Shown at the 2001 Frankfurt show and based on a modified Ibiza platform, the Tango was a bit hit with the public and the media
The elegantly simple interior and natural leather-work was seen as a big breakthrough for the brand
Despite much pressure to put the Tango into production, it never got the green light
This highly unusual GT racer appeared first as a concept in 2003 and then was produced in small numbers
This example of Seat’s rebadged version of Fiat’s evergreen 124 was the one millionth car that the Spanish company built
A competition version of Seat’s version of the well regarded Fiat 127 hatch
Seat’s representative had little detail on this competition version of the Seat 131, but it is due to be restored
This one-off high-performance example of the previous generation Leon had over 300bhp
Seat-built versions of Fiat’s charming rear-engined coupé and roadster, which arrived in the late 1960s
This one-off Cordoba cabrio prototype was based on the four-door saloon version of the Mk2 Ibiza
A view of the rather ungainly rear end of a Cordoba cabrio; boot space would have been huge, though
Purposeful Cordoba WRC car kitted out for the 2000 Kenya rally. Came third with Didier Auriol at the wheel
A battery-powered version of the first-generation Mk2 Jetta-based Toledo made for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics
The electric IBE was shown at the 2010 Geneva Show and was ‘a clear vision of a super-compact sports coupé for the future
The impressive crisp styling of the IBE translated – via an increase in size - into the current Seat Leon
Seat’s first attempt at building a compact convertible was based on the first-generation Ibiza
A remarkably modest Popemobile based on the Fiat Panda/Seat Marbella and used by Pope John Paul II in Spain in 1982
The Playa is a startling concept from 1993, based on the Marbella city car
The open back of the Playa concept is reminiscent of the original three-door Freelander
The interior of the Playa was stripped back and water resistant with jump seats packaged in the rear
Seat’s warehouse also contains historic models that are scheduled for restoration
This first Salsa concep was developed by ItalDesign in 2000 and this was a 2002 re-working of the idea by Seat’s own design team
First shown in 2000, the Emotion was a kind of ‘Allroad’ version of the original Salsa concept
A well-preserved example of the crisp and beautifully proportioned licence-built Fiat 131
Seat’s own versions of Fiat’s baby cars, the 600 was on sale for 16 years and sold in large numbers and were also exported
The original 1976 ‘Boca Negra’ (black mouth) was engineered by Seat and based on a Fiat 127
Seat’s first car, launched in 1953, a direct lift from the Fiat 1400
A striking concept from 1998 featured a pillarless body, rear-hinged doors, and a twin-turbo V6 good for over 320bhp
Shown in 1992, the Bolero is thought to have been a study for a potential coupe based on the first-generation Toledo
Revealed in 1999, the Formula was a mid-engined roadster designed at the then-new VW Group Styling studio in Spain
Rally Seat Marbella, for one-make ‘Copa Panda’ rally series. Carlos Sainz won series in 1982
Seat’s lightly tweaked version of the Panda came out in 1986 and stayed in production until 1998
A 1990 proposal from ItalDesign, the concept was Polo-sized, one-box car with a Cd of just 0.25
Seat’s version of the Fiat Ritmo (Strada in the UK) seen here in its highly original first-generation form
The third facelift of the original Toldeo hatchback provided Seat’s 10 millionth car
Competed in 1994, the Toledo Marathon had some success in the Off Track World Rally Cup
Unveiled at the 2007 Frankfurt show, the Tribu was the first of a number of Seat crossover concepts
Like all car makers, Seat has a collection of its most significant vehicles, from production cars and concepts to competition models.
However, the Spanish manufacturer does not have a museum that is accessible to the public, so some real gems and curios are currently hidden from view.
On Autocar’s recent trip to Barcelona to drive a fleet of historic Ibiza models, the company allowed us into a factory warehouse for a brief walk around the collection.
Aside from examples of the rebadged Fiat models that the company made for many years, there are also a number of concept cars which neatly show how Seat tried to reinvent itself as a standalone company by developing unique models with their own character while leveraging Volkswagen Group technology.
One of the most intriguing of the preserved models is the 1990 Seat Proto C, which was created by ItalDesign. This neat, Polo-size one-box car was quite a way ahead of its time, being a spacious and slippery one-box shape. It was probably the inspiration for the later Salsa concept, which failed to be translated into a convincing production car.
Take a look through the gallery above and pick your top Seat model.