Updated: Mar 18, 2019
If you guys missed a amazing day down Margate for the Oh So Retro Show and didn't get the chance to pick up a magazine, well here is the feature we contributed to it.
Five amazing 80's Turbo Icon's.
So, you must be thinking what a line up! But there were also other incredible 80’s turbo cars out there. Such as the MG Maestro & Montego, Mazda 323 4x4, Nissan Skyline and much, much more. I think I chose these because of all the memories I had in all of them and I’m pretty sure a lot of you will have to. So, we have managed to pull together 2 rivals and probably the most impressive Sierra you (and myself) will ever see, which is in a true league of its own. It was the most stressful gathering of icons, with some driving large distances to the lovely coastal town of Margate from London, Bedfordshire & Cambridge, to get these retro turbo
icons together in one place.
I’m going to start off with the mighty Faze 1 Fiat Uno. This was the first turbocharged car that I brought, and back then they weren’t worth anywhere near as much today. I bought it for literally nothing from a friend as he purchased a new meatier, faster and cooler Faze 1 Uno. The Uno I brought, nicknamed “Frank Bruno The Uno”, was still a beast in its own right. It was probably the heaviest car I have ever owned to drive, but my gosh, did this little turbo car shift. My mum needed a car for the day and asked to take my Uno down to the supermarket. Now she knew it was loud but did not realise the power that was in it for such a small car that weighed under a ton. All that I can remember was my mum coming back shouting “how have you not killed yourself in that?” With my reply being “I don’t know I just hold on, but did you enjoy it?” And that reply was “incredible”. Sadly, I didn’t let her drive it again. The engine standard was a turbocharged petrol, 1.4 litre that produces 118 bhp and went 0-60 in an awesome 7.9 seconds. But this one had a few little goodies. When that turbo kicked in the torque steer was evil. The Uno was, back then, cheap thrills and with very few mods like an exhaust, an air filter and a tap for the turbo made it an animal.
This Beige Uno owned by James Childerley has got to be the cleanest example I have seen, just like it just came out of the Fiat show room. The Uno turbos were famous for red carpets inside the car and again in this car was immaculate. The engine bay, OMG, it was incredible. Not one spot of oil or any corrosion. It was basically a full concourse Uno. If you are an Uno fan, you may notice it’s not totally standard because of the Beige colour, the graphics down the side of the car and the Fiat Abarth badge is the boot, but the subtle changes really made it stand out. When I saw this car, it took me all the way back to my old Bruno and can see even though it was cheap and had rust here and there, I did love that car. This Uno should be on show on the OhSoRetro trade stand, so get yourself over and have a look at James’s car. Stunning!
Now for the Renault 5, the Uno’s biggest nemesis. This car really got me going with anything turbo. I bought a Black one from a friend that had a lot done to it, but had no go. This was really weird as I have been a passenger in one before and rated it. I brought it from a guy I knew for £500, thinking it will probably cost me another £500 to get back to the glory days. So, after buying it, I drove it to a friend’s house to check over it to try and diagnose the issue with the 5. After about 35 minutes, we took the dump valve out which was a cheapie and replaced with a Bally’s that we had lying around. Me and my friend Jumped in it to see how it sounds as it was still drivable as just down on power. Then as we went out, I put my foot down to spoil the turbo up and this thing shot off like an absolute rocket, torque steering everywhere, with me almost stacking it into parked cars. We looked at it and could not believe it. We got back to the garage in shock and pulled apart the cheap dump valve to find it was a simple diaphragm that had split in the dump valve, bonus! So, from that day on this car was
amazing. Even though there known for overheating problems, this one was spot on. This pocket rocket again only with a 4 cylinder, turbocharged 1.4 litre engine for this model, it musters power of 118 bhp and goes 0-60 in 7.3 seconds, so slightly quicker than the Uno. Again, with this little motor a few minor mods to engine made these a awesomely quick car for size of lump.
James Alger came down with his Grey GT Turbo, which he did say it’s still a work in progress, but in our eyes it was one of the cleanest standard looking 5’s I have seen in a long time. A lot of these little brutes ended up being so Modified they were unrecognisable, but this was as close to stock we could find. We noticed on the back that it was missing it normal looking round tail pipe from the awesome bumper, then noticed it was hanging from the side. James said that there are plans to get it changed back to normal which will set of the back of this car as it was my favourite looking part of this car. As James said this car has a lot of plans going forward to getting back to normal and can’t wait to catch up with it at show.
These 2 cars were always head to head in the rally’s!
Here is the Audi Quattro.
A car I have never owned or even been in but as a kid, watching the WRC (World Rally Championship) with my Dad, it was a car my Dad always wanted. The standard car had a turbocharged 2.1 litre with 197BHP that shot 0-60 in 7.3 seconds, but the rally car obviously had a hell of a lot more power such as 450bhp and a 0-60 time of 3.1 seconds which, even in this day in age, is very hard to achieve. Hence why this is an absolute must in the turbo line up.
Damn I miss them Sundays on channel 4 watching WRC with the old man!
Now to the rally beast I had for a very short and I mean very short period of time. I came across a bright red Lancia Delta Evo 1 when I was 21 years old. Now this is a car I really wish I held on to, as I bought this for only £1800 and is now worth anywhere between £30k to £60k plus. That would have certainly helped with paying the mortgage.
So why did I have it for a short period of time I hear you ask? Well, they only came in left hand drive and for me at a young age felt really weird not having driven on the other side of the car. I kept making mistakes and with all that power that was in the Delta made me worry that it would be a car ending up in a ditch or round a tree. I do have to say looking back I would have kept it.
As a standard car, it had more power than its rival - the Audi, and the 0-60 is 6 seconds. That’s a massive 1.3 seconds quicker compared to the Quattro. The
lump that was in the Integrale was a turbocharged 2 litre engine that has an output of 207 bhp as standard. The rally car itself made 365BHP and had a 0-60 in 3.2 seconds which again is nuts.
The black Evo 1 that turned up at the shoot was owned by a gentleman that also owns the Audi Quattro. So, clearly a man that obviously has impeccable taste in motors. When I asked him “why both?” He then said to me “they are iconic and these were the 2 that are pure animals in WRC and that I have always wanted them since he saw them on TV”.
So, the question I asked, following I’m sure any of you would have asked was “If you had to sell one, which one would you sell?” The reply was simple “I would sell the Audi. I love the Audi but it’s not the Integrale... the presence of the Delta is just bigger then the Audi and it goes like stink”. I think these 2 cars are difficult to choose 1 from the other, but had to agree.
The reason I bought the Delta is due to the pure fact that I could not afford the Audi. The Delta was the car back then that was more affordable. So, with a bit of luck at the show these cars maybe there and if you get the chance attend, you must go and have a look. You don’t see many of these anymore in the condition
that these are in.
Also got to give a massive shout out to Charlie Evans of TLC Detailing & Valeting in Margate for arranging the Audi & the Lancia for the day. He also got to work on the cars in attendance to keep them looking their best as it was a bit of a wet day. You can follow Charlie on Facebook @tlcdetail.
Now for the piece de Le résistance, a car that I feel is purely in a league of its own.
They were rally animals, street racers, everyday cars & business people commuters. I have never own the whale tail shaped ‘Cossie’, but I’ve been out in loads of them, always dribbling. I even got the chance to drive one and scare the life out of one of my colleagues when I was working at Ford. She said to me “I don’t know what all the fuss is about with these ugly cars”. Well that was it for me. I grabbed the keys, grabbed her and took her to the car. I thought I’ll show her what all the fuss is about. Now she has never been in a car quicker than a Ford Ka, so this was going to be a shock to the system.
This one was totally modified engine wise at about 390BHP, so was a bit mental. I took it down the road just blipping the throttle and she says “..Seems nippy, but not that quick”. Then I knew it was time, I slowed down coming up to a roundabout and as I came out of the roundabout my foot got planted with this Cosworth’s rear end sliding and we were sideways for a few seconds, then it gripped and shot off. It was immense and she held on for dear life.
When we got back to the dealership she knew what this car was all about and said “Wow!”. I hadn’t seen her for nearly 11 years and spoke to her about a year ago and guess what? She now has a stunning Black Sierra RS500 but I’m not allowed a go... Grrrrrrr!
This one that we managed to get hold of, which is owned by Big Lee Stevens, is honestly the BEST example of a Sierra Cosworth I have ever laid my eyes on.
No rust, no scratches, interior that doesn’t look like it’s ever been sat on and the underside of this car has not a mark on it. I went out in this car and it drove a dream. The engine is a turbocharged 2 litre that had 201BHP out of the box, running 0-60 in just 6.1 seconds. It’s just incredible and if you have been out in one you will know what I mean.