Jerry
Jerry UltraDork
8/8/17 7:01 a.m.

My friend posted this last night on Facebook. He's a long-time SCCA racer, has a few too many projects after his dad passed away. I bought the supercharged MR2 from him a few years ago (which is also for sale wink wink). He told me about this car but I hadn't seen it till now......

F/S: 1977 FIAT X1/9

About the car...

Up for sale is a 1977 X1/9. As you can see from the pictures, it has what appears to be an old Abarth (or Abarth style) body kit installed. I have no way of knowing exactly how long the car has had the kit, but it was professionally installed likely some time in the early 80's. The flares are in excellent shape, have no visible cracking or damage and are very cleanly and securely installed.

I believe the car was originally painted yellow from the factory. When my father purchased the car in the late 80's, it was painted red with 2 black racing strips. He later had the car painted the color it is today. I think it's some kind of BMW smokey grey metallic. In low light levels, it looks almost black, but in the bright sun, you can easily tell that it is a metallic grey.

The hood had relief cuts and associated ducting to vent the radiator. Before he had it repainted, he cut and fashioned metal plates to close them off. The plates were sealed and riveted in place. After looking at a few pictures of the Abarth body kits, I believe these holes were styled after the kit. There are also associated holes cut in the panel just aft of the radiator itself in the frunk area. These have been sealed off by several layers of flexible plastic material. While the plastic looks a bit odd in the frunk, it was surprisingly effective and durable at covering the holes.

The engine is a some kind of hybrid build of 1500/1300 parts. I honestly don't know enough about these engines and cars to tell you what exact parts are in there; however, if memory serves, it has a 1300 block, 1300 crank, 1500 rods, custom 1500 pistons, and a 1500 head. I'm probably way off, but it's kind of hard to remember exactly what my dad said was in there. I'll try to get my head down around the side of the engine to get the block designation. It is fed by two 45 Weber DCOE carbs on an individual runner manifold. It also has what I've been told to be a "short" runner header. The engine, when running, was capable of idiotic RPM (8000+). The transaxle has stock gearing and shifts easy.

As you'll notice in the pictures, the engine bay is relatively clutter free and most of the extraneous components have been removed. There is duct work from the driver's side air intake that is plumbed into the trunk. As such, the trunk/engine bay wall has been cut out and recovered accordingly for the duct work and carbs. Air for the carbs is fed from the trunk. The horns just reach the trunk area and previously had individual filters. I would think that a Piper-Cross air filter setup might work/breath a little better than individual filters.

The body has some minor rust and a few small dings here and there. Most of it is just surface rust from exposure and could easily be cleaned/treated/repaired. The underside of the chassis is very solid. As shown in the pictures, there is some typical surface rust here and there. There also appears to be some damage to the passenger rear lift area near the pinch weld. There doesn't appear to be anything structurally wrong in that area, just bent. There is also noticeable damage to the right front control arm mounting location. It looks to have been previously repaired and some of the metal is bent in the area, but the car always drove straight and never exhibited any unusual handling characteristics or odd tire wear. There is one spot of concern under the passenger side floor pan. It certainly has not rusted through, but I would suggest having it repaired be fore it does. Otherwise, from a structural and fit and finish standpoint, the chassis and exterior of the car is in really good shape.

The interior is probably the worst aspect of the car from a fit and finish standpoint. When my father purchased the car, it did not have much of an interior. The door cards, carpeting, several switches/levers, and other odds and ends were missing. The door cards had been replaced with simple sheet metal to close out the door. Some time after he purchased it, he found a rusted out donor car that had a decent interior and transplanted most of it over. The seats are one piece fiberglass buckets of unknown origin with vinyl coverings. The seat belts are old GM 2 point lap belts. The '77 model year did not have 3 point seat belts and there does not appear to be any provisions for them.

The story of the car...

As a life long car addict, my father had a soft spot for FIATs. It may have been the fact that he was half Italian, half German and the second generation born in the US that spurred his love for Italian cars. At one point, he road raced an 850 Spider in SCCA G Production and later a 131 in ITB/GT4. He told me many, many stories about how he built his first FIAT race engine for the 850 using poorly translated FIAT manuals and other dealings with racing a FIAT. The 850 was the unfortunate victim to a huge crash at Indianapolis Raceway Park in the early 80's.

Later @ '86-'88, he purchased the X1/9. The car's previous owner used it as a 'canyon racer' as it was described to me. Apparently it was from somewhere out west and saw duty on weekends carving narrow roads and streets in the mountains and hillsides. The first owner of the car, and from what I understand to be the one who put most of the work into the body and engine, was a FIAT tech who worked with a FIAT works racing team out of California in the 70's. I have no idea who they were or what they were called. Apparently, the car was something he built using some pretty exotic engine setups that only they were privy to at the time. It was the original owner that had concocted the franken motor that currently sits in the car.

From time to time, he would actually let me drive the car. I loved driving the car. It was small and quirky. I had honed my skills for driving a manual in that car. Most importantly, it was a bit exotic. In the days when everyone was hotrodding and cruising around in a Camaro or Mustang, I got to drive an Italian classic. A very ANGRY Italian classic at that. The motor would rev to the moon, the howl of the dual Webers, the raspiness of the exhaust note, the lightening quick steering, the almost gracefulness of it's handling, the fact that the top came off... it was all I ever wanted in a car at the time.

In '91 he had let me borrow the car for a night out. At the time, I wasn't quite 17 years old, and as you'd expect, I was kind of a dumb teenager. On one particular curvy road out in farm country Ohio in the middle of the night, I managed to bottom the car out on an uneven section of the road. I heard the hit, but really never gave it a thought. Fortunately, it wasn't the chassis that hit the ground. Unfortunately, the coolant hose took the full impact. As I'm sure you've guessed by now, the coolant promptly exited the car. (Remember stupid teenager) I didn't realize what had happened until I was suddenly faced with an engine that was overheating and starting to seize up.

Somehow, I managed to get the car home. It still ran great, but it did sound a touch different. In the morning, my dad went to drive the car to work as he did frequently. I hadn't yet told him about what had happened the night before. Needless to say, he didn't make it very far before he discovered that the car was trying to overheat. I really don't know how or why I'm still alive...lol

So, a few weeks later, we were out in the garage removing the wounded engine to rebuild it. Once apart, it had become obvious the custom nature of the internals, which he knew about, but had yet seen what was actually inside. Since this was pre useful internet, he began making a number of phone calls to the FIAT contacts he knew. It was determined that an overbore job and new custom pistons were required to repair the engine. About 6 months later, the engine was put back together and put back in the car. After the rebuild, the car had all of its angry Italiany charm once again. He continued to drive it to work on some days and AutoX'd it occasionally.

Fast forward to the early 2000's... After 6 years of living out of state, I moved back to my home town to start a new career. Now that I lived in close proximity to my father once again, talks of putting together a car to go road racing started up again. Some of the ideas circled around building the X1/9 into a G prod car. Instead, we started off with some light-hearted AutoX. Him in his X1/9 and me in my '86 MR2. It soon became apparent that I still had a bit of talent left and the AutoXing became a little more serious. Eventually, we decided that we were going to start honestly campaigning the X1/9 in D Street Prepared. Panasport wheels were purchased. Real race rubber was acquired. Sway bars and suspension were looked over. The exhaust was sorted better. Plans to upgrade the engine were hatched. Then, early in 2005 at a dual regional event, the clutch let go during my first run. There was no damage to the transaxle, but the friction material had managed to wedge itself into the nose of the starter. That was the last time I drove the car and the last time the car was driven or run to my knowledge.

When last run, the engine was still quite stout, but I believe it may have had a bit of a valve stem seal leak. It did smoke a little when it was first started cold. And, as typical with a leak of this nature, once the car was sufficiently warmed, the smoke all but disappeared.

Later that year, he commissioned Vick Autosports out of Texas to build a high compression 1500 which he took delivery of along with various other components to complete the build. Unfortunately for the X1/9, our attentions turned to my newly acquired MKI MR2 which was to be run in SCCA E Production road racing. We never really had an opportunity to install the new engine and all the new goodies he had picked up for it.

Why the short story on the car? I want folks to understand what they are looking at. I want them to know that despite the time the car has sat, it had a rich history otherwise. Sure, the car holds some sentimental value for me. Actually, probably a lot more than I'm willing to admit, but I have no interest in repairing the car and getting it to run again. I have three too many other projects with too much time and money invested to further divide my time on a car I'd have learn from the ground up. I also want you to understand that I hold no secrets with this car. I did my best to find and show every flaw as well as every bonus. The car, IMHO, is a 6 or 7 out of 10 as it sits. It could probably never be returned to completely stock condition, but with a little time and effort by someone who knows these cars or by someone with the time to learn, it could easily be returned to its former glory as that angry little Italian car and then some.

I'm asking $5,000 for all of it. Odo reads 45,342. (No idea if that is over 100k or not)

The car could easily be returned to the street in short order with a little bit of dedication. The pics really make the rust stand out. I'll gladly place the car on the lift and you can fully inspect it. The engine and car are at a shop I rent, and the parts are in storage down the road. Car is located just outside of Dayton, OH.

Feel free to contact me on FB messenger (facebook.com/ekimdam12a) or via email ekimdam@gmail.com if interested. Full album here: Facebook

Includes the following parts/books/other (all new):

1 1500 engine built by Vick Autosports Includes: VAS Racing Pistons w\ Total Seal rings Clevite rod and main bearings Clevite thrust washer New oil pump Fel-Pro HD head gasket Complete rebuild gasket kit

Clutch kit (Disc/pressure plate/release bearing) Pilot bushing Release bearing retainer Starter 1500 tensioner bearing 1500 timing belt 4 Caliper kits 4 caliper bleed screws Brake light switch Accelerator cable 2 wire voltage regulator Top Radiator hose Bottom Radiator hose Thrust washer set? Speedo cable Top hose (water pump) 2 Performance brake rotors Frunk hood cable Distributor cap & rotor Clutch hose magnetic Oil plug

Other X1/9 odds and ends:

New steel rear wheel arches (not sure why, there's no rust there and it has flares) Spare transmission with regeared 4th gear (shifts like 1, 2, 3, 5) Bolt-in roll bar (originally installed in the car when he purchased it) Weld-in/bolt-in full "IT" cage (missing at least 1 bar. Could easily be reproduced) "Long tube" header. Cracked at collector, but could easily be copied. Bumper pull towing kit. ( not sure I'd really want to tow it like that personally, but I can't really think of a reason why it wouldn't work.) Extra set of steel wheels 3 Panasport ULW racing wheels (The 4th has a partially destroyed bead due to a tire shop that didn't know what they were doing and destroyed a $250 wheel)

dculberson
dculberson PowerDork
8/8/17 9:00 a.m.

Cool car! My daughter (who is 2) said it was "a little cool and a little weird." My wife agreed.

hobiercr
hobiercr Dork
8/8/17 9:13 a.m.

Jerry
Jerry UltraDork
8/8/17 11:56 a.m.
dculberson wrote: Cool car! My daughter (who is 2) said it was "a little cool and a little weird." My wife agreed.

Sounds like a selling point.

chandlerGTi
chandlerGTi PowerDork
8/8/17 12:13 p.m.
dculberson wrote: Cool car! My daughter (who is 2) said it was "a little cool and a little weird." My wife agreed.

Did you get it home yet?

LuxInterior
LuxInterior Dork
8/8/17 4:16 p.m.

So much want, so little shop space

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
8/8/17 9:10 p.m.

So much want.

Jerry
Jerry UltraDork
8/9/17 7:28 a.m.

He was at our SCCA meeting last night, first thing he did was try to talk me into it. I have to say it's tempting. There was a red and black one with a similar body kit at the Fiat on the Dragon event I drooled over every time I saw it...

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett MegaDork
8/9/17 10:22 a.m.

In reply to Jerry:

You do have the perfect engine for this car already.

Aaron_King
Aaron_King PowerDork
8/9/17 11:56 a.m.

Oh man, that is sexy and me with no money.

pizzaman1
pizzaman1 New Reader
8/20/17 11:33 a.m.

Oh , I'm so interested in that car , I just bought an X1/ 9 to build something like that , it'll take me years and god knows how much$ , I wish I could work out a deal with you . I'm seriously interested!!

Jerry
Jerry UltraDork
8/20/17 5:37 p.m.

In reply to pizzaman1:

Feel free to contact my friend, his information is near the end and in bold.

pizzaman1
pizzaman1 New Reader
8/24/17 8:31 a.m.

Jerry , I emailed your friend but heard nothing back , i'm trying to figure out if he has one engine or two engines?

pizzaman1
pizzaman1 New Reader
8/31/17 8:55 a.m.

If you can let the seller know that I'm looking for racing parts to build up a 1.5 , or a racing engine if he has an extra one , I couldn't quite figure out if he had 1 engine or 2 .

Jerry
Jerry UltraDork
9/1/17 5:55 a.m.

In reply to pizzaman1:

Just sent him a msg. EDIT- he signed up for an account here, this is his reply:

"Apparently, I have to wait 24 hours before I can post...blah. Can you post or send him this or get his email address for me? Thanks!

Hi pizzaman1. I'm the owner of the X1/9. Sorry I didn't get your email you sent to me. Jerry messaged me this morning about that.

Can you try emailing me again? ekimdam at gmail dot com.

I have 1 built, but never installed 1500 and one frankenmotor 1.3/1.5 engine in the car. Looking forward to hearing from you.

-Mike"

pizzaman1
pizzaman1 New Reader
9/2/17 3:53 p.m.

Just emailed Mike again, hopefully it gets to him and he'll reply, thanks for your help Jerry

EastCoastMojo
EastCoastMojo Mod Squad
9/2/17 4:11 p.m.

Ekimdam, you should be able to post now, I updated your profile to override the 24 hour status. Sorry I didn't see Jerry's post sooner.

Our Preferred Partners
XLwWeAGBqLxmKWdHl16Ki7fgUADbgDcWm7Z6vAXYGA2d49q8WBkqm1jyIopGJ7Be