I Bought Another X1/9

Discussion in 'Discussion Forum' started by aarpcard, Apr 4, 2018.

  1. aarpcard

    aarpcard True Classic

    I know you guys like pictures, so I have a lot of them.

    This is a long story - Back in November I blew the head gasket in my 84 X. The car was missing the shields that cover the accessory belts and back of the engine; as such I would never drive it in the rain. I decided to take the car to work the day before Thanksgiving and checked the weather before I left - no rain on the forecast. Got halfway to work when it suddenly started to downpour. The roads were saturated. Water ended up getting kicked up onto the accessory belts and caused the water pump belt to slip and overheated the motor. I was so focused on driving in the rain with poor viability that I didn't notice the temp gauge for probably 10 miles or so. Head gasket blown - no compression on 2 and 3.

    This car was originally a basket case that I spent a lot of time getting road worthy. Prior to this I had overhauled the brakes, exhaust, cooling system, fuel system, electrical system, clutch, fixed a cracked transmission case, replaced wheel bearings, timing belt, and fixed a lot of rust including welding in new floor pans, patching rust on the rocker panels, frunk lid, nose, and around the windshield.

    Having done all this work, I took the blown head gasket as an opportunity to completely go through the motor. I got the head resurfaced, bought and installed a performance cam, lapped the valves, bought every gasket and seal for the engine, rod bearings, piston rings, honed the cylinders, etc, etc.

    During the process, of tearing the engine down, I stumbled upon a ton of more rust in the trunk. The trunk floor was basically gone (that was obscured by the trunk luggage plate and the heat shield above the exhaust), and the lower part of the trunk firewall was beyond saving. That was disappointing, but that wasn't something I couldn't tackle.

    Here's the killer though - I was storing all the parts in our basement. A couple of months ago we had some really heavy rain and our sump pump broke causing our basement to flood. I went down to rescue the parts and move them to higher ground. I was picking up the pistons and felt a abnormal jagged edge on #4. I turned it over and there were chunks missing from the skirt and pretty bad scoring. I have no idea how I missed that before. I went out to the car and closely examined the #4 bore, and sure enough, low on the stroke there were a few extremely deep pits and bad scoring - the block would absolutely have to be machined. I have no idea how I missed all that after carefully measuring the bores and pistons, and honing the cylinders.

    So now I needed new pistons, and would need to machine the block - which meant I had to take the block out of the car. Not having a garage to work in, and it being the middle of winter meant this would be quite the challenge.

    Why was I spending all this time, effort, and money on a car that would still needed so much work once I got it running again? Why am I putting all of these brand new or like new parts on a chassis that was rotten with so much rust that I just kept discovering more and more of as I dug deeper and deeper into the car? I still had a mountain of rust to fix, still needed a full paint job, still needed to overhaul the suspension, and still needed to do a ton of little things here and there.

    I figured that for the amount of money I still needed to spend on parts, paint, and machining, I'd probably be halfway towards buying a "nice" X1/9. So started looking for a new X1/9 in fantastic condition. I could keep the 84X as a parts car and that combined with all the parts I've already bought, I'd probably never need to buy any X related parts for a long time, plus I could install the performance cam I bought into the new car.

    I knew about an 85X with 60k miles that was on ebay in my area for months and months. The seller didn't have good pictures and they kept lowering the price every few weeks. I reached out to them and asked for pictures of the trunk wells, and inside of the headlight pods. I figured the levels of rust in these areas would give a good litmus test for the rest of the car. The seller sent over the pictures and I was astounded - absolutely no rust - and what more, everything was spotless - no dust, debris, nothing! I immediately sent an offer and bought the car for $5,800. (I actually ended up cashing out some crypto currency I had invested in years ago to pay for the car. I used exclusively profits and essentially didn't pay a dime.)

    Turns out the car belonged to the owners boyfriend who died 3 years ago. Prior to that it belonged to a collector in Oregon who had it for at least 10 years. It's pretty clear this X has been garage kept the majority of its life.




    First thing on the list is to replace the shift knob with a stock one.


    The car is 99.9% complete. The paint is a solid 8.5/10. There's no rust on the entire car - I've been through everything. All the electrics work. The trunk, frunk, and cabin carpets are mint. The suspension and steering are tight. It has the original Bertone floor mats and speaker shelf mat. Nothing is broken. Even the AC works!

    The only problems I've found are the non-stock shift knob, torn stitching in the drivers seat, and the muffler has a few dents in it; all of which should be easy to remedy especially considering I have a full spare exhaust in fantastic condition. I honestly couldn't believe it - I feel like I hit the lottery.

    . . . . And then a week after buying the car I broke my collar bone snowboarding:

    Ended up having to get surgery so a titanium plate could be put in with several screws. I won't be able to use my right hand for a month, and won't be able to do any wrenching for at least three. Maybe I'll be able to drive manual again in about 2 months. Generally not fun - do not recommend.

    Anyhow, along with the car, I got a bag full of literature. There's a mint owners handbook, owner's manual, original Warranty and Service Book, Electrical Diagnostic Manual, Fiat Air Conditioning Training Manual, parts catalogues and tons and tons of original dealer handouts and literature. I'll post a sample of it all below.

    If anyone wants any of these scanned in high quality, let me know - I'd be happy to make them available.

    Owner's Manual, Owner's Handbook, Bertone Owner's Warranty and Service Book, X1/9 Owner's Club Magazine:

    Bayless Parts Book, Fiat Air Conditioning Training Manual:

    Linea Rossa Parts Catalogue, Fiat X1/9 Performance Handbook:
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2018
    Tavalin and lookforjoe like this.
  2. aarpcard

    aarpcard True Classic

    1980-1981 Electrical Diagnostic Manual:

    Fiat Parts Distributor List, X1/9 Owner's Club Magazine:


    Below are a small sampling of all of the dealer brochures and fold outs I have. All are double sided, and many are bound with multiple pages. I can post higher quality scans if anyone is interested. Below are just a few:




    Tavalin, sjmst and avusblue98 like this.
  3. JimD

    JimD Waiting for Godot... Moderator

    Missouri, USA
    aarpcard likes this.
  4. Fiataccompli

    Fiataccompli Chris Granju

    Knoxville, TN
    Nice conclusion, hope you heal well!
    aarpcard likes this.
  5. Dan Sarandrea (Phila)

    Dan Sarandrea (Phila) Waitin' On Parts...

    Philadelphia, PA
    Hi Tyler,

    Wow, what a great score, the car looks to be in terrific shape! Heal up fast so you can rip around in "Black Beauty!"
  6. Daniel Forest

    Daniel Forest True Classic

    Unusual colour combo. I Wonder if the red parts came from another car of it is a paint colour change. Any clue?

    Car is looking great except for the cracked dash and the bump in the driver door. Apart from the shift know, I kind of dislike the 2 tone wheels. But you have a spare 1984!
  7. aarpcard

    aarpcard True Classic

    Thanks yeah looking forward to it - for now my girlfriend gets to have all the fun . . . but being a passenger is almost as good.

    First thing on the to do list is addressing the shift knob, second are re-stitching the seats. Luckily the leather isn't split - just seems like the thread broke so hopefully that'll be easy to address. The dent in the drivers door isn't bad - seems like the pictures make it look worse. I'm probably eventually going to bring it to a body shop to see what they can do, because I don't trust myself to not mess up the paint job.

    I didn't like the two tone wheels either at first . . . was planning on replacing them with CD31's and probably still will. However, if I'm honest, they've kind of grown on me. As for the red on black, I have no idea, but I do like it a lot. I'm 90% sure the car hasn't been painted - if it was painted, then who ever did it stripped the parts off down to the chassis and painted inside the trunk, frunk, engine bay, all jams, inside the headlight pods, under the carpet etc. More likely the interior was swapped out, but I', not familiar with stock X1/9 color choices. However the door handles are painted black - not sure if that's OEM for '85 or not.

    Someone also decided to stick a "turbo" badge on the engine lid . . .
  8. darwoodious

    darwoodious Darin Nelson

    Seattle, WA
    Noticed that - I don't think I've ever seen the "fuel injection" badge on the opposite site of the engine lid either.

    When you said:
    I was gonna mention the turbo badge (only after I looked and saw no turbo plumbing).

    Nice score there - looks like you got a sweet ride.
  9. Kevin B (Asheville NC)

    Kevin B (Asheville NC) Administrator Moderator

    Asheville, NC
    I approve of this!

    That being said, based on the header trim in the engine compartment, this was once a champagne / black two tone car. The red leather, based on what the headrest logo is, appears to have been swapped in from a 82 / 83 x. But black over red works.

    I hope you heal quickly and are back behind the wheel soon.
    aarpcard likes this.
  10. Greg (in Conn)

    Greg (in Conn) X driver- Bertone curator

    Very exciting and nice score!
    those leather seats are original and went well into 1984.
  11. Rodger

    Rodger True Classic

    Olympia, WA
    Nice buy and good luck on your recovery. I would love a scan of the AC manual.
  12. Fiataccompli

    Fiataccompli Chris Granju

    Knoxville, TN
    The random extra badges are a little silly but that is easy to correct. A rust-free body with NJ tags is where it excels!

    I figured maybe it had the interior (or seats/door panels/wheel) from a VS model swapped . Red interior on a black car is great, I think
  13. Daniel Forest

    Daniel Forest True Classic

    It's fun to be picky... when you are not concern. Do you think the laurels on the glove box are a device to help closing the lid?

    Also, I noticed the right rear top parts of the struts are sitting really high. My guess is the rubber top mount is worn. Usually, the parts are concealed IN the "bump" shape.

    Do you have the rare and coveted "dancing antenna". It seems to be changing direction in each pic!

    I like the bungee spark plugs wires. Especially the one connected to the coil. If you turn the car to fast, I'm afraid it would run away!
  14. MikeHynes

    MikeHynes True Classic

    Goodfield, IL.
    Congrats, I think you made a sound decision. Looks like the PO was an X1/9 enthusiast. Perhaps the driver's side door dent can be removed by someone who does paintless dent repair?
  15. Dan Sarandrea (Phila)

    Dan Sarandrea (Phila) Waitin' On Parts...

    Philadelphia, PA
    I was thinking the same thing but I have been told that if the dents are too close to, or overlap, a body crease line, the results will be less than perfect. Of course, it can't hurt to have a dent guy look at it and see.
  16. aarpcard

    aarpcard True Classic

    Here you go! Seems like it is tailored towards cars with the older style compressor, but I imagine a lot of it is relevant for all X1/9 AC systems. Unfortunately it was too big to host on XWEB.

    Ahh, interesting - that would make sense as to why the floors, wells, and jams are all black. How could you tell by the header trim?
  17. kmead

    kmead Old enough to know better

    Congrats, great story, bummer middle story but it seems it will all end up well.

    Great car. The thread in the seats they used was made of cotton and it tends to fail over time on happily leaving the leather in good condition.

    Looking forward to you regaining the use of your arm, I went through a frozen shoulder last year and was definitely set back on many fronts, you will really enjoy the PT to come.
    aarpcard likes this.
  18. Kevin B (Asheville NC)

    Kevin B (Asheville NC) Administrator Moderator

    Asheville, NC
    Factory two tone cars had the engine compartment painted the upper outer body color. The piece of metal across the engine compartment (holding the top of the fire wall blanket) is a commonly overlooked item to paint. I have had several champagne / black two tones over the years, a couple of which had had a respray (one a dealer respray to change the factory champagne to red (probably because they had difficulty selling the champagne cars) and this item always seemed to be overlooked. Looking under th etrunk carpets, the dash, and down low in the engine compartment would tell the real story.
  19. Greg (in Conn)

    Greg (in Conn) X driver- Bertone curator

    You might get lucky and find the original window sticker buried in that literature between one of the pages. You never know!!
    Curious as to what the build plate date? 6/84 ?

    Here was a two tone recently sold to show the paint details in the compartment.
    Tough call to say if yours started out that way from the photos so keep digging in there below!!
    Would they have tapped off the Warning sticker with no overspray?
    Peel a bit of the sticker away...


  20. aarpcard

    aarpcard True Classic

    Unfortunately I don't think I have the original window sticker, but I'll keep digging. I've already gone through most of the literature.

    I peeled a bit of the sticker and it's definitely the same paint underneath. Pardon the dirt.

    Also, the piece which holds the heat shielding in place is definitely black. I think the sunlight and dust made it appear lighter in the other pictures. It's not very clean. Haven't gotten a chance to clean the engine bay yet. Hard to get pictures lower in the bay or elsewhere with my injury - however prior to breaking my collar bone I did an oil and trans fluid change. No signs of a color change low in the engine bay. The targa top is also painted black without the textured finish. So if it was repainted, someone did a really professional job. Still not sure why the door handles are black though.

    I forgot to take a picture of the VIN/Manufacture Data plate in the frunk. Not very easy to handle a camera with one arm. The VIN is ZBBBS00A0F7154081 so it's definitely an 1985. I think according the the Data plate in the frunk it was built in either April or May of '85.

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