Fiat X1/9 Reviews from Australia and New Zealand

1978 Fiat X1/9 1.3

Model year1978
Year of manufacture1978
First year of ownership2004
Most recent year of ownership2006
Engine and transmission 1.3 Manual
Performance marks 4 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.8 / 10
Previous carHyundai Santa Fe

Summary:

The best fun machine ever designed

Faults:

Carburettor problems with intermittent flat spot - seems OK now.

Heating problems - replaced thermostat.

General Comments:

I have wanted an X19 from when I first saw one in 1978. (I had a 124 then) This is without doubt the best handling car I have ever driven. It could certainly use an extra gear or more power. For the price I paid for this car there is nothing that comes close to its cornering ability.

I'm thinking about putting a Lancia Beta motor and gearbox in it. Any comments?

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 14th June, 2006

1977 Fiat X1/9 Standard 1.3 carburettor

Year of manufacture1977
First year of ownership2001
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 1.3 carburettor Manual
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
9.0 / 10
Distance when acquired200000 kilometres
Most recent distance250000 kilometres
Previous carFiat 124

Summary:

A high performance BARGAIN!

Faults:

Uh oh, where do I start?

Radiator pipes underneath rusted away. Replaced with stainless steel exhaust pipes. $300.

Water pump outer seal died. $70.

Shocks all died - red koni's and some lowered springs went in.

Head gasket eventually died - a result of it being boiled about 20 times due to lack of fluid from various leaks (pipes, water pump), and having looser than normal head bolts/studs.

Plastic roof screw threads snapped, rendering roof clips rather loose, and therefore the roof shakes rattles and rolls.

Front left wheel bearing noisy (not overly).

Exhaust flange tends to come loose (ground out old thread on flange clamp, and replaced with larger thread and bigger nuts).

Ignition barrel died, had a temporary 'started switch cable'. Got barrel from wreckers and had a key made for it.

Various electrical problems (resulted from too many owners, lacklustre care and radio installation and half assed removal.) - interior light stopped working, lights go on and off (bad connection). Very low visibility gauges (yellowed plastic, bad globes/positioning).

General Comments:

In spite of its problems, a fantastic little car, handled so well, so tight and sticks to the road like s*!t to a blanket.

Handling problems can occur with worn rear ball joints. See www.fiatlancia.asn.au for a good example fix.

Problems with the car can be overcome by a dedicated owner - my car wasn't a pristine example to begin with, so I'm not complaining.

The 1300 is underpowered considering its fantastically rigid body and excellent weight placement.

Easy access to engine and internals, despite the mid-engine layout. Sure it's not 'conventional', but once you've had a look, you'll realise it's easy to service.

Some fiddly/homemade tools required to remove head studs/bolts.

Large amount of luggage space with front and rear boots (makes my new MX5 look a bit useless in this department).

The low prices asked for these cars is caused by the market's ignorance towards older vehicles. If you're looking for a good weekend car or even a cheap daily driver, and if you find a properly maintained one, GRAB IT!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th March, 2003

1979 Fiat X1/9 Bertone 1.3L

Year of manufacture1979
First year of ownership2000
Most recent year of ownership2002
Engine and transmission 1.3L Manual
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.5 / 10
Distance when acquired180000 miles
Most recent distance190000 miles
Previous carHolden Commodore

Summary:

Superb piece of automotive design which is a joy to own

Faults:

To those who have a passion for these cars, practically nothing. To those who expect a faultless run, the following.

Brakes were totally overhauled, and are still at best mediocre in their ability to haul the car to a stop and suffer from terrible break fade.

Changing gear is an acquired art via the heavy and very grumpy 4-speed gearbox. Gearbox overhauled when I lost third gear. Reverse is always weak and jumps out. Never put yourself in a situation where you need to reverse up a steep incline in one of these vehicles.

Heater has never worked, and is a nightmare to fix, so I haven't bothered, the controls are cable operated and seize up, I still have use of the window de-mister though.

The steering lock is pathetic, as is the turning circle making the car a pain to maneuver in tight spaces despite it's tiny size.

Rust. I am blessed with very minor rust problems on my example, however, expect to give this matter constant attention should you ever own one of these cars.

General Comments:

The engine is unburstable. It is underpowered in 1.3L form, but ring it's neck and it's huge fun. But the joy of this car comes from handling which is quite honestly sensational.

It is a perfectly balanced small car in which you can corner at insane speeds with total confidence. In addition to this it has a very comfortable ride, far better than that of my mothers Mazda MX5.

The cabin is surprisingly comfortable, top off, the wind intrusion is minimal. And storage space is outstanding for an open top sports car with two boots, one fore and one aft.

The styling in my eyes is masterful, with beautiful taut angular pinnfarina design worthy of a Ferrari. People love to ask me about the car and it really turns heads.

This is genius piece of automotive design which never got the kudos it deserved.

I love my X/19, and forgive it for its faults.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th September, 2002

5th Dec 2002, 05:31

Pf? don't you mean bertone?

19th Jan 2003, 19:17

Sorry, yes I do mean Bertone, I sometimes get that confused as the last roadster I owned was coachwork by PF, I stand corrected :)

Average review marks: 7.0 / 10, based on 7 reviews