1990 FIAT Tipo 1.8ie DGT

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1990 FIAT Tipo 1.8ie DGT

Background

During the 1980s Fiat enjoyed considerable success with Uno, one of the main highlights being its excellent packaging. They were a familiar sight on roads across Europe and many are still chugging on in their native Italy.

Buoyed by this success, it was inevitable that the company would apply the same philosophy to a bigger car and thus in January 1988, the Tipo was born.

Initially available as a five-door hatchback, a brand new platform underpinned the design, one that would go on to be used elsewhere by Alfa Romeo and Lancia. The galvanised body panels aimed to combat rust issues which had plagued the Italian company in the past.

The boxy styling, a la Uno, endowed the Tipo with class-leading space and was lauded as a packaging marvel. Here was a car that was the size of a Ford Escort yet had more space in the rear than the much bigger Sierra.

Plaudits came thick and fast, the Tipo winning the prestigious 1989 European Car of the Year award. The Irish liked it too, making it their 1989 Semperit Car of the Year.

The Tipo remained in production until 1995, to be replaced by the Bravo/Brava twins. The car is an extremely rare sight today, which makes it all the more remarkable that we are offering one for sale. It has a fascinating history too, so read on for our Tipo tale!

The Vehicle

On sale here is not just any old Fiat Tipo, it is a unique example who’s first owner was Formula One Racing champ, Nigel Mansell.

The car was presented to Mansell on 9th September 1990, by Managing Director of Fiat, Cesare Romiti, after the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. He finished fourth in the race.

Mansell was in his second season racing for the Ferrari team alongside arch rival Alain Prost. He was also the last Ferrari driver personally selected by Enzo Ferrari to join his prestigious team, prior to his death in 1988.

Mansell left Ferrari at the end of the 1990 season and returned to Williams where he went on to become World Champion in 1992. The following year he was to be Indy Car World Series champ too.

Until Lewis Hamilton came along, our Nige was the most successful British Formula 1 driver in terms of race wins.

We presume the car was presented to Mansell as a token of the Fiat Group’s esteem, though one suspects he would rather have been presented with a Testarossa. Incidentally we are selling one of those now if that appeals!

Anyway, back to the car itself. It is a Tipo 1.8 i.e DGT, a bit of a mouthful. The capital letters denote the fitment of a rather unusual digital dashboard.

The chassis number is quite memorable, namely 1,000,000, and the car was painted in a non-standard colour. So British Racing green it was for the British driver’s new toy. Alloy wheels are said to be unique too.

We are told the car was first registered on 8th January 1992 and was kept by Mansell until 4th November the following year when it was sold on to a fellow resident of the Isle of Man. The service record shows that the car had only covered 425 miles, Mansell presumably having more interesting cars at his disposal on the rare occasions he was actually at home.

Some years later the car was purchased by the dealer principal of Guernsey’s Fiat Dealership before passing into the hands of a small private museum in England in 2004.

Our seller purchased the car from them in March 2008, using the car sparingly for cars shows and the like, carefully storing it away when not in use. Being the diligent sort, he serviced the car every year despite the modest mileage covered.

After 13 years of careful ownership, our seller has decided it is time to let someone else enjoy the delights of this unique and very special Tipo.

On the Outside

It is a testament to the Tipo’s owners, that the bodywork is in such good condition. They have recognised the car’s rarity and collectability and have doubtless lavished it with copious amounts of care and attention.

The green paintwork has a deep lustre to it, the red coachline adding a splash of visual interest.

We can find little to criticise and much to celebrate, but if we are being picky, the rubber on the front nearside corner of the bumper is a little scuffed.

The unique alloy wheels are in great shape, and each is clad with an almost new Michelin Energy tyre. We always like to see our classic cars well shod with premium rubber as it generally indicates careful and considered ownership by the car’s vendor.

You will note the electric tilt and slide glass sunroof which is fully operational. The height of luxury back in the day.

The observant will note that the car still sports its Guernsey registration plates.

On the Inside

Taking pride of place on the dashboard is the commemorative plaque, confirming the presentation to Mansell.

It is the highlight of what is a rather sombre interior, though we are told the black leather on the seats was a special touch.

The back seats looks as though they have rarely been sat in, whilst upfront there is some wear to the driver’s bolster. We would be tempted to treat them with a quality leather cleaner and perhaps some dye.

Carpets are in good order, though in the front they are a little grubby. A quick steam clean should be enough to return them to their former glory and perhaps then buy some protective mats.

The digital dash would have been rather something back in the day, little did we know that such things paved the way for the latest generation of dashboards that are fitted in so many of our cars today.

The headlining is stained around the sunroof area, which is a shame. A leak perhaps? A specialist cleaner may be able to work a miracle as replacing it would be such a shame.

Door cards are finished in durable plastic, and we do note some marks here and there.

Luxuries fitments include a Grundig radio/cassette player and electric front windows.

Underneath

We always include photographs of a car’s underside for your delectation and that is the case here. There is some surface corrosion easily visible on the exhaust and some other components but the chassis itself looks to be in good order.

Good storage has clearly paid its part here and we doubt the car has been driven in the rain for many a year.

We would be tempted to get the car up on a ramp and carefully detail, adding some underseal in vulnerable areas. This is a car worth preserving!

Lifting the bonnet reveals the 1.8-litre engine, not the most powerful, but a willing performer nonetheless.

Figures taken in the day show the Tipo would be good for around 116mph and could accomplish the 0-60mph sprint on around eleven seconds.

The engine bay is one of the cleanest we have seen in a long time, reflecting the car’s regular servicing and general good care.

We are told the car drives well, shifting cleanly through each of its five forward gears.

History Highlights

We are delighted to see that the Tipo comes with its original service book full of stamps from the car’s early life. So diligent was the servicing that some years it was carried out twice, even though the mileage covered was modest.

The last recorded entry was in 2004, the car having covered 49,015 miles.

The car then spent the next four years in the aforementioned private museum before being purchased by our seller.

The odometer now reads 50,945, confirming the modest miles covered during his careful ownership.

We are told the car has continued to be serviced every year with a small service having been carried out this summer. Work done includes new oil and filter, as well as replacement of the spark plugs and air filter.

What We Think

The sale of this car represents a unique opportunity, not just to acquire an exceptionally rare car, but one with a famous Formula One first owner. We can see motor racing types relishing this prospect, but also collectors in general.

Expensive cars tend to be the ones that get preserved, whilst more workday cars such as the Tipo disappear. That is such a shame as all cars have their part to play in the story of the motor car.

So, if you fancy being the custodian of this terrific Tipo, we would suggest you get bidding without delay.

We estimate the car will sell for €8,000 - €12,000.

Viewing is always encouraged. The car is located in Voerendaal, Netherlands. To arrange an appointment please use the ‘Contact Seller’ button at the top of the listing. You won’t be disappointed!

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BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we always encourage bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at those vehicles which are delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.

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Seller

carspotter

  • Location: Voerendaal, Netherlands
  • Seller Type: Private
  • Odometer Reading: 50945
  • Chassis Number: 1000000
  • Engine: 1800
  • Gearbox: Manual
  • Steering position: RHD
  • Colour: British Racing Green
  • Interior: Black/leather
  • Estimated Price: €8,000 - €12,000

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