The Fiat X1/9 is one of those cars I’ve always been fascinated with since having a Corgi model of one as a child. And as a classic 1970s mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive Italian sports car, I’m still fascinated decades later. So obviously when one pops up on eBay, I get tempted.
This 1981 brown Fiat X1/9 is a one owner car with a genuine claimed mileage and 25 years in a dry garage due to a gearbox problem. That means it racked up 94,793 miles in around 9 years, but now needs plenty of restoration including welding, getting the engine running, and presumably finding the original gearbox issue.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that having just been listed, the price is low at £50, and worth watching. Mainly because you could end up with a car that features great handling (for the time), light weight (under 1000kg), a removable hard top, and looks which are still cool today. Including a pretty stylish and racy interior.
You get something that predates the Mazda MX-5 and Toyota MR2 for less money than you might think, as the Fiat X1/9 has a relatively small classic following. Add the engineering complexity and a reputation for being a car for looks rather than performance at the time, and it’s something to consider.
This 1981 model means it has a 85hp 1.5 litre engine (fitted from 1978 onwards), with a 10.5 second time for 0-60mph and a top speed of 108mph. Not particularly quick, but rewarding when you can keep the pace on. Fiat produced the X1/9 from 1972-1982, and Bertone then took it on until the model ended in 1989.
You probably won’t be particularly comfortable if you’re tall or sizeable – it’s a car made from the small of stature. But prices are relatively small as well – good examples can be the same as a secondhand family saloon, and there are plenty of chances to gamble on something cheaper, like this 1981 Fiat X1/9 example. If you’ve got the time and the garage space, it’s probably worth a punt…