Junkyard Gem: 1978 Fiat X1/9

Junkyard Gem: 1978 Fiat X1/9


Fiat did fairly nicely promoting automobiles in the USA in the course of the Seventies, particularly after the 1973 Oil Disaster made gasoline economic system a really persuasive promoting level. Whereas gross sales of the bigger 131/Brava and weird-looking Strada by no means amounted to a lot right here, 128s, 124 Sport Spiders and X1/9s have been throughout American roads throughout the Malaise Period. At this time’s Junkyard Gem is a type of X1/9s, present in a boneyard close to Pikes Peak in Colorado.

The design of the X1/9 was impressed by the 1969 Autobianchi A112 Bertone idea automobile, and it featured the engine/transaxle meeting and entrance suspension from the Fiat 128 mounted simply behind the seats. A bit greater than a decade later, GM copied that concept through the use of Chevrolet Quotation working gear and entrance suspension behind the Pontiac Fiero.

The outcome was a light-weight, nimble mid-engined targa convertible that achieved glorious gasoline economic system and regarded far faster than it truly was.

The X1/9 was out there in the USA from the 1973 by 1987 mannequin years. As a result of Fiat fled the USA in 1982, the 1983-1987 X1/9s have been imported by Malcolm Bricklin (sure, on the similar time he was the Yugo King) and offered with Bertone badging. The Bricklin-imported 124 Sport Spider was out there right here throughout that interval as the Pininfarina Azurra.

The MSRP for the ’78 X1/9 was $5,445, or about $26,804 in 2023 {dollars}. In the meantime, the 124 Sport Spider listed at $6,495 ($31,973 after inflation), although it had fairly a bit extra horsepower (90 versus the X1/9’s 67). The subsequent-cheapest mid-engined Italian two-seater People may purchase that 12 months was the Ferrari 308, which began at an eye-watering $28,580 ($140,692 at this time); the ’78 Maserati Bora price $29,800 ($146,698 now). A 12 months earlier, there would have been a little bit of competitors with the Lancia Scorpion, however the final mannequin 12 months right here for that considerably low cost machine was 1977.

The U.S.-market X1/9 was underpowered, no getting round that, however it managed to be enjoyable to drive. Set up a quad-cam Alfa Romeo V6 from a 164 in a single, although, and you get a terrifyingly quick observe machine.

I used X1/9 facet scoops on the hood of my 1965 Impala sedan venture, again within the Nineteen Nineties.

The little entry hatch to the distributor, positioned behind the passenger seat, is a considerate contact by Fiat.

Its last parking area has a very good view of Pikes Peak (the snow-covered mountain behind the Xterra), no less than. A low-mile unique X1/9 of this period is value first rate cash, however a battered hooptie like this simply wasn’t more likely to discover a endlessly house.

The most effective mileage of any two-seater sports activities automobile offered in America! It is a good factor for Fiat that the X1/9 by no means needed to compete head-to-head with the Honda CRX.


Supply hyperlink