Henri Pauli Toivonen was a Finnish rally driver born in Jyväskylä, the home of Rally Finland. His father, was the 1968 European Rally Champion for Porsche and his brother, Toivonens first World Rally Championship victory came with a Talbot Sunbeam Lotus at the 1980 Lombard RAC Rally in Great Britain, just after his 24th birthday. He had the record of being the youngest driver ever to win a world rally until his countryman Jari-Matti Latvala won the 2008 Swedish Rally at the age of 22, after driving for Opel and Porsche, Toivonen was signed by Lancia. Despite nearly ending up paralysed at the Rally Costa Smeralda early in 1985 and he won the last event of the season, the RAC Rally, as well as the 1986 season opener, the Monte Carlo Rally, which his father had won exactly 20 years earlier. Toivonen, driving a Lancia Delta S4, died in a crash on 2 May 1986 while leading the Tour de Corse rally in Corsica and his American co-driver, Sergio Cresto, died when the Lancia plunged down a ravine and exploded.
The fatal crash had no witnesses and the only remains of the car were the blackened spaceframe. Within hours of the crash, Jean-Marie Balestre, President of the FISA, had banned the powerful Group B rally cars from competing the following season, Toivonen started his career in circuit racing and was very competitive on tarmac. The annual Race of Champions, originally organised in Toivonens memory, Toivonen had strong ties to rallying at an early age. He was born in Jyväskylä, the city which has hosted the Rally Finland since 1951 and his father, Pauli Toivonen, was a successful international rally driver who would go on to win the Monte Carlo,1000 Lakes and Acropolis rallies and become the 1968 European Rally Champion. Henri Toivonen learned to drive when he was five years old and he began with karts and won the Finnish Cup in touring cars before switching to Formula Vee, winning one round of the Scandinavian Championship in his first year. Toivonen graduated to Formula Super Vee the following year and won a round of the European Championship, due to his familys concerns about the safety of circuit racing, he switched to rallying full-time.
Toivonens kart was purchased by the parents of a 6-year-old Mika Häkkinen, due to Finnish legislation, which at that time limited new drivers to a top speed of 80 kilometres per hour on open roads, Toivonen was unable to compete in rallying until he was 19 years old. With Antero Lindqvist as his co-driver, he made his World Rally Championship debut at the 19751000 Lakes Rally and he retired from the rally during the 36th special stage due to a broken sump. While still focusing on his racing career, he competed in his second world rally two years and finished fifth in the 19771000 Lakes in a Chrysler Avenger. He finished second,3,41 minutes behind Ari Vatanen, and over seven minutes ahead of Markku Alén, Toivonen went on to compete in two world championship rallies for Citroën. Although he did not finish either event, his driving attracted attention, at his home event, Toivonen had to retire due to an engine failure, but he finished ninth at the RAC Rally. That same year, Toivonen captured his first rally win at the Nordic Rally, in the 1979 season, he gathered rallying experience by competing in 15 rallies in the British and European championships.
Toivonen competed in two WRC events, the 1000 Lakes with a Fiat 131 Abarth and the RAC with a Ford Escort RS and he retired from both, but at his home event he had been matching the pace of the leaders before leaving the road
A co-driver is the navigator of a rally car in the sport of rallying, who sits in the front passenger seat. The co-drivers job is to navigate, by reading off a set of pacenotes to the driver, often over a radio headset, the co-driver tells the driver what lies ahead, where to turn, the severity of the turn, and what obstacles to look out for. This role is critical in high-end rally competitions such as WRC. Co-drivers are called on to perform maintenance on the car during road sections and special stages
Group B was a set of regulations introduced in 1982 for competition vehicles in sportscar racing and rallying regulated by the FIA. The Group B regulations fostered some of the fastest, most powerful, however, a series of major accidents, some of them fatal, were blamed on their outright speed and lack of crowd control. The short-lived Group B era has acquired legendary status among rally fans, Group B was introduced by the FIA in 1982 as a replacement for both Group 4 and Group 5 cars. Group A referred to production-derived vehicles limited in terms of power, allowed technology, the base model had to be mass-produced and had to have 4 seats. Group A was aimed at ensuring a large number of privately owned entries in races, by contrast, Group B had few restrictions on technology and the number of cars required for homologation to compete—200, less than other series. In just 5 years, the output of rally cars had more than doubled. The category was aimed at car manufacturers by promising outright competition victories, there was a Group C, which had a similarly lax approach to chassis and engine development, but with strict rules on overall weight and maximum fuel load.
Group B was initially a successful group, with many manufacturers joining the premier World Rally Championship. But the cost of competing quickly rose and the performance of the cars proved too much resulting in a series of fatal crashes. As a consequence Group B was canceled at the end of 1986, in the following years Group B found a niche in the European Rallycross Championship, with cars such as the MG Metro 6R4 and the Ford RS200 competing as late as 1992. Until 1983 the two classes of rallying were called Group 2 and Group 4. Major manufacturers competed in Group 4, which required a minimum of 400 examples of a competition car, notable cars of the era included the Lancia Stratos HF, the Ford Escort RS1800 and the Fiat 131 Abarth. In 1979 the FISA legalized four-wheel drive, Car companies were not keen on using 4WD as it was generally felt that the extra weight and complexity of 4WD systems would cancel out any performance benefits. This belief was shattered when Audi launched a car in 1980.
That year a Quattro was used in Portugals Algarve Rallye, registered by the Audi Sport Factory Rally Team, IN-NE3, as an opening car, it was driven by professional driver Hannu Mikkola. IN-NE 3s combined time for all stages on this rally was over 30 minutes quicker than that of the winner, while the new car was indeed heavy and cumbersome, its standing starts on gravel and road grip on Special Stages was staggering. The Quattro was officially entered in the 1980 Jänner-Rallye in Austria, Audi kept on winning throughout the 1980 and 1981 seasons, although lack of consistent results meant that Ford took the drivers title in 1981 with Ari Vatanen driving a rear-wheel-drive Escort. The teams victory at the 1981 Rallye San Remo was notable, Piloted by Michèle Mouton, Mouton placed second in the drivers championship the next year, behind Opels Walter Röhrl
Rallying is a form of motorsport that takes place on public or private roads with modified production or specially built road-legal cars. Rallies may be won by pure speed within the stages or alternatively by driving to a predetermined ideal journey time within the stages, the term rally, as a branch of motorsport, probably dates from the first Monte Carlo Rally of January 1911. Until the late 1920s, few if any other used the term. The first of these races was the Paris–Bordeaux–Paris race of June 1895, won by Paul Koechlin in a Peugeot. Levassors time for the 1,178 km course, running virtually without a break, was 48 hours and 48 minutes, an average speed of 24 km/h. Speeds had now far outstripped the safe limits of dusty highways thronged with spectators and open to traffic and animals, there were numerous crashes, many injuries. The French government stopped the race and banned this style of event, from on, racing in Europe would be on closed circuits, initially on long loops of public highway and then, in 1907, on the first purpose-built track, Englands Brooklands.
Racing was going its own separate way, Italy had been running road competitions since 1895, when a reliability trial was run from Turin to Asti and back. The countrys first true motor race was held in 1897 along the shore of Lake Maggiore, from Arona to Stresa, the first Alpine event was held in 1898, the Austrian Touring Clubs three-day Automobile Run through South Tyrol, which included the infamous Stelvio Pass. Seventy vehicles took part, the majority of them trade entries and they had to complete thirteen stages of route varying in length from 43 to 123 miles at average speeds of up to the legal limit of 12 mph, and tackle six hillclimb or speed tests. On rest days and at lunch halts, the cars were shown to the public in exhibition halls, the Motor Cycling Club allowed cars to enter its trials and runs from 1904. In 1924, the exercise was repeated as the Small Car Trials, in Germany, the Herkomer Trophy was first held in 1905, and again in 1906. This challenging five-day event attracted over 100 entrants to tackle its 1,000 km road section, a hillclimb and a speed trial, but sadly it was marred by poor organisation and confusing regulations.
One participant had been Prince Henry of Austria, who was inspired to do better, another trial was held in 1910. These were very successful, attracting top drivers and works cars from major teams – several manufacturers added Prince Henry models to their ranges. The first Alpine Trial was held in 1909, in Austria, by 1914, the competitive elements were slight, but getting to Monaco in winter was a challenge in itself. A second event was held in 1912, two ultra long distance challenges took place at this time. The New York–Paris of the year, which went via Japan and Siberia, was won by George Schuster
Lancia is an Italian automobile manufacturer founded in 1906 by Vincenzo Lancia as Lancia & C. It became part of the Fiat Group in 1969, the current company, the company has a strong rally heritage and is noted for using letters of the Greek alphabet for its model names. Lancia vehicles are no longer sold outside of Italy, and comprise only the Ypsilon supermini range, fabbrica Automobili was founded on 29 November 1906 in Turin by Fiat racing drivers, Vincenzo Lancia and his friend, Claudio Fogolin. The first car manufactured by Lancia was the Tipo 51 or 12 HP and it had a small four-cylinder engine with a power output of 28 hp. In 1910 Lancia components were exported to the United States where they were assembled, in 1915, Lancia manufactured its first truck, the Jota that continued as a dedicated series. In 1937, Vincenzo died of an attack and both his wife, Adele Miglietti Lancia, and his son, Gianni Lancia, took over control of the company. They persuaded Vittorio Jano to join as an engineer, Jano had already made a name for himself by designing various Alfa Romeo models, including some of its most successful race cars ever such as the 6C, P2 and P3.
Lancia is renowned in the world for introducing cars with numerous innovations. These include the Theta of 1913, which was the first European production car to feature a complete system as standard equipment. 1948 saw the first 5 speed gearbox to be fitted to a production car, Lancia premiered the first full-production V6 engine, in the 1950 Aurelia, after earlier industry-leading experiments with V8 and V12 engine configurations. It was the first manufacturer to produce a V4 engine, other innovations involved the use of independent suspension in production cars and rear transaxles, which were first fitted to the Aurelia and Flaminia range. This drive for innovation, constant quest for excellence, fixation of quality, complex construction processes, with little commonality between the various models, the cost of production continued to increase extensively, while demand did not eventually affecting Lancias viability. Gianni Lancia, an engineer was president of Lancia from 1947 to 1955. In 1956 the Pesenti family took control of Lancia with Carlo Pesenti in charge.
Fiat launched a bid in October 1969 which was accepted by Lancia as the company was losing significant sums of money. During the 1970s and 1980s, Lancia had great success in rallying, winning many World Rally Championships, during the 1980s, the company cooperated with Saab Automobile, with the Lancia Delta being sold as the Saab 600 in Sweden. The 1985 Lancia Thema shared a platform with the Saab 9000, Fiat Croma, during the 1990s, all models were closely related to other Fiat models. Starting from 1 February 2007, Fiats automotive operations were reorganised, Fiat Auto became Fiat Group Automobiles S. p. A
World Rally Championship
The World Rally Championship is a rallying series organised by the FIA, culminating with a champion driver and manufacturer. The drivers world championship and manufacturers championship are separate championships. The series currently consists of 13 three-day events driven on surfaces ranging from gravel and tarmac to snow, each rally is split into 15–25 special stages which are run against the clock on closed roads. The World Rally Car is the current car specification in the series and it evolved from Group A cars which replaced the banned Group B supercars. World Rally Cars are built on production 1, the production car, super 2000 and junior entrants race through the stages after the WRC drivers. The 1973 World Rally Championship was the season of the WRC. The first drivers championship was not awarded until 1979, although 1977 and 1978 seasons included an FIA Cup for Drivers, won by Italys Sandro Munari. Swedens Björn Waldegård became the first official champion, edging out Finlands Hannu Mikkola by one point.
Fiat took the title with the Fiat 131 Abarth in 1977,1978 and 1980, Ford with its Escort RS1800 in 1979. Waldegård was followed by German Walter Röhrl and Finn Ari Vatanen as drivers world champions, the 1980s saw the rear-wheel-drive Group 2 and the more popular Group 4 cars be replaced by more powerful four-wheel-drive Group B cars. FISA legalized all-wheel-drive in 1979, but most manufacturers believed it was too complex to be successful, after Audi started entering Mikkola and the new four-wheel-drive Quattro in rallies for testing purposes with immediate success, other manufacturers started their all-wheel-drive projects. Group B regulations were introduced in the 1982, and with only a few restrictions allowed almost unlimited power, Audi took the constructors title in 1982 and 1984 and drivers title in 1983 and 1984. Audis French female driver Michèle Mouton came close to winning the title in 1982,1985 title seemed set to go to Vatanen and his Peugeot 205 T16 but a bad accident at the Rally Argentina left him to watch compatriot and team-mate Timo Salonen take the title instead.
Italian Attilio Bettega had even a severe crash with his Lancia 037 at the Tour de Corse. However, the season took a dramatic turn. At the Rally Portugal, three spectators were killed and over 30 injured after Joaquim Santos lost control of his Ford RS200, at the Tour de Corse, championship favourite Toivonen and his co-driver Sergio Cresto died in a fireball accident after plunging down a cliff. Only hours after the crash, Jean-Marie Balestre and the FISA decided to freeze the development of the Group B cars, more controversy followed when Peugeots Juha Kankkunen won the title after FIA annulled the results of the San Remo Rally, taking the title from fellow Finn Markku Alén. As the planned Group S was cancelled, Group A regulations became the standard in the WRC until 1997, a separate Group A championship had been organized as part of the WRC already in 1986, with Swedens Kenneth Eriksson taking the title with a Volkswagen Golf GTI 16V
Tour de Corse
The Tour de Corse - Rallye de France is a rally first held in 1956 on the island of Corsica. It was the French round of the World Rally Championship from the inaugural 1973 season until 2008, the name Tour de Corse refers to the fact that in the early days it was run around the island, nowadays it only features roads around Ajaccio. The rally is held on roads, and it is known as the Ten Thousand Turns Rally because of the twisty mountain roads. Several drivers have been killed during the event, including fatalities at 3 consecutive events, attilio Bettega, driving a Lancia 037 Rally, died during the fourth special stage of the 1985 rally, Zérubia-Santa Giulia. In 1986, exactly a year later, Henri Toivonen and his co-driver Sergio Cresto died in their Lancia Delta S4 during the 18th stage of the event, and in 1987 co-driver French Corsican Jean-Michel Argenti, who was assisting Jean Marchini, was killed after Marchini crashed. The first running of the rally was won by the Belgian female driver Gilberte Thirion in a Renault Dauphine, two drivers have won the event a record six times, Bernard Darniche and Didier Auriol.
The only non-French drivers to win the event more than once are Sandro Munari, Markku Alén, in 1996, due to the World Rally Championships event rotation system used from 1994–96, the rally counted only for the FIA 2-Litre World Championship for Manufacturers. The 2009 event was part of the France Cup. *, denotes years when Tour de Corse was not part of the World Rally Championship Official site WRC. com - Official site of the World Rally Championship
Italian Americans are an ethnic group comprising Americans who have full or partial ancestry from Italy, especially those who identify with that ancestry, along with their cultural characteristics. Italian Americans are the fourth largest European ethnic group in the United States, about 5.5 million Italians immigrated to the United States from 1820 to 2004. Immigration began in earnest during the 1870s, when more than twice as many Italians immigrated than during the five previous decades altogether. The 1870s were followed by the greatest surge of immigration, which occurred in the period between 1880 and 1914 and brought more than 4 million Italians to America. This period of large scale immigration ended abruptly with the onset of the First World War in 1914 and, except for one year, further immigration would be greatly limited by a number of restrictive laws passed by Congress in the 1920s. Approximately 84% of the Italian immigrants came from Southern Italy and Sicily, after unification, the Italian government initially encouraged emigration to relieve economic pressures in the South.
After the American Civil War, which resulted in over a million killed or wounded, immigrant workers were recruited from Italy. In the United States, most Italians began their new lives as manual laborers in Eastern cities, mining camps, Italian Americans gradually moved from the lower rungs of the economic scale in the first generation to a level comparable to the national average by 1970. By 1990, more than 65% of Italian Americans were managerial, the Italian-American communities have often been characterized by strong ties with family, the Catholic Church, fraternal organizations and political parties. Today, over 17 million Americans claim Italian ancestry, third only to Brazil with 31 million, and Argentina and their descendants in America have helped to shape the country and, in turn, have adapted to it. They have gained prominence in politics, the media, the arts, the culinary arts. Italian navigators and explorers played a key role in the discovery, christopher Columbus, the explorer who first reached the Americas in 1492–1504, was Italian.
Another notable Italian explorer, Amerigo Vespucci, who explored the east coast of South America between 1499 and 1502, is the source of the name America. Englands claims in North America were based on the voyages of the Italian explorer John Cabot, in 1524 the Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano was the first European to map the Atlantic coast of todays United States, and to enter New York Bay. In 1539, Marco da Nizza, explored the territory became the states of Arizona. In the 17th century, Henri de Tonti, together with the French explorer LaSalle, De Tonti founded the first European settlement in Illinois in 1679, and in Arkansas in 1683. With LaSalle, he co-founded New Orleans, and was governor of the Louisiana Territory for the next 20 years and his brother Alphonse de Tonty, with French explorer Antoine Cadillac, was the co-founder of Detroit in 1701, and was its acting colonial governor for 12 years. Spain and France were Catholic countries and sent many missionaries to convert the native population, included among these missionaries were numerous Italians
Martini Racing is the name under which various motor racing teams race when sponsored by the Italian company Martini & Rossi, a distillery that produces Martini vermouth in Turin. Martinis sponsorship program began in 1968, the race cars are marked with the distinctive dark blue, light blue and red stripes on white, red or silver background body cars. The car model which has won the most titles for Martini Racing is the Lancia Delta HF Integrale, at the start of 1968, advertising unrelated to racing was permitted for the first time on the bodywork of racing cars. Paul asked Hans Dieter to place a few stickers on his car in exchange for overalls, Martini stickers appeared, in April 1968 on the Porsche 910 raced by Scuderia Lufthansa Racing Team set up by Robert Huhn, an executive manager of the German airline. Then the same car appeared at Dijon-Lonvic GP on the fifth of May, at Paris GP on May 12, in a minor event at the Hockenheimring in 1968. Martini Racing was formed to enter two Porsche 907 in several car races in 1969 to back up the factory effort.
During the 1970s, Martini became famous in connection with Porsche in motorsport, after a one-year hiatus in 1972, as Porsche retired from the WC championship as its 917. The Martini Porsche cars won Le Mans once more in 1976 and 1977 with Porsche 936, as well as in other events in the 1970s for the factory Porsche team. In 1978, Martini only sponsored the team in Le Mans, while in 1980 they were associated with Joest Racing. In 1981, Martini Racing supported the Italian Lancia effort in car racing with the Group 5 Lancia Monte Carlo, Group 6 Lancia LC1. The works Lancia Martini drivers lineup included several contemporary Formula One racers, including Michele Alboreto, Teo Fabi, the association lasted until the 198624 Hours of Le Mans, but by then, Lancia was more involved with rallying. After that, Martini Racing has made only brief entries in sports car racing, including three seasons in the FIA Sportscar Championship with Gianni Giudicis Picchio, Martini Racings association with Formula One began in 1972 with the Italian team Tecno.
However, the car was uncompetitive and Martini withdrew after an unsuccessful 1972 and 1973 season, Martini returned full-time in 1975, sponsoring Bernie Ecclestones Brabham team. The initial colour scheme incorporated the Martini colours on a background on the Cosworth powered Brabham BT44B in 1975. The Alfa Romeo flat-V12 powered Brabham BT45 and Brabham BT45B were used for the 1976 and 1977 seasons, drivers such as Carlos Reutemann, Carlos Pace, Hans-Joachim Stuck and John Watson all drove for the team during this time. For the 1979 season, the Martini sponsorship moved to Team Lotus, after a long break from the category, the Italian company began sponsoring Scuderia Ferrari in 2006 with a minor presence. Williams Grand Prix Engineering announced a new partnership with Martini beginning with the 2014 season, martinis first rally challenge was taken up by usual stalwart Porsche. In 1978, Porsche made a return to the World Rally Championship as a team, running a 911 SC for Björn Waldegård
Lancia Delta S4
The Lancia Delta S4 is a Group B rally car from the Italian car company Lancia. The car replaced, and was an evolution of, the Lancia 037, the S4 took full advantage of the Group B regulations, and featured a midship-mounted engine and all-wheel drive for superior traction on loose surfaces. The cars 1,759.3 cc four-cylinder engine combined supercharging and turbocharging to reduce turbo lag at low engine speeds, the car produced a maximum output of 480 horsepower, but some sources even claim that the Delta S4 was capable of producing 500 horsepower. In 1985, Lancia engineers tested an S4 engine under extreme conditions, reaching 5 bars boost, developing around 1000 horsepower. An engine capacity multiple of 1.4 was applied to forced induction engines by the FIA and the choice of 1,759 cc put the S4 in the under 2,500 cc class, which allowed for a minimum weight of 890 kg. The combined super/turbocharger system was a development of the 037 engine that produced 350 hp with a supercharger only.
Like Peugeots earlier 205 T16, the mid-engine Lancia Delta S4 was a Delta in name and body styling only, the chassis was a tubular space frame construction much like the 037. It featured long travel double wishbone front and rear, with a single large coil over at the front and separate spring. The bodywork was made of a fibre composite with front and rear bodywork fully detachable for fast replacement due to accident damage. The door construction style was brought from the 037 with a hollow shell all-Kevlar construction that had no inner door skin, the door was opened with a small loop and the windows were fixed perspex with small sliding panels to allow some ventilation and passing of time cards and suchlike. The all-wheel drive system, developed in cooperation with English Hewland, the Group S Lancia ECV was to replace the Delta S4 in the 1987 season but Group S was scrapped along with Group B and Lancia used the production-derived Delta in 1987. The method of turbocharging and supercharging an engine is referred to as twincharging, the Delta S4 was the first such example of this technology.
Contemporary turbochargers were inefficient, as they did not produce boost at low RPMs and this phenomenon, known as turbo lag, negatively affects driveability, an important aspect of a rally car. Superchargers do not suffer from lag as they are powered directly from the engines crankshaft, because of this direct mechanical connection, the supercharger presents a significant parasitic load to the engine at higher RPMs. Lancia designed their system so the supercharger provides instantaneous boost in the lower RPM range. In Italy the car was priced at about 100 million Lire, five times the price of the most expensive Delta of the time, the HF Turbo. The Stradales chassis was a frame, similarly to the racing cars, built out of CrMo steel tubes and aluminium alloy for the crash structures, it was covered by epoxy. In road tune the 1.8 produced 250 PS at 6750 rpm and 291 N·m at 4500 rpm
Ospedaletti is a comune in the Province of Imperia in the Italian region of Liguria, located about 120 kilometres southwest of Genoa and about 25 kilometres southwest of Imperia. As of 31 December 2004, it had a population of 3,500, the municipality of Ospedaletti contains the frazione Porrine. Ospedaletti borders the municipalities, Sanremo, Seborga. Ospedaletti is named after a 14th-century hospital which was established by the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem, located between Caponero and Cape SantAmpelio, just six kilometers from Sanremo, it gets some north winds. It is about 30 kilometres from Imperia, the provincial capital, the lush, sub-tropical vegetation, combined with a moderate and refined urbanization, makes Ospedaletti the pearl of the Riviera dei Fiori. Ospedaletti is twinned with, Soulac-sur-Mer, France Official site of Ospedaletti
The Fiat 131, additionally called Mirafiori, ￼￼￼￼￼￼ is a medium family car produced by the Italian car manufacturer Fiat from 1974 to 1984. It was exhibited at 1974 Turin Motor Show, the 131 was the replacement for the successful Fiat 124, and available as a two-door and four-door saloon and 5-door estate. The 131 was given the Mirafiori name after the Turin suburb where the cars were produced, the 131 was offered with 1.3 L and 1.6 L overhead valve engines. Revisions were made in 1978 and 1981, and all models were produced until production ceased in 1984, in total,1,513,800 units were produced in Italy. The Fiat 131 employed construction techniques and technologies typical of its day, the body was a steel monocoque. Designed and styled on the typical design, with distinct boxes for the engine compartment, passenger compartment. The major mechanical components were conventional and contemporary, but with some notable advances, the 131 employed a front engine, rear-wheel drive layout, whereby the engine is longitudinally mounted in the front of the car.
The gearbox is directly behind the engine, and a propeller shaft, under the transmission tunnel. The engines were all types, derived from those used in the outgoing 124 range, with a cast iron cylinder block. Initially the 131 was offered only with pushrod valve gear, which offered the innovation of being the worldwide first engine with OHV valve gear, only in the model’s life came the well known double overhead camshaft engines which used a toothed timing belt. Fuel supply was via a single Weber ADF twin-choke carburettor, fed from a trunk mounted steel fuel tank, traditional contact breaker ignition systems were used, usually with Marelli distributors. The suspension system utilised fully independent front suspension, with MacPherson struts, track control arms, the rear suspension was quite advanced, in that the rear axle was controlled by double unequal length trailing arms and a panhard rod, with coil springs and direct acting dampers. This design proved far superior to many of its contemporaries, especially with vehicle stability, the braking system was typical, the front brakes were disc brakes, using a solid iron disc and a single-piston sliding caliper.
The rears were drum brakes, utilising leading and trailing shoe design operated by a dual piston fixed slave cylinder and they were operated hydraulically, with a tandem master cylinder assisted by a vacuum servo using two separate circuits. A rear-mounted load sensing valve varied the bias of effort applied to the rear brakes, a centrally located floor mounted handbrake operated on the rear axle using bowden cables. The Fiat 131 Mirafiori was introduced at the 55th Turin Motor Show in late October 1974, the 131 came with a choice of a 1,297 cc or 1,585 cc OHV inline-four engines, both from the engine family first introduced on the Fiat 124. Both engines were fitted with a single twin-choke Weber 32 ADF downdraught carburettor, a four-speed manual transmission was standard, with a 5-speed manual and a 3-speed torque converter automatic optional on the 1600 engine only. The initial range comprised eleven different models, there were three body styles, 2-door saloon, 4-door saloon and Familiare station wagon