Junkyard Find: 1978 Fiat X1/9

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1978 fiat x1 9

For decades now, the Fiat 124 Sport Spider has been a regular sight in American self-service wrecking yards. The mid-engined Fiat X1/9, based on a healthy serving of Fiat 128 components, has been a bit less commonplace in such yards, but I still see them every now and then. We’ve seen this ’80 and this ’86 so far in this series, and today we’re adding a brightly colored ’78 to the collection.

The X1/9 is one of those cars that manages to rust anywhere. These cars will rust in Los Angeles, they’ll rust in Phoenix, and they rust very nicely in Denver (which is where I found this one). Every time I see one of these side scoops, I’m reminded of the X1/9 scoops I installed in the hood of my ’65 Impala.

This car is a beyond-sane-hope-of-repair basket case, but it still has quite a few useful parts. Some of you may recognize this car as the neighbor of the ’93 Honda del Sol we saw last week.

I’ve driven a fair number of miles in X1/9s, and they’re much more fun than the 65-horsepower engine rating would suggest.

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  • GeneralMalaise GeneralMalaise on Jul 31, 2013

    If you live in SoCal, visit the Best of France and Italy car show held the first Sunday in November at Woodley Park in Van Nuys. A lot of great Italian and French cars and always a large contingent of beautifully maintained X1/9's. One fellow always brings his new condition (I do mean NEW), green 1974 X that still has the sales window sticker on it.

  • Lon888 Lon888 on Aug 01, 2013

    I still miss my '79 X1/9. The only thing that went out on the car was one inner CV joint. The alternator was a weak 35 amp model but JC Whitney sold a 60 amp retrofit fit and thus made it possible to run the wipers, lights, turn signals and heater all at the same time!

    • 3Deuce27 3Deuce27 on Aug 01, 2013

      Reg; "one inner CV joint." That is why the outer boots and inner Axle/Boot/Seals had to be watched and maintained. Yoo drove yours at night in the rain? Col! Never had any issues with alternator in the 74' until I hung a Pioneer 'Super Tuner' under the dash, so I put a Marelli 45 amp alternator in, the optional replacement at the time. The 86' never had a problem with enough juice. The 86' had FI and a 5-speed, but little increase in real performance. Bertone did make a lot of little detail changes by 86'. Correction> My 74' was Yellow, the 86' Red. The 74' X1/9 and the Europa, were the only non-Red sportscars I have ever owned, forgot that in another post. They would have been red if any had been available.

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