Dreaming of the Coast: 1985 Fiat X1/9

This may be a highly personal opinion, but when I see forlorn cars in California, I can’t help but wonder if they once tore up the Pacific Coast Highway or visited the towering redwoods. To see this little Fiat X1/9 sitting under a tarp and up to its wheels in undergrowth makes me wish to do silly things, like pull it from its resting place to see the coast once more. Find it here on craigslist for a mere $600. 

Those old-school California license plates – along with the leaves, sticks, and dirt – tell you this Fiat has been sitting a while. Did its previous owner get tired of the “Fix It Again, Tony” jokes from his meddling friends? Or this being California, did an owner simply see another targa-bodied coupe to spend his time on the curving backroads in? Whatever the cause, the sunburnt paint likely wasn’t acquired doing anything fun.

Or, could an unfortunate fender-bender have taken this fuel-injected X1/9 off of the PCH and into a messy backyard near Sacramento? The dent beneath where a tail light once resided could indicate some lift-off oversteer snapped the mid-engined coupe the wrong way, with possibly just a glancing blow off of a lamp post or highway median doing its worst to the Italian’s sensitive sheet metal.

Image courtesy of Pinterest

Fiat may feel like nothing moves you like its sportscar lineup, but nothing moves quite as slowly as a Fiat that’s been laid up for years under a tarp. There are better choices out there, yes – but this one could likely be haggled down to $400, and if the rust isn’t too bad, doesn’t it deserve a tail lamp and another shot at driving glory? If nothing else, a final fling on a LeMons course seems more than fitting for one the “10 best cars of the eighties.”

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Comments

  1. Chuck

    Good Lord, can’t even pull the tarp off?

    • Rx7turboII

      Worse….. Couldn’t even pull the 2 large pieces of wood off! Lol

      • JMB#7

        Worse…. doesn’t even know how to properly tie the tarp on.

  2. Steve R

    It’s a parts car, at best. The next time it sees the coast it will be on a ship hauling scrap metal to China.

    The cost of safety equipment to make it or any other car legal for a Lemons racing is cost prohibitive. That series has been around long enough that it makes more sense to buy a finished car than to build one.

    Steve R

  3. VictorAnderson

    I’ve had 14 of these things – gotta love the X1/9’s. Anyway – guy wants $600 for it… and he has no title for the car. Two options for this one — a parts car (and it would probably make a good parts car) – or turn it into a race car. If there is any real rust issues the 2nd option is out. But hey for 600 bucks there are a lot of good parts left. Few good body panels, the glass, the top, and the wheels make it worth the money for parts – plus if the engine and/or transmission are good then it’s really worth it.

  4. Whippeteer

    What tarp?

  5. Larry Q

    Looks like a couple pieces of plywood on it??!! I would give $400 to keep it out of the crusher

  6. Pat A

    One of my favorite moments in “King of the Hill” is when the guys are watching Luanne work on Hank’s pickup Dale Gribble pipes up and says “Ya know what Ford stands for don’t ya? Fix It Again Tony, heh heh heh”.

  7. Maestro1

    For $400.00 if you have a use for the parts on the car jump on it.

  8. Harry Kritis Member

    I paid more money to restore an ’81 X that needed a front left panel, left light, motor, its top aluminum, the vent grills near the front window. Front windshield alone was 200€.

  9. John

    It looks so sad. I wish somebody would fix it. These were useless, but so cute and fun to drive. And by 1985, reliability was tolerable — except for the rust. They didn’t rust, they simply dissolved. But this one was a cutie once. Please someone, please buy it.

    • Doc

      The pre-1982 Fiat branded cars had simply awful rust issues. The 83+ Bertone badged cars had much better rust resistance.

      When I acquired mine back in 99, it had been out in the elements year-round as a daily driver. The rear valance was rusted at each wheel, from the road salt when it was driven during the winter. I repaired that. The car was otherwise totally rust free.

  10. BOP Guy Member

    It’s located about 10 minuets away. I had an 85 Bertone X1/9, and it was a blast to drive! Yeah, the reliability issues had been ironed out by this time. And Bertone (who built these, not Fiat) had added extra legroom, a/c standard, and power windows, along with leather or leather & cloth seats. Maybe I’m imagining things, but the badge on the trunk is from an older model. And the top is black, where Bertone painted them to match the car. Without enough pictures, can’t tell what year this is. I’d love to buy another one, but I’d get one that’s all original, or professionally restored. Such a shame.

  11. Marauder

    Great cars, just remember to change the rubber timing belt. Please don’t ask me how I know.

  12. Justinna

    This is the first page that I can find any prices being thrown around on. Can someone tell me more about what these are worth? Trying to sell one for my brother.

    • Doc

      Condition, condition, condition. Your question is impossible to answer without knowing a lot more.

      There’s a small but enthusiastic following for these cars. If it’s rust free, running, and inspected, it might be $3,000-$5,000. A really nice rust free example, well sorted, with rare options, nice paint, and a stash of NOS parts Might be $8,000- $10,000.

      About 10 years ago, two brand new, late (1987) examples were found. They sold for around $12,000.

      It’s a lot of bang for the buck, but they just aren’t worth that much. In part because you aren’t likely to find a mechanic who can work on these, so you’ll have to do the repair work yourself.

      • Justinna

        Thank you for your insight!

        This is a 1980 in rough shape. Paint fading, small amount of rust, and torn drivers seat.

        Mechanically okay though. It turns on and drives, but who knows for how long.

    • Doc

      The earlier carbureted cars are less desirable. The later cars by Bertone are better build quality, and have a more powerful fuel injected engine.

      I suggest you take a bunch of pictures, register for the X1/9 forum, post the car there and ask opinions on the value.

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