Peppy Wedge: 1978 Fiat X1/9

Inexplicably, my preoccupation with Italian autos continues. Maybe it was too many episodes of Magnum PI as a kid, or maybe I just want to test my tinkering abilities…and patience!  An intriguing dilemma indeed, but one I suspect I will need to eventually fulfill. Is a Fiat the way to go?  Find this 1978 Fiat X1/9 for sale in North Berwick, ME for $3,500 via craigslist.

Originally designed by Bertone, the X1/9 was introduced in 1972 and was produced over 17 years. Fiat manufactured & marketed the car from incarnation until 1982, then Bertone took complete control over production & sales until demise in 1989.  It was noted for its lightweight and excellent handling characteristics.  Fiat diverged from its usual vehicle nomenclature scheme and kept the X1/9 prototype code as the car identifier when released to the public.  The aftermarket wheels on this model are a good fit.

All X1/9s were equipped with a 4 cylinder transverse mounted engine and manual gear box behind the driver.  This example left the factory with a carburetor equipped engine producing 61 HP mated to a 4 speed transmission.  Later models came equipped with a larger displacement engine, Bosch L-Jetronic, and a 5-speed manual making them more desirable.  A carbureted & smog equipment laden late 70’s Italian engine just begs to test your mechanical mettle.

The seller claims original ownership with 1 repaint and an interior refurbish over it’s 38 year existence.  The white interior is genuinely bold over maroon but certainly adds to the uniqueness. What else would we expect from an Italian sports car of the era?    

Speaking of bold…check out those US DOT spec “ladder style” impact absorbing bumpers!  I gotta think most of these have long since been removed/scrapped and replaced with later style slim designs.  While not the best idea Fiat had, they do help support the owners originality claim.  Most X1/9s were heavily used and the majority are now on life support.  Seems to me this is an honestly presented driver quality example.  It’s no Alfa, but maybe a good place to start?  Che ne dici di questo?

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When not receiving complaints of “distracted by cars…again” from his wife, Glenn can be found in the kitchen whipping up exotic cuisine and nourishing nosh.