I remember as a little kid when Fiat X1/9's were seemingly everywhere. I thought they were the coolest car because they didn’t look like anything else, and they were small. I felt like I could drive one. I’m a lot bigger now, but I still love these things. They’ve unfortunately mostly disappeared here in the States, though.

FIAT, of course, stands for Fix It Again Tony. Haha, just kidding. It’s Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino. But, “Fix It Again Tony” was such a good joke, that’s how people ended up thinking of Fiats. And, they were finicky if not well maintained. They were also cheap, so folks didn’t bother repairing them and many a non-running X1/9 was left to rot to spite poor Tony the Fiat mechanic.

The X1/9 started as a Bertone concept, the Autobianchi Runabout, and Jobjoris did a nice post on another Corgi I sent him of that car.

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It sold so well because it was the best handling inexpensive sports car of its day. And, Bertone liked it so much, they kept producing it themselves for 7 years after Fiat gave up on it in 1982. That gave the car a 17 year lifespan practically unchanged, which just goes to show how ahead of its time the little wedge was.

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This 1:36 Corgi is from 1980 and I’ve had it all that time. I can remember my dad bringing it back from a trip to Europe for me. In the 4th grade, I did an oral report on Fiat and this car came to school with me. I’m not sure when I customized the roof number.

This cast had been around a long time, and this rally guise is its final configuration. It shows its mid-mounted Fiat 128 4-cylinder in brilliant chrome.

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Seems accurate to me. One thing that’s always amused and confused me is the tow hitch.

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I’ve never seen a rally with the cars towing something. If there is such a race, let me know because that sounds great. There was an Abarth X1/9 Prototipo rally car from 1973 that had this weird intake thing on it, but I don’t think it was meant for towing.

That car does sport sweet Campagnolos like the Corgi, though.

Room for 4 to 6 “husky” adults. Hoffman knew how to sell to Americans even then.
Graphic: Road & Track

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I love that Fiat is back in America. We need quirky, affordable European cars here. I don’t know how many people are on my side on that, but I hope they find a way to stick around.

I’m not sure how many 500X’s are needed to sell to keep them profitable here, but hopefully they’re moving enough.

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Maybe they can come up with a modern X1/9. We could use another mid-engined sports car for the masses. It might find more buyers than the new 124 which I rarely see in the wild. Or, just bring us the regular Panda.

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Ciao and happy Engine Week!