Minute Mid-Engine: 1979 Fiat X1/9 – $6,500

Apr 2020 | Classifinds, Sports Car Saturday

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 this third generation U.S. example currently listed here on Craigslist in Fredonia, New York (south of Buffalo) the current caretaker is asking $6,500 for. A quick scan of the  Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms the private seller has their X1/9 priced $200 less than the current #3 “Good” estimate of $6,700. If you are serious about adding this Fiat to your collection, you can start the conversation by emailing the seller and when you do please remember to mention you saw his X1/9 listing featured here on GuysWithRides.com

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 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, the result was arguably one of the best handling Fiats ever produced. 

In 1979 U.S. cars received increases in displacement to 1498 cc and five-speed transmissions, with maximum power up to VW Beetle-like 67 horsepower and retained previous emission controls. In 1979 U.S. X1/9s also received both exterior and interior revisions including integrated bumpers front and rear, as well as new front grilles and air dams. The instrument panel and dash redesign moved the heating and ventilation controls from the center console up to the main dash, relocated the radio to the center dash area, moved the fuse panel from the area above the driver’s left knee to the area above the passenger’s footwell where the glovebox was, and moved the glovebox to atop the dash.  With less than 100 horsepower on tap throughout it’s production, the X1/9 is at best a momentum car.

Here’s a U.S. Fiat commercial featuring the ’79 X1/9:

X1/9s were easy prey for the rust bug in the Northeast, so its a rare site to come across an example for sale, especially one only minor flaw such as the seller reports.  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 that’s been nicely maintained. Good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s description:

“SUMMER IS COMING!
2dr Targa, (two tops, one in very good condition the other is good with a spill mark on top)
Original blue paint in good condition with normal nicks & scratches
Interior original except for drivers seat partial replacement (see pic)
4-cyl. 1499cc
New break pads, calipers & master cylinder (see pics) On blocks to bleed breaks and just purchased new tires.
New clutch master cylinder (already installed)
New battery
New Starter
All parts purchased from Midwest-Bayless Italian Auto, Columbus, Ohio.

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

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