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RE: SOTW: Fiat X1/9

Friday 18th May 2012

SOTW: Fiat X1/9

Pukka Italian mid-engined exotica and all the spares you could need for £750? Sounds like a bargain to us...

Picking today's SOTW has been a curious exercise this week. Ordinarily, I devote rather more time than I should to trawling through the classified pages of this and other websites. After all, it's the ideal displacement activity because, if questioned, I can genuinely say I am doing work... Entire afternoons can be lost this way...

This week, however, Shed's virtual mailbag has been groaning at the seams with suggestions from you, the dear reader. This is nice, although it has meant I've actually had to do some proper work for a change instead of amusing myself by trawling for a Shed. But I digress. We've had everything from Citroen XMs and Audi A8s (albeit slightly beyond budget) to manual Mitsubishi FTOs and even an Alfa Romeo GTV.

But while they were good suggestions all, there can be only one winner - and it's this FiatX1/9, spotted by PHer only1ian (who is getting to be ridiculously good at spotting a tasty SOTW candidate - we count this as his third SOTW credit!).

Few things ooze 1970s Italian style in quite the same way as a Fiat X1/9. OK so that name is more space probe than stylish sportster, and an Alfa Spider of a similar vintage is probably a smidge cooler, but I defy you, if you ever find yourself behind the wheel of one, not to pretend you're some sort of fashionista on the way to a studio shoot in the heart of Milano.

Curiously, that weird name is actually Fiat's own internal codename for the car, the marketing department, in magnificently laid-back style, not bothering to give it a 'proper' nomenclature. Although, given the fact that the rest of the X1/9's peers in the Fiat range when it first appeared in 1972 were all labelled with three-digit numbers, perhaps 'X1/9' is actually a more glamorous alternative...

There are also some serious bragging rights that come with owning an X1/9 - the original 1969 concept was the work of none other than Marcello Gandini, he of making-Lamborghinis-look-like-Lamborghinis fame. Now that's not the sort of thing you could say about a ratty Toyota MR2, or indeed many cars with an asking price of just £750...

It's not all style over substance, either: Taking the transverse engine and front-drive layout from the Fiat 128 and turning it to a mid-engined layout gave the X1/9 naturally perky handling characteristics. Meanwhile, placing the fuel tank and spare wheel in parallel ahead of the engine further honed its handling balance - as well as making room for two small boots (one at the front and one at the rear).

Of course Fiats are not known for their reliability, but this particular seller seems to have this covered. The car has got a long MOT, claims to have had plenty of work done to it recently and, crucially, has a literal truckload of spares to be chucked in with it.

So what are you waiting for? Slap on a pair of Wayfarers, get some Brylcreem in your hair (haven't you kinda got the wrong decade there, Riggers? -Ed) let a rolled-up cigarette dangle from the corner of your mouth and go and buy it! Mind you, we'd probably remove the CD/DVD head unit with its flip-up screen first...

Advert is reproduced below

1983 FIAT X1/9 VS Loads of Spares Included (1983)
57,000 miles £750

1983 FIAT X1/9 VS 1500.
Mot until 24th February 2013, tax until the end of August 2012.
57,000 miles.

Italian, mid-engined, rear wheel drive, two-seater classic sports car with removable roof - ready for the summer! Fun to drive and stands out!
Car can be insured cheaply under classic car insurance.

The car drives well, the engine runs fine; does not smoke or use oil or water.
The car has had new brake pads all round and new Goodridge hoses all round. The brakes work very well.
The FIAT has recently had a new alternator, a new water pump, a new fuel pump, alternator belt and a manual choke conversion kit.

A Lumenition electronic ignition system is fitted; so no need to worry about fiddly points etc.

The gearbox however, has a weak synchromesh in 3rd and 4th gears. I have changed the gearbox oil and filled it with the correct grade of gearbox oil. Third and fourth gears need to be treated with a little TLC. The car still drives fine and it has not stopped me using the car daily.

The exhaust has recently developed a small rattle. I think it is the baffle inside? It isn't noticeable all the time and doesn't affect the way the car drives.

The bodywork is in good condition for a car that is almost 30 years old. The wheel arches are in good condition, as are the doors, engine cover, bonnet, boot lid and nose cone. The removable roof has a few light marks - the car comes with an additional two removable roof sections.
The boot floor section has a small hole - I have a spare boot floor section to go with the car.
There is a small hole in the spare wheel well infront of the engine bay.

The alloy wheels are in good condition. The car has two complete sets of alloy wheels. The tyres on the car are all good. The spare tyre will need to be replaced.

The interior is also in good condition. The black leather seats have some age related marks. There is a small tear in the stitching on the base of the passenger seat. The red carpet has faded - the car comes with a spare black carpet in good condition. The heater also works fine.
The car has a CD/ DVD player with a 7" screen.

The electrics work well for an almost 30 year old FIAT. The electric windows work - both windows operate slowly - the passenger window makes a noise, but works fine - spare electric window motor etc. included in sale of car. The horn push button in the centre of the steering wheel is not working - the car comes with a spare steering wheel.
The pop-up headlights work fine. I have upgraded the standard headlights to HID hi-low headlights. They work well, but could do with aligning correctly.

The car comes with a great deal of spare parts. Some of the spare parts include the following:
Full set of FIAT alloy wheels, front grilles, front spoilers, 2 roof sections, carb, spare carpet, rear suspension units, front suspension units, steering rack, complete passenger door, front wing, dashboard, headlights, rear lights, 2 bonnets, 2 engine covers, front brake calipers, rear brake calipers, all switch gear etc. etc.

Buyer to collect the spare parts. I recommend a van or decent sized trailer.

The FIAT can be driven away, it's ready to go. It will only take a little bit of TLC to get to good condition. There are enough spare parts with the car to get it to a very good condition.

Willing to swap or part ex on another car.
Possibly a SAAB convertible or similar?
Please email me with any questions or offers.




Original Poster:

901 posts

117 months

Friday 18th May 2012
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Nooooo!!! Haha


36 posts

139 months

Friday 18th May 2012
quotequote all


10,974 posts

79 months

Friday 18th May 2012
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I like it.

My dad had a 1986 Fiat X1/9. It was a great car...until the exhaust fell off. hehe



591 posts

149 months

Friday 18th May 2012
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Despite my usual hatred of all things Fiat I actually quite fancy one of those!


1,037 posts

116 months

Friday 18th May 2012
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The X1/9 has been SOTW before has it not? My brother has been attempting to restore one of these but put it on the back burner to do a TR7 DH instead.


2,910 posts

127 months

Friday 18th May 2012
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Best ever shed.
Brilliant car.
apart from changing the clutch


433 posts

73 months

Friday 18th May 2012
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My sister had one of those and it was a perky little thing (also available in Metallic Lime Green for the brave) so for £750 what a lovely thing for the summer!! If I wasn't so likely to kill it through lack of maintenance that would be an easy buy!

The Crack Fox

12,521 posts

114 months

Friday 18th May 2012
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Best shed ever. This has it all. smile


27,646 posts

180 months

Friday 18th May 2012
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I had one in an identical colour scheme to that. In fact I thought it was my old one until I caught sight of the registration plate.

Lovely car to drive, but quite hard-riding, hardly any legroom and because it's a targa-roof, you have to check the weather forecast every time you decide to drive it any distance with the roof off as you can't just pull over and pop it on.

But the steering - oh my, amazingly direct and full of feel.


26 posts

68 months

Friday 18th May 2012
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Top shed. A genuinely rare site, and a stylish midengined coupe what more could you ask for (apart from maybe a little more power). Anyone know much about how big the gearbox problem is likely to be?? Either way top work!


2,328 posts

94 months

Friday 18th May 2012
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"The gearbox however, has a weak synchromesh in 3rd and 4th gears"

IIRC Fiat outsourced the manufacture of these to Cadburys, may have been Nestle not sure. It will need a recon or replacement- had a couple of Strada's in the 80's and both lost most of the gears before the rest bio degraded. Shame, great fun to drive were Fiats of this era.


59 posts

87 months

Friday 18th May 2012
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Interesting, but it looks like a TR7, not nice :/


449 posts

117 months

Friday 18th May 2012
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Crow555 said:
The X1/9 has been SOTW before has it not?
I think so too. My mate (now in the US) used to have one, and I remember sending him a link.
We had great fun touring France in 1982 (during the World Cup) in his X1/9 and my BGT.

Major T

991 posts

117 months

Friday 18th May 2012
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Fantastic value for money. There must even be a profit to me made with all the spares included, selling the flip up stereo, etc..


27,646 posts

180 months

Friday 18th May 2012
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By all rights it should be considered a design classic, given that it was designed by Marcello Gandini around about the same time he did these, and it really shows:


2,282 posts

87 months

Friday 18th May 2012
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There is a restored lime green one of these knocking about my neck of the woods - looks lovely!

I must admit though that if I were considering one, I would most likely chicken out and go for the Japanese engineered version wink


5,900 posts

143 months

Friday 18th May 2012
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Loved the one i had ,great handling but bits did fall off it and the headlights liked to take it in turns as to which one would pop up . The area where the doors mount seemed to be a particular weak point (one of many lol) with the body splitting along the top hinge mount my passenger door actually fell off !


10,635 posts

103 months

Friday 18th May 2012
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What a brilliant shed, all those spares make this a no-brainer to me. If only I had £750 spare...


267 posts

112 months

Friday 18th May 2012
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What enormous bumpers!


22,703 posts

151 months

Friday 18th May 2012
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smartarse93 said:
Interesting, but it looks like a TR7, not nice :/
And I bet there are more TR7s left on the road.

What what I remember of the X1/9 is that they were real rust buckets. more than what the other range of Fiats were.

Only good feature was the engine location.