Mini DeTomaso Turbo Is the 80s Hot Hatch You Didn’t Know About

It features what was back in the 80s the world’s smallest turbocharged production engine

The 1970s and 80s Innocenti version of the Mini was passed around more than half-smoked reefer at a backyard rave, so the number of versions made is quite surprising. Heck, there was even one built by DeTomaso which featured what was back then the world’s smallest turbocharged engine in a production car.

Launched in 1983 as a more powerful and customizable version compared to what other manufacturers were doing with it, the Mini DeTomaso Turbo was the fastest of its kind. It featured a Daihatsu-sourced three-pot one-liter making 72 horsepower which propelled it to 100 km/h in 10.8 seconds.

That sprint time may not sound like much, but other versions of the same car, with lesser powered engines took nearly 30 seconds to achieve the same speed… so yeah. The DeTomaso Turbo version was also the only to crack 100 mph, recording a top speed of 165 km/h or 102 mph.

Even back in the day, the car was criticized by journos for being unstable under braking, having poor comfort and ergonomics, as well as no real power below 3,500 rpm from the turbo engine. So how would a fast, fearless modern driver rate it? Here’s Davide Cironi.