1977 Fiat X1/9 Reviews

1977 Fiat X1/9 1.3 Mid Engine from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1977
First year of ownership1981
Most recent year of ownership1983
Engine and transmission 1.3 Mid Engine Manual
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.5 / 10
Distance when acquired56000 kilometres
Most recent distance80000 kilometres

Summary:

Fiat's real fun sports car with rust built in!

Faults:

Rust!!! Even when 6 years old the car had to have large plates welded in both footwells, a year later the plates had to be replaced with bigger plates as the original bodywork around the edges had rusted through again!

Cam belt snapped, luckily this happened when the engine was ticking over one morning, so didn't have to replace any pistons/valves (phew)

Rust!!!

Strange intermittent engine cut outs, replaced everything on the ignition, but turned out to be a float chamber problem in the carb (the car ran much better with all new ignition, so was not a waste of money.

Rust!!!

Generally things fell off a lot, bits of plastic, metal and switches etc.

Rust!!!

General Comments:

I'm a Brit, but this car was bought in Germany, where I lived at the time, it was LHD and a luminous green colour; which I tried to respray blue, to my horror the the original paint and the celulose paint I used reacted badly and had thousands of tiny bubbles in it. I rubbed it down and got it resprayed Ferrari Red, by a professional, what a difference that made.

On the road it cornered like it was on rails, the little 1300 engine would rev to 7000 rpm and it's 5 speed box was a joy to use, not quite the "Little Ferrari" but if you were racing on winding roads the other car would have to be a Ferrari to outdo the cornering, so it was really fun to drive.

The Interior was a real style statement, very small, but stylish, the removable roof would fit on top of the front luggage compartment and it even had a small boot.

The Bertone styling and Targa Top made this a proper sports car despite the low cost. I reckon this was the last of the breed of affordable sports cars from Europe, Hot Hatchbacks took away most of the market for these and the MR2 did for it completely.

I was going to try the Fiat 1900S engine conversion, as there were plenty of these in a dutch breakers yard, but I had to move back to blighty and didn't have the time!

I had a 1500 RHD X1/9 in the UK after this, but it really did fall to bits and I got rid of it before it cost me too much! I then bought a TR7 and loved it!

If you get a good one of these and can spend the time looking after it, you will have nothing, but fun and it will turn heads. It's probably getting to be rare nowadays I should think!

Oh and one last thing to note.. RUST!!!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th March, 2004

1977 Fiat X1/9 Standard 1.3 carburettor from Australia and New Zealand

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

Average review marks: 8.3 / 10, based on 2 reviews