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Throwback Thursday: 1984 Seat Ibiza initial drive

Seat is a big-name brand these days; it produces some-more than 400,000 cars per year, exports around a universe and has a marketplace share in a UK of rather reduction than 2%.

Its Ibiza supermini has been a biggest success story – and not usually since a new Mk5 indication has landed during a tip of a class. Over a 4 generations, a Ibiza has sole some-more than 5.4 million examples, and a strange was a automobile with that Seat took a jump of faith.

It was a large risk for a association that was shaped in 1950 by a industrial regard of a Spanish state as Sociedad Española de Automóviles de Turismo, on a basement of partnership with Fiat.

Seat finished a approach rebadging Fiat models or building a possess formed on them until a dual companies had an hostile break-up in 1982. The Spanish supervision squandered no time in anticipating Seat a new partner, signing a understanding with a expanding Volkswagen Group after that year.

This was in partial to build Volkswagen models for export, though what Seat unequivocally wanted was a really possess indication for tellurian exports. However, rather than building such a car all alone or simply restyling an existent Volkswagen model, it approached established firms around Europe for help.

Thus a Ibiza was born. It was built around blending underpinnings from a Fiat Strada; a physique was penned by Giugiaro’s Italdesign group and a prolongation was finished by Karmann, while the pattern of a code new engine was outsourced to Porsche.

This resulted in what Autocar described on 18 Aug 1984 as “a rarely professional, finish and challenging” three-door hatchback of a Peugeot 205 kind.

This “careful, functional” design, “in both a proper, strange engineering clarity and a modern, degenerate clarity of styling” was “paramount”, we said.

The Ibiza’s engine options were 1.2 and 1.5-litre four-cylinder Porsche petrol units with “relatively high” energy outputs of 63bhp and 86bhp respectively, and a 55bhp 1.7-litre diesel of Seat’s own. All though one indication used a five-speed Porsche primer gearbox, promulgation expostulate to a front wheels.

The cessation was “interesting”. It was required during a front, with curl springs and struts and no anti-roll bar, while a behind was utterly unusual, being “strut and bottom wishbone geometry, though sprung with a cross root located during a wishbone pivots with a centre giveaway to pierce vertically, compelled upwards only, by a retard of ‘rubber’, behaving when it is dense as a bend limiter, so that a open acts as an anti-roll device”.

The interior, while lacking a Mediterranean aptitude we had expected, was still rather odd, with headlight switches, indicators and wipers on dual spurs of a steering mainstay surround, withdrawal usually a heating controls conventionally on a dashboard, nonetheless we found this blueprint “to work well, once we have got used to a surprising positionings”.

Rear room was “just acceptable, with usually adequate conduct and leg room when one sets a front chair behind to fit a high driver”, and a foot space was “generous for such a short-tailed car”.

The pushing position was “distinctly German, in that we seem to be sitting high and really most in command, aided by those large windows and, detached from irritatingly extended B-posts, a marvellously uncluttered all-round view”.

“The Ibiza will be a pleasure in traffic,” we said, “because of a crispness and miss of suspended bodywork.”

We attempted a 1.2 CL model, and a pushing impressions were as follows: “The engine starts simply and immediately feels willing. Selecting initial gear, a purchase take-up is well-spoken and expostulate section mountings have apparently been designed carefully, as ‘shunt’ (that jerkiness if we are during all awkward with a throttle) is good tranquil – not always easy in a transverse-engined, front-drive car.

“There’s a slight stickiness of a gearchange, though that will expected disappear with use. What won’t, however, is a needlessly far-reaching breadth of a gates.

“Aerodynamically, a Ibiza is sincerely good adult with a field, interjection to a good intake design, low nose, tiny tip behind lip, some courtesy to carp sealing and improved than normal curving of a windscreen during a pillars.” This contributed to low breeze sound during speed.

“The automobile feels potentially fun in terms of performance,” we continued. “It revs frankly and has a poetic widespread of power, delivered uniformly if rather reduction than quietly.

“Steering and doing feel delightful. For a start, a Ibiza looks stable. It responds good to a wheel and does not hurl much, nonetheless a float is glorious for a automobile of such a weight and size.”

Ahead of a launch of Seat in a autumn of 1985 with a Ibiza, that would go on to sell 1.3 million examples worldwide, and a Málaga tavern sister, we had this to contend for a small hatchback’s prospects: “This initial genuine Seat will have to be taken seriously. In Seat terms, mañana is coming…”

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