In the third episode of PetrolBlog’s Real World Reviews, Simon Ford (@sf4d74) remembers his old Daihatsu Charade GTti. The little GTti is respected as an 80s cult car, verging on classic status. It had a power-to-weight ratio of 122 bhp, helped by being incredibly lightweight at just 808kg. It also had a tiny 1.0 3-cylinder engine producing a rather unique soundtrack. I’ll let Simon tell his story, but would suggest following Simon on twitter for great automotive chat and plenty of car photos!
F292 UVV is a car i will remember for the rest of my life as one of the best I’ve ever owned.
The car in question was a Daihatsu Charade GTti with a 1.0 turbocharged engine producing 100 bhp, a 0-60 time of 7.8 seconds and a top speed of 110mph. All this whilst still giving delivering pretty decent fuel economy with figures of 36-40 mpg.
F292 UVV was lowered by 3mm and had aftermarket TSW alloys. More importantly it also had a Superchips conversion and was therefore producing 140 bhp. So my little Daihatsu was less of a pocket rocket and more of a full blown nuclear missile!
In truth it was a genuinely scary experience when the turbo kicked in – not many small cars had this much power back in the day! I once had it timed, (by a mate in the passenger seat with a stopwatch), and it reached 60 mph in 7 seconds – nearly a full second off the standard car. It also went on to reach speeds of 125 mph on my private test track.
But it wasn’t just about speed and acceleration. As a daily driver, this car was brilliant. It didn’t matter if it was pottering in city traffic or on the motorway, the Charade loved to be driven. I also found it very frugal averaging between 32-40 mpg. Put your foot down and it would have a bit of turbo lag, but then give you a mighty kick in your back as you shot forward like the Millennium Falcon on acid. It could leave faster and bigger cars for dead, but I would often get the nod of approval from other drivers, when I shot past them! Respect for the Charade was high.
Sadly the interior was quite spartan with hard 80s plastic everywhere but did have electric windows, decent sport seats and central locking. Autocar magazine tested it against the Citroen AX GT and it absolutely annihilated it*. I’ll always remember my old GTti with great fondness. Such a shame so few of them are left now and those that are have either been modified to within an inch of their lives or have fallen into disrepair. Thanks for the memories GTti.
*For the purposes of balance I should point out that Car magazine disagreed with Autocar and gave the AX GT the nod over the GTti. They were of course, correct!