Junkyard Find: 1980 Fiat X1/9

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1980 fiat x1 9

In 1980, Fiat shoppers had the choice of two affordable sports cars: the 124 Sport Spider (examples of which remain quite common in wrecking yards, and the X1/9. The mid-engined X1/9 featured 128 running gear and was a lot more fun to drive than its 66-horsepower (for US-market models in 1980) engine would suggest.

The message of this TV ad seems to suggest that Fiat learned everything it needed to know about building cars from its successful racing cars of the 1920s, and the claim that the X1/9 gets the best mileage of any two-seat sports car in America doesn’t sound so compelling when you consider the competition.

The X1/9 was once reasonably plentiful on American roads, but most examples disappeared before the turn of the century. You will see the occasional X1/9 in self-service junkyards these days, but not in anywhere near the numbers of the Sport Spider.

It looks like somebody started to work on the body of this car, then gave up.

Is this an air-conditioning compressor? I’m sure the owner’s manual advised drivers to use AC only on long downhill grades.

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  • MadHungarian MadHungarian on Jun 23, 2012

    "Five-speed transmission for performance." Uhhh, all the gears in the world won't transmit more power than the engine is putting out! Gotta love advertising.

  • Zeus01 Zeus01 on Nov 30, 2013

    I helped a friend shop for one in Vancouver in 1985. Found a red '74 with no rust advertised for $1700. Went to look at it, test drove it and my friend settled with the seller at $1600. He paid a $100 deposit and then hustled off to the bank to withdraw the remaining $1500 (we really weren't expecting to actually BUY the car, but changed our minds after driving it) while I stayed at the curb with the seller and another buddy with us who was along for the ride (in my car, not the Fiat). As we waited, a middle aged guy who smelled like a used car dealer drove up, only to find the car was in the process of disappearing right under his nose. He asked the seller what price he had let the car go for, as if that mattered by now, and the seller told him. With not even the slightest degree of class or sense of fairness the salesman swore and then blurted out "I'll give ya $1800 right here, right now!" The seller declined, saying he'd already made a deal. Salesman stomps back to his car, slams the door and, as he's buckling in his rather impressive girth my other buddy sauntered up to his window and said "Hey, when Kevin gets back I'll ask him if you'll go to $2000 after he buys it." Even the seller laughed. Salesman didn't though. He practically screamed "F*** you!" and screeched out of there. Not sure if he heard my buddy reply "I'll take a rain check - when you're lucky and I'm desperate!" but I'd like to think he did. The car only had one issue before Kevin sold it a year later (classic case of getting married, needed money), but it was not an insignificant snag. Timing belt let go, taking a couple valves with it. $650 was a lot more money in 1985 than it is now.

  • GrumpyOldMan Lost me at the last word of the second paragraph.
  • Bobbysirhan I suppose this explains why almost everything that makes a GM product function has been Chinese for several years now.
  • Kevin 35 grand if a 2 door but not a 4 door!
  • Kevin 35 grand USD for a 57 wagon that still needs lots of work such as spindles body work and what ever else maybe 25 but 35 no thanks I'll stick with what I have. Floor pans replaced and whatever else my 68 chevelle I paid $4800.00 USD 20 years ago and is all original.
  • FreedMike Needs a few more HP to really spice things up...