1987 Fiat X1/9 Reviews

1987 Fiat X1/9 1.5 from North America

Model year1987
Year of manufacture1987
First year of ownership2009
Most recent year of ownership2009
Engine and transmission 1.5 Manual
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
9.0 / 10
Distance when acquired87800 miles
Most recent distance87900 miles
Previous carPlymouth Satellite

Summary:

Totally awesome and fun!

Faults:

Well, we bought it not running, even though the previous owner laid out a few problems (the fuel and water pumps were bad. Some rust around the windshield, i.e. the usual problems of X1/9's). This will be the third one I have owned, one being a 1981, another a 1987, so I was well acquainted with the problems of these cars.

To be sure, buying a not running X1/9 was probably very stupid (I warned others against this sort of thing but...) but I wanted one again, and so I drove about 300 miles and purchased this one.

It had a lot of rust around the windshield, and I have since purchased a whole new frame. The radiator bleed screw was ripped out and epoxied in place. The belts were all destroyed and the tank had massive quantities of rust in it. The injectors were clogged an the clutch master and slave cylinders in poor shape. There were more little problems, mostly due from neglect, very poor mechanics, and just plain age and sitting.

On the plus side, the body itself was virtually rust free, and the other mechanicals excellent.

General Comments:

I listed the bad. Luckily most of the problems were bolt on replacements and really didn't cost too much to fix as I am a mechanic by trade. Just time.

I always replace all of the hoses and belts on the cars I buy, so I did the same on this machine. Luckily the transmission is nearly perfect along with the suspension. After replacing most of the items I listed in the above section, I have been running it all over the place when I can't pry my wife out of the driver's seat. I only really get it when I need to upgrade something.

I have noticed that it seems smaller and lower than I remember (I am a lot older too), but it is still comfortable and it handles like it was on rails even without factory anti-sway bars.

My wife loves the ride and states that it is not harsh like she expected for a short wheelbase sports car. Tracks very straight and brakes well, even though the master is about to be replaced for a little sponginess.

The injectors unclogged on their own, and it is running very, very well. In fact, I don't even care about the money I have already spent or I am about to spend. This thing rocks!!! I feel like it is twenty+ years ago after I got the first one. Free revs to 7000 rpm at will. With a free flow air filter and exhaust, it is a blast to drive. The intake and exhaust notes are marvelous.

My last one got 35MPG. Don't know about this one as the gas sender is bad, and I just put in about 3 to 4 gallons of gas every time I drive about 100 miles. I smile all of the time while I am driving this thing, and virtually every time I take it out, I get massive amounts of attention and offers to buy it. Even a bad day is a good day when I'm driving this car.

I just bought an Alfa Romeo Spider so I can let my wife drive it, so I can get this one back.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th December, 2009

1987 Fiat X1/9 VS 1.5 from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1987
First year of ownership2002
Most recent year of ownership2002
Engine and transmission 1.5 Manual
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 5 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.0 / 10
Distance when acquired0 miles
Most recent distance0 miles
Previous carJaguar XJ40

Summary:

A triumph of Italian design (though not rustproofing techniques...)

Faults:

Not a lot really, which I found quite surprising. Mostly rust problems as you would expect.

Drivers door a little hard to close.

General fit of windows, panels, etc.

3rd gear synchromesh weak (have to double declutch, it's cheaper than a rebuild!)

Minor electrical faults, i.e. sidelights not working, speedo not working, etc.

General Comments:

If you are going to buy one of these, the danger areas are the front suspension struts (accessible from inside the front luggage compartment), rear suspension struts (inside the engine compartment), the doors (as they are expensive to replace) and the rear arches (can be patched up fairly cheaply).

The main thing is to get a car with as little rust as possible, the mechanicals are fairly cheap to replace but the bodywork will cost you dearly. For example, brake discs are £12 each, but a rear wing (secondhand) is £150+, doors £100+, so be careful.

If the synchromesh is faulty (crunches when engaging gears at speed), you'll need a new box or a rebuild - an unfitted second hand box is about £150 and a rebuild is about £400 so beware!

To drive, these are a lot of fun and certainly get you noticed!

They may not be a ball of fire, but you can make easy and cheap modifications such as a performance exhaust, engine breather, performance air filter, etc.

If you crave extra performance, you can fit an Uno turbo engine fairly easily, and others have gone further including at least one person who has fitted a 3.0 V6 Alfa engine!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th January, 2002

1987 Fiat X1/9 Bertone 1.5 from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1987
First year of ownership1999
Most recent year of ownership2000
Engine and transmission 1.5 Manual
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Dealer Service marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.4 / 10
Distance when acquired67000 miles
Most recent distance73000 miles
Previous carFiat Uno

Summary:

A baby Ferrari, need I say more

Faults:

New battery improved the electrics at the time of purchase. Had to replace the exhaust and steering rack gaiter.

A couple of surface rust patches around the wheel arches.

General Comments:

An excellent mid engined car, fun handling and good braking. Can be a handful in the wet due to the rear weight and poor windscreen wipers.

Very strong construction to meet US crash regulations !

Excellent light steering with amazing feel. Spares are easy to source from specialists and private breakers.

Economy is between 28 and 40 mpg (due to the weight of the car) and top speed is roughly 110 mph.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd July, 2000

Average review marks: 7.8 / 10, based on 3 reviews