Why did you buy an X 1/9?

Discussion in 'Discussion Forum' started by WantAnX1/9, Aug 16, 2019.

  1. WantAnX1/9

    WantAnX1/9 Stuck in gear, leaking fluids, fire in progress...

    Hello all.

    I didn't want to create a "poll", but wanted to get an idea why we buy the X 1/9 over the competition: MR2, Miata, Fiero, MGB, etc.?

    I used the search function, and came up with nothing on why we choose X 1/9 (I will own one myself shortly).

    For me, it is the Gandini styling, the great handling, the "other-ness" of an X 1/9, as you don't see one every day, or at every car show. It is a baby 308, if you like.

    An underdog, giant-killer sports car, from an earlier era.

    She (the X 1/9) just stands out---in a good way.
  2. toddr124

    toddr124 Hagerstown, MD

    Hagerstown, MD
    I owned a Fiat spider for 20 years and found it very reliable and easy maintenance. I bought a 74 2.0 Porsche 914. Great car with a lot of power and great handling. Hard to work on plus parts were way more expensive than Fiat parts. I did test drive a Bertone before I bought the 914, but it was to small. Enjoyed the 914 until I needed some expensive parts (sun visors). Sold the car.

    I than drove a X1/9 with a small steering wheel and I fit! Bought a cheap X1/9 as a project for my son and I to fix up. Fixed this car up with no help from my son and drove the crap out of it. Stopped driving the spider because the X1/9 was way to much fun. Sold the spider after owning fit for over 30 years and bought a couple more X1/9s. All have 300mm steering wheels.
    WantAnX1/9 likes this.
  3. WantAnX1/9

    WantAnX1/9 Stuck in gear, leaking fluids, fire in progress...


    You weren't lying! 914 sun visor sets are a minimu of 100.00 on ebay----most are 175-300! Ouch!
  4. 7982X

    7982X True Classic

    The Fiero drove nice, but....you can't take the top off. What is the point of a sports car (in my own opinion) if you can't take the top off? I didn't like the feel of sitting in the MGB (felt like I was lower than the dash) , though I always liked the look of them. The Miata wasn't around when I bought my first X1/9 in 1985. The X is the most fun car (not the fastest, but the most fun) I have ever driven....even more fun than a mid 60's Corvette roadster with leg burner pipes. The MR2 just never spoke to me. I also like the targa top versus a "rag top". I had also thought about a 914, but not for long.....probably cost & style.
  5. dragonsgate

    dragonsgate True Classic

    In the early 70's fell in with a group that ran Renault's.
    I wound up with a 63 Caravel and after a few years of fixing it up my wife who called it the Great White Knuckler persuaded me to sell it.

    After a little while it was plane that we needed a second car.
    It just so happened that a friend of my wife was selling a slightly less than one year old 128 sedan.
    The friend asked if I could pick the car up from the garage where it was being serviced.
    I did pick it up and never one to be shy I opened the 1300 up coming on the freeway.
    While it didn't set the world on fire it did get up to speed fast enough and I immediately liked the car so we bought it.

    After five years of trouble free driving it broke the pump belt.
    The wife's father who was with her at the time told her it was ok to drive it the 5 or 6 miles home that way.
    To the Fiat's credit it was still running but ruff when she pulled int the driveway.

    That is when I dropped a 79 Strada and five speed in.
    Then the fun really began and I drove that car all over the U.S. and finally gave it up about eight years ago.

    All that time I wanted an X19.
    Knew a little about them, saw only a couple and had never drove one.
    Then I came across a rusted out 75 X that I got for $100.

    Cleaned out the squirrel nests and put the engine back together and drove it for a little over a year expecting to fall through the floor anytime.
    Out of self preservation and the fact that I found an 84 X I retired the 75 permanently.

    Drove the 84 for a year loved it but the engine was worn out so in Nov. 1999 I decided to convert it to electric.
    I had first read about electrics in the 80's and had always said I would build one someday.

    My X19 feels much the same now as it did with the ice in that I corners nice but it is quieter, has more torque giving a better 0-60 and less throttle lag when coming out of a turn.
    While I like the design and the ride I also like to own something that is different and around here that really fits the bill.
    WantAnX1/9 likes this.
  6. tonyism7

    tonyism7 Daily Driver

    New Jersey
    I didn't even know the X19 existed until I was looking for a Lemons car (They went out of production before I was born). I saw some of the Xs that were running in the series and I was hooked. Midengine, Italian, standout design, and budget friendly; what more could you want?

    Once I found a suitable candidate and got it running, I decided the car was too much fun on the street and in too good of condition to beat up in Lemons. So now I'm enjoying upgrading it to make it more fun and more reliable on the street. The community and wealth of knowledge here certainly adds to the ownership experience.
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2019
    autox19 and WantAnX1/9 like this.
  7. aarpcard

    aarpcard True Classic

    I already had a MR2 and was looking for a second car. Only requirement was it had to be mid engined - don't want to drive anything else.

    That left the X1/9, Fiero, or another MR2 in my price range.

    Already owning a MR2, the X1/9 was the obvious choice. When's the last time you saw a Bertone marque driving down the road that wasn't a X1/9? I saw a Countach on the highway once a few years ago . . . Other than that, never.
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2019
    WantAnX1/9 likes this.
  8. WantAnX1/9

    WantAnX1/9 Stuck in gear, leaking fluids, fire in progress...

    Loving the well-thought responses, guys!
  9. Mike Petrecca

    Mike Petrecca Low Mileage

    New Jersey
    Long and meandering path for me that covered a number of years. Started looking at triumph tr 4s, mgb gts then moved the search to a 914. The mid engine set up appealed to me. Reading auto mag comparison tests, mr2s and then x19s came into focus.

    I had discounted the x due to lack of power, but the more I read, the more I liked it and realized it was much more than the sum of its parts. Great handling, great space utilization, simple, raw and loaded with character.

    I lurked on this forum and saw what an enthuastic and helpful community this is and that was the final selling point.

    Love my x, it is a race car for the street. Excellent handling and the driving feel, no power steering, no power brake assist, has a feel that not many cars can match.
    kmead and WantAnX1/9 like this.
  10. autox19

    autox19 True Classic

    East Lansing, Mi
    I always loved the sharp lined wedge shape. hind sight it was probably from my sisters barbie car. (look familiar?)
    1986 came around and my VW bug was dying on a normal basis so I needed a different car. Being in Mid Michigan doesnt bode well for imports, but one dealership happen to have a green 79. I sat in it and was sold. When I went for a test drive the throttle stuck so I had to manipulate the pedal by lifting it with my foot. I didnt get the real X experience because of it but I did get almost $1000 off because of it. I took it to my uncles house where we took apart the pedal assembly and fixed it (I have had to do that with almost all my X's since then. Well maybe didnt have to, but I did any way). the Rest is history. I have had an X in my possession ever since with the exception of about 6 months non consecutive. I have daily drove an X more than all my other daily drivers combined.

    WantAnX1/9 likes this.
  11. WantAnX1/9

    WantAnX1/9 Stuck in gear, leaking fluids, fire in progress...


    I agree----the community is at least as helpful as the MG guys! Big selling point for me, also!
  12. Joe F

    Joe F Hi Miles, Lo Maintenance

    New Hampshire
    It started in 1972 when I graduated collage. My dear grandmother gave me money for a car. I put a down payment on the next Mercury Capri to be imported. As I was waiting (for weeks!) I saw an add for a Fiat 124 Sport Coupe. I went to the local dealership, test drove one and bought the red one in the showroom.
    Three years later, I brought my 124 in for some work and while I was waiting, I sat in an X that was in the showroom. It made me feel I was in a fighter plane!
    That night, as I finished reading the latest Car & Driver, which featured the X-1/9 on the cover, my brother saw the cover and said, "That's your next car!". I thought about it and decided that he was right. I went to the dealer the next day and bought a new 1975 blue X and have had one ever since.
    WantAnX1/9 likes this.
  13. I was very close to purchasing a Lotus Europa twin cam 5 speed when the X appeared at the local dealer. Aside from the Europa being too small for my body, I noticed that even the new ones on the showroom floor had significant cracks in the fiberglass body. I worked with a guy who was into Fiats, and knew Al Cosentino so I got sucked into the Fiat crowd and bought one of the first two X1/9s that the dealer had. I took the green one since I knew the red one was going to fade.
    WantAnX1/9 likes this.
  14. 7982X

    7982X True Classic

  15. WantAnX1/9

    WantAnX1/9 Stuck in gear, leaking fluids, fire in progress...

  16. ecohen2

    ecohen2 True Classic

    Arlington Va
    Oh man, this is a fun story..

    In 1986 I was looking at buying a red 16v Scirocco or a red 1986 Bertone. I ended up buying the Scirocco because I was moving to the Washington DC the next week and didn't know if there was a Fiat dealer nearby. I drove the living daylights out of the Scirocco then bought an Alfa Spider. At the dealership were a couple of left over X1/9s that hadn't sold yet, again I considered one but chose the Alfa. After the Alfa I had a bunch of other cars which included a second gen MR2, a third gen MR2 Spyder, Porsche 914 and a Lancia Scorpion. I even owned a Spec Miata, Mazda RX7 and a Noble M12 GTO 3R (worse name ever). All of these cars were interesting and were completely different than each other, but none of them were keepers.. Then one day I was looking at car listings and came across my 1986 red Bertone X1/9 with only 2000 miles on it. The shop was asking way too much money for it so I didn't buy it at first. It took 4 months of randomly calling "Steve" and eventually convincing him that if he didn't sell it to me he wasn't going to sell it until the next summer and even then it was still overpriced. He finally agreed to sell it to me which is how I bought virtually the identical car that I passed up on in 1986.. Since that time I tracked down the family of the original owner and the history of why the car wasn't driven. I routinely send them updates on the car for fun. At some point in the near future I will drive the car out to Michigan and visit them for fun.

    Now that I have owned my X for a few years I realized that I made the right choice in 1986 by buying the Scirocco and that the X1/9 is the perfect car for this phase of my life. Just fast enough to be fun, but not so fast that I am going to hurt myself :)

    WantAnX1/9 and kmead like this.
  17. WantAnX1/9

    WantAnX1/9 Stuck in gear, leaking fluids, fire in progress...

    Awesome story! I wish I could have walked into a dealership and bought a new one. That must have been a trip.
  18. kmead

    kmead Old enough to know better

    My step mom had a liking for sports cars, her first out of college car was a 1.9l Opel GT in bright yellow. Later after caving to the realities of becoming part of a family with 5 kids she moved on to more family appropriate cars. In 1978 she bought a bright blue metallic Fiat X1/9 with a white vinyl interior. It was a lovely car which I came to love.

    My first car was a ‘73 Super Beetle which carried me around for many years despite me taking very poor care of it. In 1980 I bought my first X, a 1975, for a little over a grand which came complete with rust holes through the front fendors you could put a fist through. I drove that car at most 4 times in the time I owned it due to the coolant hose clamps rusting through and a hose came off during the night which because I was young and just as dumb as I am now I didn’t notice the temp spiking and well you know what happens then.

    My girlfriend and I nearly bought a 1983 X but went for the series 2 Scirocco because it would be a much better all around car for driving in northern Vermont.

    A few years later I bought an early 1980 carbureted X which I drove for several years until we decided to move to California in 1986 to attend design school and sold it to a friend. It truly cemented my relationship with owning an X.

    Being in school we could only afford one car and made do because we lived near my wife’s school. Later we moved and found we needed another car which brought me to my 200 dollar Fiat 850 Sport Coupe which became my daily until the 1800 dollar 124 Sport Coupe came along a few months later in 1991.

    In 1993 I had graduated and found I was going to move back to Vermont (which was a surprise) and decided if I was going back that I had to bring a rust free California X back with me. Weeks of going through the Recycler and looking at cars across the LA basin and I ended up buying a car which had been around the corner from my apartment. It was a bit rough but had no rust and had low miles. As I was moving back to Vermont I needed to get my four cars back plus the moving van so I flew three of my sisters out from New England and we drove the VW Golf (which had replaced the Scirocco in 1986), the 124 Coupe, X and I towed the 850 backwards on a tow dolly from Pasadena to central Vermont about 3300 miles.

    I drove my X as my primary daily the summer I returned to Vermont and truly enjoyed the car and how well it matched the roads of my home state. I put 6K on that car in less than six months, Vermont is just that kind of place...

    Fast forward a bit and eventually the X migrated to Michigan, was driven for a summer, the fall and then wandered through a variety of questionable storage choices for a decade and a half. Three years ago I rolled it out of the garage, poured some fresh gas in to mix with god knows what was in there and it eventually started. I have been driving it a fair amount from the time the salt goes to when it returns usually in late November for the last two years.

    Two years ago I picked up a project X which is sitting in pieces in my garage for a variety of reasons.

    So why an X and why do I keep coming back to it?

    First off it was an early automotive love of mine, I still pine for a bright metallic blue one.
    Secondly in all its forms it is a beautiful car even with the unfortunate battering ram bumpers it has been forced to wear over time.
    Thirdly as I came to appreciate automotive design, it is likely the best packaged vehicle I have ever come across. The cabin is roomy, it has two very accommodating trunks, and the engine, fuel tank and spare tire are all in this amazingly compact but serviceable module. Frankly it is fascinating and when I have shown the car to people they are surprised at all that is both in the vehicle and what will fit into it.
    Fourth the drive. This is an amazing car to drive, having no power anything makes all the inputs and responses from the car’s systems direct and immediate with no intermediary to buffer or adjust ones perceptions. The car is taut without beating you up, I can drive all day and the suspension just absorbs the reality of the road neatly and without drama. The engine is right there behind you and at cruise it is the right amount of sound but not abusive but when you take it to 5k and beyond the intake sound and the exhaust create just the right combination of waaaawuummmm as you probe the redline. The transmission rewards you when you double clutch your downshifts and the engine rises to drive you through the corner again with just the right soundtrack.
    Fifth I like working on it when I actually need to. In general my X with 59k on it really hasn’t needed much and when it has it is so much easier to work on than my Toyota Sienna that I praise the engineers every time. Yes when I had to replace both masters in 1993 I was not a happy camper but it wasn’t that bad. Perhaps now that I weigh 30lbs more my view will change the next time I have to deal with it but so it goes. In general it is a well engineered car with reasonable access to service the car. Compared to the Testarossa in the garage down in the village which has been up on a lift with the engine package out of it for the last month the X is a dream.

    No it isn’t fast in a straight line but it doesn’t need to slow down much. I have autocrossed it and kept up with Miatas with much stickier tires and a nearly 100% more power which is a testament to the car or the quality of the Miata’s drivers. I do own a 1992 Miata which is a nice car and all but it just doesn’t handle nearly as well as an X. Where the X just keeps digging into the corner and transitioning to very manageable oversteer, the Miata starts out with a bit of understeer, starts to get light and then snaps into oversteer.

    Having an X is sort of like having three cars, top on it is a nice coupe, top off and windows up the wind ruffles my hair and I can hold a conversation with ease with my wife, top off and windows down it is a full convertible.

    More than once I have driven 800+ miles in a day with an X and it has been a great car to travel with. 300 miles in the Miata and I am cooked (literally from the heat encroaching into the cabin) and beaten up by the suspension that effectively runs into its bump stops all the time.

    There is no car quite like an X, I have tried out all three generations of MR2 and although they are nice cars they just are not as involving as the X. I feel like an integral part of the X where in many cars I feel like I am either leading it or trailing just behind it (this is exactly what I don’t like about the Miata).

    I have set myself up to have a nice X or two into my dotage or until they don’t sell gasoline at which point I can see easily converting it to electric power and still being just as enjoyable as it is now (with much more oomph but less lovely singing).

    The biggest negative of an X is the lack of real engine power which if there was more the chassis could easily take advantage of. Some have taken on this failing in a variety of ways while most have soldiered on with either of the engines the car came with and are happy.

    Most days I am happy.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2019
    WantAnX1/9 likes this.
  19. WantAnX1/9

    WantAnX1/9 Stuck in gear, leaking fluids, fire in progress...

  20. shonan19328


    Well, I bought my '85 X at Denver Col. 1988,
    Why? At that time I really wanted to buy 328,
    But, was too expensive,,
    Then The God gave me a time,,,

    Attached Files:

    davejake, WantAnX1/9 and kmead like this.

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