Found on Road Alive : Fiat X1/9

Pictured here is a Fiat X1/9 well worn and quite a few bits and baubles missing. Hell its a Fiat and the car in particular that helped earn the company the jokesters renaming to “Fix it again Tony”.  Sure they were temperamental to keep in tune, prone to break down if you ran them the way you would any other sports car.  But, and this is a huge BUT, when that car was in perfect tune it was a thrilling little car, especially the earlier versions before they were bloated with a lot of power equipment and A/C.  More details and pics after the jump.

The X1/9 was stiffened to meet our crash standards to take an impact as if they were a sedan.  It brought weight to the car (at just over a ton it was not a light weight back in its day).  That weight and stiffness brought along some incredible handling.  Couple it with the mid-engine lay out it had near perfect balance and could really be run for fun out on the curvy roads along the coast.  The problem is a couple of fun runs and it stalled.   Repairs were rarely cheap and finding a good Fiat mechanic could be a challenge.

Despite its less than perfect repair record it is a car that was loved by its owners. Who couldn’t love the car, design by Bertone and engineering by Fiat did give it the look and feel of a real sports car.  During its production run from 1972 through 1989 nearly 200,000.  Production was split between the two.  Fiat made the first 140,000 from 1972 to 1982, and the last 60,000 by Bertone to take it to model end in 1989.

The naming of the car never made sense, then again most Fiats didn’t as there wasn’t rhyme nor reason anyone could tell.  Sometimes they had a name, others it was a number and the latter wasn’t based on anything relevant.  I mean really; X1/9…its one ninth of what?  Regardless of how it got its name it has earned Automobile Magazine naming it as a collectible classic.  Not bad for a car that was tough to keep its parts attached and the whole thing running well.  

Pic by me with the trusty phone cam on Royal Oaks Drive in Duarte.  They do get bigger with a click.

5 Replies to “Found on Road Alive : Fiat X1/9”

  1. I heard it but the autoblogs have had a lot to say on Chrysler of late. Fiat has had enough troubles and can’t see them take on all of Chrysler. Best bet is they will keep jeep, drop one of the auto side and use the other as a way to bring in their cars if they do it. That’s a big “IF” given the troubles they have and standing in line for a Fed handout doesn’t help their saleability.

  2. My first wife had one. I loved that car!

    It handled like a dream in snow and was a helluva lot of fun when it was sunny outside. But then again, I had a series of 128s, so I am a glutton for automotive punishment ;-).

  3. Laexpat I have to admit I loved the car too. A friend I worked with had one and we’d run off to lunch in it. Great car. Then her boyfriend would drive it on the weekend and Monday she was getting a ride to work so it could get fixed. Great cars, lousy reliability.

  4. Someone must have released a slew of these here recently. I just saw a red one, with the same hole-y bumpers that allow you to get a sense of what the car looked like in Europe. Also interesting were the bold graphics on the seats of the bulky-bumpered 1981 model that I have a brochure of. Still.

    frazgo, as a ‘recovering auto enthusiast’, I’m finding it difficult to breath right now. On the wagon, off the wagon, on the wagon, off the wagon…

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