1987 Bertone/Fiat X1/9.
The replacement for the tiny but beautiful Fiat 850 Spider began production
in 1972. Spurred by the entry of the mid engine VW/Porsche 914, Fiat took
the engine and drive train of the Fiat 128 sedan mounted it mid ship and
created an affordable and fun Targa top great handling light weight sports
Based on a show car concept of the Autobianchi Runabout. Designed by
Marcello Gandini of Bertone and was shown at the 1969 Turin Motor Show. The
car featured a mid-mounted Fiat 128 engine and gearbox. The wedge shape
design took many styling cues from contemporary power-boat designs. And the
distinctive head lamps were mounted on the roll over bar. The prototype was
a serious proposal at the time and became the bases of the Fiat X1/9.
Designed from the onset with US future safety rules in mind the car was an
instant success in spite of Fiat's spotty reliability record. Priced right
and economical to operate some 140,000 were built by Fiat and the last
20,000 by Bertone.
US Sales of X1/9s
The X1/9 underwent three generations in the USA: 1974 cars, 1975-78 cars,
and 1979-87 cars.
1974 USA examples aligned closely with worldwide models, including small
bumpers, 1290cc engine, and 4-speed transmission.
1975-78 USA cars were unique to the US market with "ladder-style" impact
absorbing bumpers front and rear. To meet USA evaporative and Exhaust emission standards, X1/9's were fitted
with Exhaust gas recirculation valves,
air pumps and an activated charcoal system. These cars were rated at 63HP.
In 1979 USA cars received an increase in displacement to 1498cc and a
5-speed transmission. 1979 USA cars retained the previous emission
controls. Model years 1980 and 1981 saw a transition from carburetion to
Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection, with the changeover coming in 1980 for
cars sold in California and a gradual changeover for "federal" cars from
late 1980 to 1981 model years. The combination of Fuel Injection (FI), a
catalytic converter and unleaded gasoline allowed these cars to meet
California and later federal emission standards. FI cars were rated at
In 1979 USA X1/9s also received both exterior and interior revisions
including integrated bumpers front and rear, as well as a new front grille
and airdam. The instrument panel and dash redesign moved the heating and
ventilation controls from the center console up to the main dash, relocated
the radio into the center dash area, moved the fuse panel from the area
above the driver's left knee to the area above the passenger's footwell
where the glovebox was, and moved the glovebox atop the dash.
During 1982, Fiat ended its presence in the USA. Fiat turned over marketing
and support of the X1/9 to International Automobile Importers, Inc., headed
up by Malcolm Bricklin, and turned over full production duties to Bertone.
1983 was a transition year for the orphaned X1/9, which thereafter was sold
as the "Bertone X1/9." IAI and Bertone continued to update the X1/9, such
as providing rust protection, revised seating to accommodate taller
drivers, and a modernized electrical system for 1984 models.
US sales of the X1/9 took a nose dive in the final few years, and 1987 was
the last year that IAI imported X1/9s to the USA.
FIAT BERTONE X 1/9 PUBLICITE
Petits films publicitaires realisés en 1982 /1985 sur la Bertone x 1/9
destinés aux concessionnaires et agents Fiat.
Documents rassemblés par Xavier Clenet CLUB X 1/9 FRANCE