A work of Italian art
On a fine sunny morning with the roof off, just 1 week after purchase, it started to overheat. Then water went everywhere. Making it carefully to the shop, it was discovered that 2 coolant pipes running underneath the car had corroded. Sadly the only way to remove the pipes was to cut them out of the underside of the car. NZ$800 later...
The cable that opened the engine cover snapped, but this was easily repaired through the 'rear boot'.
Throttle jams open every now and again.
Currently the clutch doesn't work, and I suspect it's the hydraulics that are playing up, rather than the clutch itself.
The X1/9 really impresses on a fine, warm day when you can remove the roof panel and cruise al-fresco. It stows cleverly in the front 'boot'.
But the advantage of leaving the roof on, from a handling point of view, is improved rigidity, and reduced 'scuttle shake'. Mid-engine handling is an art to master, and proves razor sharp through the turns.
The seemingly standard FIAT 1500 loves to sing, red-lining somewhere in the sky, and gathers speed quicker than you think. Yet it can be driven quietly around town as required. Count the savings as the simplicity of the engine brings pleasant bills.
However, other repairs can be very costly indeed. Some parts are difficult to find, and labour hours can run up big time.
Many X1/9's, like many other old Italian cars, suffer terrible rust. I'm fortunate to have a rust-free car.
A tragically beautiful car, styled by Marcello Gandini - a stylist at Bertone already celebrated for the Lamborghini Miura, who went on to style the Countach, Diablo, Murcielago, every Lamborghini since 1968. He also penned the Bugatti EB110, and the Citroen BX.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 11th September, 2002