Before the Fiero and the MR2, There Was the Fiat X1/9

Colin
By Colin Wood
Apr 15, 2021 | Fiat, X1/9

Looking for an unusual mid-engined sports car? Why not a Fiat X1/9?

Arriving in North America in 1974 as a replacement for the 850 Spider, the Fiat X1/9 featured styling from Bertone's Marcello Gandini, the same person who penned the Lamborghini Miura.

Learn everything you need to know about this mid-engined sports car with our Fiat X1/9 Buyer’s Guide over on Classic Motorsports.

And if you want to make one wild, watch this. 

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Duke
Duke MegaDork
4/15/21 12:05 p.m.

I've always liked those.

They used to bring FIATs into the Port of Wilmington DE.  I remember in 1979 or 1980 a huge holding lot full of X1/9s got flooded during a hurricane.  I mean hundreds of cars, plus a bunch of 124s and 128s.  I imagine it was a significant portion of all the FIATs exported to the US in that year.

I always wondered if any of them got dried out and shipped to dealers.

 

m4ff3w
m4ff3w GRM+ Memberand UberDork
4/15/21 12:14 p.m.

I've had 2.  

That are absolutely wonderful little cars.  Super practical for daily use (AC would have been nice though) with a ton of storage for a car that size, that the top fits in the frunk is awesome.

Super fun to drive, you can really wind them out and have a blast driving w/out being the take my license territory. 

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/15/21 12:30 p.m.

this is timely...

racerdave600
racerdave600 UltraDork
4/15/21 2:14 p.m.

I used them as daily drivers and autocross cars for many years, vastly underrated cars.  My favorites were an '81 injected with Konis as the only mod.  Perfect as a daily driver.  And my '74 with a 1500, dual Webers, 4.89 gear.  My buddy Steve Hoelscher built the motor and transaxle and it was a blast to drive.  Pic below actual car, but after I sold it.  

 

m4ff3w
m4ff3w GRM+ Memberand UberDork
4/15/21 2:27 p.m.

ZOO (Forum Supporter)
ZOO (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
4/15/21 2:30 p.m.

I love them . . . wanted one badly in the early 90's, but I had no money. 

m4ff3w
m4ff3w GRM+ Memberand UberDork
4/15/21 2:31 p.m.

And my first one

 

Matt B (fs)
Matt B (fs) UltraDork
4/15/21 3:32 p.m.

I met Robert (the guy in the video) at an Atlanta SCCA solo event before he did the engine swap.  I immediately nerded out over his X, took pics, and asked him probably too many questions.  Nice guy and a cool car even before the transformation.  It's great to see what he's done with it since then.  

Also, I'm pretty sure Toyota took "inspiration" from the X1/9 when they designed the first MR2 just as they did with the Cosworth BDA when they engineered the 4AGE.

Jerry
Jerry PowerDork
4/16/21 1:31 p.m.

Going to the Fiat on the Dragon events, the guy in charge has a son with an X1/9 and Acura drivetrain swap.  Damn nice looking car, I'd love to find one right now while I'm in search of car #3.

Tom1200
Tom1200 SuperDork
4/16/21 7:23 p.m.

I've only driven one on track. It was a students car and total stock bit it was super fun to drive, zippy motor and very chuckable.

GTwannaB
GTwannaB GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
4/17/21 9:18 p.m.
ddavidv
ddavidv UltimaDork
4/18/21 6:59 a.m.
Duke said:

I've always liked those.

They used to bring FIATs into the Port of Wilmington DE.  I remember in 1979 or 1980 a huge holding lot full of X1/9s got flooded during a hurricane.  I mean hundreds of cars, plus a bunch of 124s and 128s.  I imagine it was a significant portion of all the FIATs exported to the US in that year.

I always wondered if any of them got dried out and shipped to dealers.

 

I know the answer!

It is 'no'. Fiat actually parted out a bunch of those. The warehouse in NJ still had salvaged parts like trunk lids available for sale when I left the business in 1993. Only downside was you never knew what color part you'd get.

The X1/9 was a fantastic car. It only needed a bit more hp to really be great. Well, that and trunk release cables that didn't break constantly or world's most difficult to access master cylinders that always failed.

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/18/21 7:16 a.m.

Looked at a few when I was younger- one was in a field where it was left after the timing belt jumped.   It was a neat car to drive, but we pulled the trigger on a Datsun 2000 that was cheaper and down the street from us.  Later my first real car was an Alfetta instead.

Furious_E (Forum Supporter)
Furious_E (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
4/18/21 9:27 a.m.

Probably the cleanest X1/9 I've ever encountered, a nicely restored stock-looking example in red, came out to last weekend's autocross. I think it's so much cooler seeing an old classic like that in action, doing what it was intended to do, rather than sitting stationary at a car show. 

wspohn
wspohn SuperDork
4/18/21 10:00 a.m.

This article got me hyped about what an X1/9 with power would be like.

https://jalopnik.com/a-vtec-swapped-fiat-x1-9-has-all-the-speed-of-a-modern-1834200464

And see this thread for other suggestions

https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/grm/what-engine-fiat-x19-edition/88995/page1/

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