Crapwagon Outtake: 1981 Fiat X1/9
I like the unusual when it comes to cars — as must be quite clear from the pieces I’ve written over the last few months. However, my current fleet is quite mainstream, consisting of a Chrysler minivan, the wife’s Chevy Trailblazer, and a first-generation Miata. Perhaps that explains my wandering eye.
Over the last couple years, I’ve developed an appreciation for Fiats that is nearly inexplicable, and potentially unhealthy. I’ve even caught myself ogling Yugos in junkyards. I’ve said it before; I’m a sucker for a great exhaust note, and somehow even this single-cam four cylinder sounds amazing.
Rust, of course, is always an issue with anything built in the Seventies. This 1981 Fiat X1/9 isn’t immune, and it appears to have some of the typical surface rot in the sills. The seller claims that the paint is mostly original, so it shouldn’t be hiding anything.
He also says it’s unmolested. I hate that term.
I haven’t had the pleasure of driving one of these yet. I’m told that they aren’t as quick or as light as one would imagine as 2000 pounds is a healthy chunk of steel for 75 horses to push. I’d have to imagine that it would be quite similar to the MR2 I drove a few weeks back, though down on power. The charm of the Italian might win me over, however.
At $4,250, this car looks to be a bargain. Some relatively straightforward metalwork, a good respray, and a thorough mechanical going-over are due, but this could be quite a nice classic for under $10,000.
I wonder if I’d fit inside.
Some enthusiasts say they were born with gasoline in their veins. Chris Tonn, on the other hand, had rust flakes in his eyes nearly since birth. Living in salty Ohio and being hopelessly addicted to vintage British and Japanese steel will do that to you. His work has appeared in ebay Motors, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars, Reader's Digest, AutoGuide, Family Handyman, and Jalopnik. He's currently looking for the safety glasses he just set down somewhere.
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