Changed Circumstances: 1982 Fiat X1/9 – Sold!

Jan 2020 | Classifinds, Topless Thursday

Update: This one got away, but if you have your heart set on something similar, email us the details of what you’re looking for or call Rudy directly at (908)295-7330

A mid-engine body penned at Bertone under the direction of legendary designer Marcello Gandini with an engine created by famed Ferrari engineer Aurelio Lampredi.  No, we’re not talking about some Italian exotic but rather the Fiat X1/9 such as the second generation example listed on Craigslist in Reading, Pennsylvania the caretaker since 1996 is asking $6,000. A quick scan of the  Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms the private seller has their X1/9 priced $700 less than the current #3 “Good” estimate of $6,700 and he’s “open to realistic offers.” 

Unable to shake poor quality (ever hear someone say “FIAT” stood for “Fix It Again Tony”?) and rust prevention perceptions, Fiat changed circumstances at the end of 1982 by leaving the U.S. market and handing over the sales and marketing of the X1/9 and 124 to Bertone.  In a similar vein, the current caretaker indicates his circumstances have changed and does not want to leave his car parked out in the elements.

As a competitive response to VW/Porsche’s new 914, in 1969 Fiat commissioned Bertone to create a two-seat, entry-level, mid-engine sports car capable of meeting the U.S. safety regulations of the period.  Designed around the Fiat 128’s front-wheel-drive, transverse-mounted powertrain, the X1/9 relocated the transverse drive train and suspension assembly from the front of the 128 to the rear of the passenger cabin, directly in front of the rear axle, to create the mid-engine layout. Unlike most other mid-engine car designs, Bertone ingeniously located both the gas tank and spare tire between the passenger seats and the mid-engine firewall.  Not only did this provide room for two, albeit small, trunks, but the result was also arguably one of the best handling Fiats ever produced.  However, with less than 100 horsepower on tap throughout its production, the X1/9 is at best a momentum car.  1982 turned out to be the last for Fiat’s presence in the U.S. when the company turned over marketing and support of the X1/9 to International Automobile Importers, Inc., headed by Malcolm Bricklin, and turned over full production duties to Bertone. 

X1/9s were easy prey for the rust bug in the Northeast, so it’s a rare sight to come across an example for sale, especially one with only surface rust the seller mentions.  While not the fastest mid-engine car by any stretch, it’s go-kart size and handling will have you grinning from ear to ear on every twisty back road you can find.  This appears to be a nice driver-quality example you can enjoy while you restore some of the interior bits as your time and budget allow.  Good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s description:

“I’m selling my rare 1982 Fiat X1/9. I have owned the car since 1996 and it has been garage-kept all that time. 83000 original miles. It’s a warm weather car and Spring is coming. Never run in rain or snow since I’ve owned it. All original except for the radio and mirrors.

Engine starts okay and it runs good. Uses very little oil. Clutch and shifting work properly. Body is in good condition with some of the usual minor Fiat rust areas and some nicks, scratches in the original paint. All gauges work properly. No cracks in dash. Carpet is worn but usable. Driver’s seat has a scar and the seat-bottom seam is open. Passenger seat is good. Removable hard-roof functions well but it could use new weather-stripping and refinishing. Top was only used by me to keep dust and dirt out of the car while it was in the garage. If weather was bad or cold enough to require using the top, I didn’t use the car. I have a couple boxes of small spare parts that will go with the car.

Currently the car is registered in Pennsylvania as an antique. If you live in Pennsylvania, I’ll transfer the tag to you if desired. Clean title.

Hate to sell but circumstances have changed and I no longer have room in my garage so it has to go. I don’t want it sitting out in the weather. It’s a great, fun car and the value of X1/9s is increasing.

It’s an old car so you’re buying the car as-is, therefore there is no warranty and no guarantees, and I make no promises as to the car’s condition or usability. (Pictures of driver side of the car show a yellow area. This is sun glare on the camera, car does not have a yellow area.)

Asking $6000 for quick sale. Will consider realistic offers. Please call between 10 am and 5 pm if interested. Cash only. (If not buying in person, payment must be by bank wire transfer only. No checks or PayPal. Any shipping is up to you at your expense. I cannot assist with shipping other than making the vehicle available for pickup.)

Do you have a Fiat X1/9 story you’d like to share?  Comment below and let us know!

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