7 Geeks That Few Know About The History Of Seat

It does not matter how many times you research a company like Seat because there are always facts and curiosities to tell. Today, for example, we offer you these 7 geeks that few know about Seat’s history. Sometimes they are new even for those who declare themselves more fans of the Spanish brand.

History Of Seat

1 Could be Hispano-Suiza

After the Spanish Civil War, the new Franco government was transparent that the priorities for motorizing the country had to be put at the service of transporting goods and, secondly, that 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 will tell you in detail in this link: 

However, despite the winks and sympathies that this prestigious Spanish company had shown with the rebels’ side. The bobbin lace that its different leaders had to do in the times of King Alfonso XIII, the Second Republic, and the contest itself, at the last minute, Franco did not trust her

In fact, in the face of international isolation and the devastating economic situation of the 1940s, they opted for an autarkic regime, a kind of subsistence economy that would gradually open up in the so-called Development Plans. 

But between that and the fact that the Regime did not want any private interference. It ignored the proposals of Hispano-Suiza to survive (among which there was even the project of making a cheap and popular car) and chose to pressure and buy HS for a price derisory. And so, on that basis, create the Empresa Nacional de Autocamiones SA ( ENASA ), with Pegaso as a commercial firm, and Seat to deal with the cars. 

 2 The name of Seat

Although now international searches on Google continue to refer to ‘seats’ every time one searches ‘Seat,’ at the end of the 1940s, no one contemplated that possibility when it came to creating a state company that would produce vehicles in our borders. 

Given that the Hispano Suiza initiative was shelved, it was believed that there was no other company here capable of designing, developing, and manufacturing its cars in a moderately autonomous way. And that is why, within the few ideologically related countries in the environment, Fiat was sought in Italy to license their cars in the Zona Franca of Barcelona.

Thus, just as FIAT was an acronym for the Italian Fabbrica Automobili Torino, the Iberian Tourism Automobile Society (SIAT) was renamed the Spanish Tourism Automobile Society (SEAT) in 1950, when it was established as such. They say that, since most of the elements came ready-made and had to limit themselves only to assembling them initially, the workers jokingly said that the new firm’s name meant ‘You will always be Tightening Screws.’ 

3 The first was not 600

Curiously, contrary to what many believe, the first Seat in history was not the iconic 600, but the Seat 1400, because there was a greater rush to create machines that would serve as official cars, representation cars, taxis, mechanical and health care, etc., than by motorizing the general population. 

The first Seat saw the light of day in 1953, while the first 600 – although it was the second model produced by the company – dates from 1957. 

4 The last one, yeah! (But got lost)

On the contrary, although it was already an outdated model and surpassed in aesthetics, mechanics, and functionality by all the other models in the range -including the nondescript Seat 133. 

Almost all of the competition, the truth is that the Seat 600 – in its E and L Special versions – remained in production until August 1973.

Curiously, no one knows what happened to the last officially manufactured unit (the white Special L seen in this video), even though it received all the pomp that the factory operators could give it at the time. And we say ‘officially’ because there were still contemporary units assembled for export under the name Fiat. 

In any case, what Seat keeps in its collection of Historic Cars is the penultimate 600 that came off the line, and the last that is known: the red unit that you see here, a Seat 600 L Special ‘Extras’, which it has never been registered. 

5 Just a convertible

Despite all the attempts that have been made in seven decades to include in the Seat catalog different truly convertible models (although the 600 could be ordered with that name from the beginning. They only offered the opening of a part of the roof), the only one 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 the other attempts -authentic Seat freaks that very few know about – (Panda, Ibiza, Ritmo, Tango, Córdoba, Formula) remained in mere design exercises because each viability plan was made, the numbers didn’t add up. 

6 The Ronda saved the brand

When Fiat’ broke’ with Seat at the beginning of the 80s, the Spanish brand spent time in complete solitude and difficulties that only the acquisition of the VW Group began to put an end to (and it was not, precisely in the short term). 

But indeed, this operation would not have occurred without a previous victory. When Seat created the RondaFiat sued the company for plagiarism before the European Competition Court

Thus, a black unit is sent from Barcelona with all the genuine Seat elements painted by brush in yellow, as proof that most of the model had been designed and produced outside of 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 catalogs, such as the Seat Fura and Marbella.  

7 The agreements with Porsche

They were essential for the survival of Seat, although today we know that they could have gone further. In the lonely time to which we alluded in the previous issue, of these 7 geeks that few know about Seat’s history, there is another fundamental element: the agreements with Porsche. 

The Málaga (in the Seat Ronda, but a sedan version) and Ibiza I models just finished. With Giugiaro’s inestimable signature, the end of the relationship with Fiat prevented Seat from mounting, again, the reliable but already outdated mechanics 1,197 and 1,438 cc. So finally, it was decided to entrust Porsche with the creation of cylinder heads based on these blocks, 1.2 and 1.5 liters, but again, and associated with equally optimized 5-speed transmissions. 

The commercial and marketing success of the so-called Seat System Porsche engines was overwhelming, even though the Germans (who were not going through a challenging financial moment and it was perfect to participate in that high-volume project) refused to allow their logo to appear when opening the hood. They limited themselves to putting only the letters of their brand, yes, with the original typography. 

A while ago, the pity is that we learned almost exclusively that Seat and Porsche came to project together with a small two-seater sports car that would have changed things a lot, the Seat Porsche 984. And that, in one sense or another, there would be things that changed a lot.  

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