Tortuous Trade: 1979 Fiat X1/9 – SOLD!

by | Jun 2022 | Classifinds, Sports Car Saturday

(To stop the slideshow and expand the pictures, click on the current photograph below)

July 8, 2022, Update – We confirmed the seller of this “Classifind” deleted their listing, so we’re now able to call this one “SOLD!” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

Sometimes we come across a car that features something that makes us shake our heads and ask, “Why?” In the case of this 1959 Austin-Healey Mk1 Sprite originally listed in June 2022 on Craigslist in Lexington, Kentucky, it’s the use of beige carpeted better suited for a bedroom than a Bugeye. That faux pas aside, the seller reports their Sprite runs and drives well.

Currently offered for $12,800, Classic.com, the analytics and search engine for the collector car market, confirms the ask is slightly below the one-year rolling average of this guide’s summary for Mk1 Sprites produced between 1958 and 1961.  By clicking on the green dots in the graph below, you can navigate to each comparable car sold as a way to help you evaluate the price of the car featured here:

June 20, 2022 Update – The private seller just replaced their expired original listing with a fresh Craigslist ad. In it, the description and pictures remain the same, however, they decided to lower the asking price to $4,500.

If the Fiero was a couch potato in a sharp tracksuit, and the AW11 MR2 a nerdy, overachieving athlete with a few pounds to lose, then the X1/9 was a graceful dancer with weak ankles and beauty to spare. This one’s retained those natural, inborn good looks, and though it appears to have been through some ups and downs over the past 43 years, it looks like a survivor. This car was once listed in June 2022 on Craigslist in West Covina, California for $4,500 (the original ask was $4,800), or trade for another X1/9 with an automatic transmission; an extremely rare 0-of-0 option.

According to model data tracked by Classic.com, the car is priced below average and may represent a good deal if as good as claimed:

As a second data point, the  Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals the seller’s ask falls between this guide’s #4 “Fair” estimate of $3,100 and its #3 “Good” appraisal of $6,300.

The X1/9 had already been on sale in Europe for two years by 1974, the first model year offered here in the United States. These cars are particularly valuable, as from 1975 onward (through 1989!) the X1/9’s sharp but elegant Bertone bodywork was burdened with DOT impact bumpers that added more than half a foot to its overall length.  Based on 1969’s Autobianchi A112 Bertone Runabout concept, the X1/9 was not only styled by
Bertone, but at times both partially and fully built by the powerhouse carrozzeria. The 1979 example we’re looking at today was delivered from Bertone as a shell, ascended a spiral production ramp, emerged through a door, and drove its first-ever kilometers on a test track five stories above the Turinese streets below. That makes it a Fiat.

This vintage Motorweek review of the 1982 X1/9 is a hoot; “…it can look a little hairy, but control of the
X1/9 is very precise.”

Described as being fresh from a decade in storage, the car reportedly benefits from a good deal of recent work, and a clean smog cert is definitely a plus. We’d toss the luggage rack, stash the Targa top, reupholster the seats as close to OEM as possible, and thoroughly exercise its full 67 hp 1.5 Liter four at every opportunity.

Here’s the seller’s description:

“This is an all-original 1979 Fiat X – 1/9 Bertone Targa Top 5-speed. Runs and drives without any issues. It just came out of a 10-year + storage period. New clutch, battery, tires & rebuilt carburetor. You can restore it as you enjoy it, recently smogged, clean title on hand, and current registration. I will only negotiate in person once you see and test drive it! Willing to trade for the same exact model older or newer but with an Automatic trans.”

Restore or drive as-is: What would you do with this 1979 Fiat X1/9?  Please comment below and let us know!

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