Free Italian Sports Car: Fiat X1/9

Very rarely do free cars end up being a model that’s even remotely desirable, but lightning can strike every once in a while. This Fiat X1/9 is located in the California Bay Area and listed with next to no information (not surprising considering the price). These cars, despite their exotic credentials of being mid-engined and styled by Bertone, have never really risen up the food chain to be worth enough to restore or otherwise save if the project gets out of hand, so I can’t say I’m surprised to one listed with the asking price of free. Check the Fiat out in its listing here on craigslist with the seller advising you to bring a trailer and not be too picky about what you get. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Araknid78 for the find.

The X1/9 has been listed for three days on the “Free Stuff” page of craigslist, which is surprising considering listings like these are usually snatched up in a few hours. The X1/9 has clearly been parked for some time, covered in a healthy coating of dust but fortunately stored indoors. Now, that doesn’t guarantee it hasn’t begun rusting from the inside out, especially if it spent time outside with the targa top removed. When looking at the environment the Fiat is stored in, it seems like the owner is a DIYer – but that doesn’t prevent he or she from getting burned out to the point of wanting to encourage the quickest sale possible. Would any of you take this project on? Or does the X1/9’s reputation overshadow the allure of a free sports car?

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  1. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    1 Fiat + 2 pictures + 15 word description / keys?title?registration fees? = potentially $$ losing project.
    Fun cars if you enjoy working on persnickety machinery!

    Like 5
    • jay ouellette

      Put a motor in the front and a real axle in the rear and bingo! Not a single fly from Fiat to have to deal with. Oh yea, let’s not forget to brush off the dust.

  2. Rex Kahrs Member

    Free Italian Attempted Transportation…FIAT

    Like 12
    • Skorzeny

      Very few inexpensive cars handle as good as these, and they are really fun to drive. They are not the most robust cars but have better engines than most people think. Good styling too.

      Like 15
    • Bruce

      Fix It Again Tony…FIAT

      Like 8
      • DavidL Member

        Fix It All the Time…FIAT

  3. Pete

    Not a chance I’d take that, I worked for a dealer that acquired a Fiat franchise. I was sent to school for Fiat, the only thing I learned was don’t work on them unless you have to. Fiat…fix it again Tony.

  4. Steve Clinton

    “No tire kickers”…probably has no tires.
    Remember, you get what you pay for.

    Like 7
  5. Brian

    If I didn’t live on the other side of the country, I’d grab it. I’m a glutton for punishment. Plus, my first car was an X-1/9. Still my favorite car.

  6. Patrick

    It’s a Bertone version. So just the wheels and interior bits are worth plenty in that odd corner of the car world. Plus, the engine and trans are straight low end lifts from those little fwd econo boxes Fiat sold everywhere- so parts are plentiful in the drivetrain compartment.
    If that hood closes clean, and the removeable top still seals, this is totally worth the drive with trailer to Santa Rosa.

    Like 9
    • Josh

      They were all Bertone-designed, it’s just that in the US they were badged as Bertone after Fiat pulled out. This, however, appears to be an early ’74-’78 1300cc car based on the little information that we can glean from the pics. Could be wrong, but I don’t think so.

      Like 7
      • SubGothius

        All X1/9s were actually built by/at Bertone from day one, too. After Fiat pulled out of the US market and canceled the production contract, Malcolm Bricklin revived the contract to continue importing them with Bertone badging (aside from the coachbuilder’s badge that had always been there on the B-pillar vent).

        Like 5
  7. scott m

    I see some nice glass, some straight panels, the wheels look good and even have tires, fairly good trim pieces… Not a bad parts car for free!

    Like 8
    • Dave

      I restored one that I also got for free. Could never get it to not overheat

  8. angliagt angliagt Member

    FREE is good!

    Like 8
    • Steve Clinton

      There’s nothing more expensive than a free Fiat.

      Like 12
      • angliagt angliagt Member

        …….except a free Ferrari.

        Like 7
  9. ricky Whiting

    Those are not Fiat original wheels, just aftermarket that are too offset. Fiat had the handling spot on, no need to change it.

    Like 4
  10. BobinBexley Bob in Bexley Member

    Back when these were the new rage & I was young, dumb & full of disposable income I checked’ em out & at 6ft couldn’t fit in. On a lighter note had a friend have the power train come loose in one on the highway going thru WV, of course at night.

  11. Dave

    I lost money when I sold a “free” Mercedes 240d years ago.
    I swear it cost me $300 every time I walked up to the parts counter.

    Like 7
    • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

      “M B”=“More Bucks” anytime you have to work on them which seems to be all the time after you get to 40k on the odo!

      Like 2
  12. Ron

    Be a good start on a lemons racer…

    Like 6
  13. charlie Member

    They drove very well until they didn’t. Maybe 10,000 miles provided you tended them well. After that you need AAA. Fix It Again Tony. But, as a toy, view it as a sail boat. Fun, but you cannot be sure of getting home in time for supper, but, you get to meet some interesting characters who drive tow trucks for a living. Good friend had one in and we both learned a lot about what not to buy for reliable transportation. My ’56 Chevy, on the other hand, always got me home for supper, even at 14 years old.

    Like 3
    • stu

      Nothing wrong wit this car…
      I’ve have many Fiats’ and they never let me down…as to fix them, was not expensive…Parts were same price as a local car..Too far from me or I would take this car

      Like 2
  14. Rick

    I feel that it is overpriced.

    Like 8
  15. Brian Ashe

    If I lived in the area, I’d have this already. I always loved the shape, and I’d be happy to just look at it in my backyard while I slowly decided what to do with it.

    Like 2
  16. gaspumpchas

    As an estute BF reader once pointed out- there is nothing more expensive than a free car. Good for parts. Free makes the world go round! Good luck and stay safe.

    Like 2
  17. fran

    Hmmm, how about I call my hauler, (Russian kid), from one of the many haulers in the USA? Would the guy work with me? I think I will ask.

  18. woosey dude

    I’d give it a new home. Saw one running around the Florida campground back in 1976. Always thought they looked sharp and wanted one. I’ve owned several 124’s and liked them – other than the fake emission’s testing button and the intentional baffle them with BS series/paralleled relays in the ignition system. I’ve also owned the much maligned later Yugoslavian made version of the 128 known here in the US as a Yugo. A local shop got an X-19 in and I told them why they’ed screwed up a timing belt change. It wouldn’t start when they were done. They didn’t realize the timing belt also drove the distributor and screwed up the timing. I got in the car and was surprised at the lack of leg room. Definitely not built for a person with more than a 32″ inseam. I was actually disappointed that the car really would not be very comfortable to drive for long periods.

  19. John


  20. martinsane

    Id take it.

  21. ricky Whiting

    If I didn’t live in Texas, I would be there to get it in a heartbeat.

  22. Wil Owen Member

    That single OHC engine was really sweet; I had a 128 with the same one up front. I have never had the pleasure of driving an X19, but did get a delightful ride through a challenging canyon in one, and was almost interested in having a sports roadster again. I’m really sad that both cars mentioned were so vulnerable to rust, and to simple neglect; I tried to find another 128 for years, and never quite got there.

    Had I the time, inclination and money it will take to revive this it could very well be worth the trouble to get it flat-bedded down here. Right now it’s all of those things I’m short on.

  23. Kenn

    Wish I wasn’t in Michigan, and didn’t have the time to make the round trip. Lots to start with at the price, it seems to me. Years ago I built a sports car from plans – ie:, not a kit – so to bring this to usable is not an overwhelming challenge.

  24. MGSteve

    Most expensive car in the world? A free car.

    • charlie Member

      In 1965 a girlfriend’s father who liked me more than I liked his daughter, it turned out, tried to give me a ’56 Hudson (a rebadged Nash) which was ponderous, two shades of green, and white, and in great condition. But I had a ’56 Chevy (the ugliest body, a regular 4 door sedan, but incredibly reliable) and did not need another car. The daughter and I went our separate ways and the Hudson was gone from his driveway a few months later. If I had taken the car, I probably would have had to take the daughter as well. And that would have been expensive – Daddy had given her the best of everything.

  25. Neil A

    Failure Is A Tradition Owned ’74 Fiat…pulled into service station….fill up the oil and check the gas. It leaked oil after 5,000 miles….had to replace head gasket. Paint began fading after 2 years. By far the worst car I ever owned!!!! (early 80’s cutlass ciera, buick century, first generation chrysler mini-van to name a few)

  26. Jeff

    I owned a few of the x19’s and they are great little sports cars. Until you drive one you’ll never know but its powerful, handles great and low maintenance. Parts are cheap and check out all the extra metal bracing in the doors and hood. Unfortunately it took fiat a long time to get back into the USA market but what a way, just buy an American big car company.

  27. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    5 days later and still available…..

  28. Bud

    I had a 1978 X 1/9 with about 40000 miles and endless electrical problems that I got for free. I worked on it off and on for several years. It was a fun car to drive and actually ran pretty good when it ran, but whoever anointed Lucas as the King of Darkness obviously never owned a Fiat! I have never in my life seen so many relays in so many places intended to do god only knows what!

    Still, if I had a way to get to this one, I might take it for free. The only thing that came close to the fun I had driving a car this size was a 914…….

  29. Araknid78

    Looks like a pretty good deal if you have a way to pick it up. Even if you can’t get it running or if there’s too much rust, you can always part it out and make some good money doing so.

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