hp] unit.

In terms of the safety, the Punto offered a designed structure to solve much more rigorous tests of shock, including the lateral protection of impact, dual front air bags (optional in some models), several systems of protection against fires including an emergency fuel cutoff valve, belts with optional pretension and ABS in some versions. Updating the "Uno's" suspension setup improved road handling and passenger comfort, by introducing independent trailing arms with auxiliary anti-roll bar.

The protection against bodywork and structural corrosion was another area that Fiat took note of with the new Punto design. 60% of the car's chassis was galvanised, including 90% of the outer surface. Testing of the effectiveness was long and severe, designed to finally insure a change to the poor reputation that some Italian cars had in this area.

The specification range of the Mk1 was almost as varied as it's engine range, broken down into 5 main models: S, SX, ELX, Sporting and GT, each including 1 or more driver aid(s) and exterior/interior accessories than the last. Whilst the lower models and the GT was released at the launch, the Sporting and Cabriolet were released later on. In May 1995 the Sporting was launched with the 1581cc engine using lower gearing than the ELX to optimise 0-60 times. It was also given extra body trim, alloy wheels and lower suspension to give it a "sporty" feel. The 1581cc engine was replaced in 1997 with a 1242cc 16v FIRE engine, a factory tuned engine to minimise performance differences. The cabriolet also followed suit with a down size of engines. The GT model had 2 further releases, with no real significant advances bar engine setup changes and interior updates.

The mk1 was put into retirement in 1999, after 6 years of service.

- Original promotional shots of the Fiat Punto Mk1 -


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