Big things with little cars
Big things with little cars
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Quattro Vasi Nel Mezzo: Corgi Fiat X1/9 - Engine Week Day 1

Illustration for article titled Quattro Vasi Nel Mezzo: Corgi Fiat X1/9 - Engine Week Day 1

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.

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Illustration for article titled Quattro Vasi Nel Mezzo: Corgi Fiat X1/9 - Engine Week Day 1

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.

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Illustration for article titled Quattro Vasi Nel Mezzo: Corgi Fiat X1/9 - Engine Week Day 1

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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Illustration for article titled Quattro Vasi Nel Mezzo: Corgi Fiat X1/9 - Engine Week Day 1

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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Illustration for article titled Quattro Vasi Nel Mezzo: Corgi Fiat X1/9 - Engine Week Day 1

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.

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Illustration for article titled Quattro Vasi Nel Mezzo: Corgi Fiat X1/9 - Engine Week Day 1

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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Illustration for article titled Quattro Vasi Nel Mezzo: Corgi Fiat X1/9 - Engine Week Day 1

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

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Illustration for article titled Quattro Vasi Nel Mezzo: Corgi Fiat X1/9 - Engine Week Day 1

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.

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Illustration for article titled Quattro Vasi Nel Mezzo: Corgi Fiat X1/9 - Engine Week Day 1

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.
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.

Illustration for article titled Quattro Vasi Nel Mezzo: Corgi Fiat X1/9 - Engine Week Day 1
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I’m not sure how many 500X’s are needed to sell to keep them profitable here, but hopefully they’re moving enough.

Illustration for article titled Quattro Vasi Nel Mezzo: Corgi Fiat X1/9 - Engine Week Day 1
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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.

Illustration for article titled Quattro Vasi Nel Mezzo: Corgi Fiat X1/9 - Engine Week Day 1
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Ciao and happy Engine Week!

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