Today’s episode of #OLDCARSHOOTERS will tell you the story of the FIAT X1/9 from 1981. We have the chance to get to know this compact targa car, very well known in the hill climbs, at the Villa Rospigliosi in Prato.
This car has been the result of lots of technical and managerial meetings. In the first moments FIAT decided not to develop this car, preferring to that the A112, cheaper and suitable to face the competition (the Innocenti Mini Cooper on all). In 1971, Gianni Agnelli’s visit to the Grugliasco factory, where the prototype was stored, has been decisive: Agnelli decided that that one was the most suitable car to replace the dated 850 Spider. Introduced in 1971, the Fiat X1/9 is characterized by the adoption of independent wheel suspensions, a four-disc braking system and a centrally positioned transverse engine, whose power is transmitted to the rear wheels.
The salient feature of the car is the removable roof, which can be inserted into the front bonnet. The car born immediately with the idea of positioning the engine centrally. This proved to be an important advantage in terms of dynamics. The engine of this Fiat X1/9 is an 1.5 aspirated 4 cylinder engine capable of delivering 85 hp. This engine turns out to be an evolution, thanks to the installation of a 5-speed gearbox and increased displacement, previously in fact this car was equipped with 1.3L delivering 75 hp.
The peculiarities do not end here! Observing it, in fact, you can immediately notice the adoption of massive aluminium bumpers, typically found in European cars also sold in the United States. Another interesting aspect of the Fiat X1/9 is the chassis, inspired by the Lancia Stratos. This important feature allowed her to be present in the world of competitions. An example of cars derived from the Fiat X1/9 is the Dallara Icsunonove, a Silhouette Group 5 designed by Giampaolo Dallara between 1973 and 1978, which initially fitted a 1.3L engine delivering 192 hp and then go to a 1.6L of over 200 hp.
Let’s return back to Prato, focusing on Andrea’s Fiat X1/9 and discovering how he became the owner. Andrea discovered the passion for engines on a fresh Sunday morning in 1983, when he and his group of friends went with their own Piaggio Vespas to go and see a test of the “Rally dell Zoccolo” in near Lucca. Until its suspension, the “Rally dello Zoccolo” will become an unmissable event for Andrea every year. In 1985 he began to buy specialized Italian magazines such as Automobilismo or Quattroruote.
Right there he discovered an article on the Fiat X1/9: the low power in relation to the brilliantly made frame was one of the most highlighted aspects of the article. This did not prevent Andrea from falling in love with this compact targa, dreaming of having one one day. In 2005, the dream becomes reality. The cousin Sandro found on eBay a Fiat X1/9 for sale.
Without any hesitation arrive the purchase. Andrea quickly realizes that his Fiat X1/9 has obvious signs of rust hidden by the previous owner. Restoration was a must. Then the front doors and the front fenders are replaced, the bumpers are polished and painted with transparent. Even the interiors are renewed with the use of Alcantara. Andrea, in the restoration of his Fiat X1/9, decides to give his beloved a personal touch.
In 2007 he finished the work on the car and left for some gathering, enrolling in the meantime at the Fiat Club X1/9 Italia. After the restoration and some personalization, Andrea decides that his Fiat X1/9 will not remain in the garage very often. In fact, he frequently attends regular competitions. Four years of competitions that have seen him protagonist in more than one occasion in Tuscany and surroundings. In fact, he attended also at the Italian Championship of Regularity. During each race disputed by Andrea his Fiat X1/9 proved to be very reliable: no withdrawal and no poor performance. At the end of 2015 Andrea decides to withdraw from the races while keeping intact his passion for engines and his love for his Fiat X1/9.
He changed the seats from the comfortable Alcantara to the original leather. The rest of the interior will be back to the original too, because Andrea believes that the Alcantara is not suited to an open car. In this wonderful sunset at the end of summer we are facing an historic car that deserves the attention of our cameras. In every word spoke from Andrea we clearly notice his satisfaction in being owner of a Fiat X1/9. This is another beautiful love story, just like the ones we love to tell you.
Article: Riccardo Casini
Pictures: Edoardo Mascalchi