It does not matter how many times you investigate a company like Seat, because data and curiosities always appear to tell. Today, for example, we offer you these 7 frikadas that few know about the history of Seat. Sometimes, they are new even for those who declare themselves to be the most fans of the Spanish brand…
1 Could be Hispano-Suiza
With the Spanish Civil War over, the new Francoist government was clear that the priorities for motorize the country they had to put themselves at the service of transportation goods and, secondly, of people. And a more than realistic option that was considered until the last moment was to have the legendary and capable Hispano-Suiza (HS), whose story we tell you in detail at this link:
Who killed Hispano-Suiza?
However, despite the winks and sympathies that this prestigious Spanish company had demonstrated with the side of the insurgents and the bobbin lace that its different leaders had to do in the times of King Alfonso XIII, of the Second Republic and of the war itself, at the last minute Franco did not trust her. In fact, against the background of international isolation and of the devastating economic situation In the 1940s, a self-sufficient regime was opted for, a kind of subsistence economy that would gradually open up in the so-called Development Plans.
VIDEO | This electric Seat 600 has been created by high school students
75 years of Pegaso trucks
But between that and the fact that the Regime did not want any type of private interference, He ignored the proposals of Hispano-Suiza to survive (among which was even the project of making a cheap and popular car) and opted to press and buy HS for a ridiculous price. And so, on that basis, create the Empresa Nacional de Autocamiones SA (ENASA), with Pegasus as a commercial firm, and Seat to take care of the cars.
2 The name Seat
Although now international searches on Google continue to refer to ‘seats’ every time one searches for ‘Seat’, at the end of the 40s nobody considered that possibility when they thought of creating a state-owned company that would produce vehicles on our borders. With the Hispano Suiza initiative shelved, it was believed that there was no other company here capable of designing, developing and manufacturing its own cars in a fairly autonomous way. And for this reason, within the few ideologically related countries that were in the area, Fiat was sought out in Italy to assemble its cars under license in the Barcelona Free Zone.
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Thus, just as FIAT was an acronym for the Italian Factory Automobili Torino, the Iberian Tourism Automobile Society (SIAT) was renamed Spanish Society of Tourism Cars (SEAT) in 1950, when it was established as such. They say that, when most of the elements came ready-made and had to limit themselves only to assembling them at the beginning, the workers jokingly said that the name of the new firm really meant ‘You’ll Always Be Tightening Screws’.
3 The first was not the 600
Curiously, contrary to what many believe, the first Seat in history was not the iconic 600, but the Seat 1400because there was a greater hurry to create machines that served as official cars, representation cars, taxis, mechanical and health care, etc., than to motorize the population in general.
70 years of Seat
In fact, the first Seat as such see the light in 1953while the first 600 -although it was the second model produced by the company- dates from 1957.
4 The last one, yes! (But he got lost)
On the other hand, although it was already a completely outdated model and surpassed aesthetically, mechanically and functionally by all the other models in the range -including the bland Seat 133- and almost all of the competition, the truth is that the Seat 600 -in its versions E and L Special– remained in production until August 1973.
Strangely, no one knows what became of the last officially manufactured unit (the white Special L seen in this video), despite the fact that it received all the pomp that the factory workers could give it at the time. And we say ‘officially’ because there were still contemporary units that were assembled for export under the Fiat name. In any case, what Seat keeps in its collection of Historic Cars is the penultimate 600 that came off the line, and the last one that is known about: the red unit that you see here, a Seat 600 L Special ‘Extras’which has never been registered.
5 Just A Convertible
Despite all the attempts that have been made in seven decades to include different truly convertible models in the Seat catalog (although the 600 could be ordered under that name from the beginning, they only offered the opening of part of the roof), the only cabrio as such was the Seat 850 Sport (‘Spider’), an authentic two-seater roadster designed by Giugiaro when Bertone was still signing his creations, which was in production between 1970 and 1972).
All other attempts -authentic Seat frikadas that very few know -(Panda, Ibiza, Ritmo, Tango, Córdoba, Fórmula…) remained mere design exercises, because in each feasibility plan that was made, the numbers did not add up…
6 El Ronda saved the mark
When in the early 80’s Fiat ‘breaks’ with Seatthe Spanish brand spends time in complete solitude and difficulties that only the acquisition of the vw group began to end (and it was not, precisely in the short term).
Seat’s strangest cars
But surely this operation would not have occurred without a previous victory. When Seat creates the Round, Fiat sues the company for plagiarism, before the European Court of Competition. Thus, a black unit is sent from Barcelona with all the genuine Seat elements painted with a brush in yellow, as proof that most of the model had been designed and produced outside the Fiat/Seat Ritmo from which it came.
Justice ended up accepting the Spanish version and Seat was able to continue with this strategy. Thus, not only did it not have to stop producing the Ronda, but it also modified other models of Italian origin such as the 127 and the Panda in a sufficient percentage to include them in its catalog as Seat Fura and Marbella.
7 Agreements with Porsche
They were essential for the survival of Seat, although today we know that they could have gone further. In the time of solitude to which we alluded in the previous number, of these 7 frikadas that few know about the history of Seat There is another fundamental element: the agreements with Porsche.
Just finished the models Malaga (based on the round seatbut in a sedan version) and Ibiza I, with the invaluable signature of Giugiaro, the end of the relationship with Fiat prevented Seat from mounting, once again, the reliable but already outdated Italian mechanics of 1,197 and 1,438 cc. So finally, it was decided to entrust Porsche with the creation of cylinder heads based on these blocks, of 1.2 and 1.5 liters, but of a new type, and associated with equally optimized 5-speed transmissions.
The incredible story of ‘The King of Seat Málaga’
The commercial and marketing success of the so-called motors Seat System Porsche was overwhelming, despite the fact that the Germans (who were not going through a good financial moment and it was very useful for them to participate in that high-volume sales project) refused to have their logo appear when opening the hood, and limited themselves to putting only the letters of your brand, yes, with the original typography.
The pity is that some time ago we found out almost exclusively that Seat and Porsche came to project together a small two-seater sports car that it would have changed things a lot, the Seat Porsche 984… and that, in one way or another, it would have changed things a lot.