X1/9 style/design custom modifications


True Classic
Awhile back I started to do a series of threads about creating customized or modified X1/9's; looking at style and design changes for building a unique X. I was focusing on one or two aspects of the car at a time, and eventually I'd hoped to cover the whole vehicle that way. Here are a couple of the threads that were created:



The topic of what is a "custom" or "modified" car came back up recently: https://xwebforums.com/forum/index.php?threads/stock-vs-modified.36088/

Seems I haven't had the time to develop more of those threads much lately. So rather than continue with each specific area or aspect of the car individually, I think I'll just open it up a little. As long as the focus is on customized or modified creations and not stock or restored X's. Hopefully we can avoid all of the really bad examples of what not to do, and try to keep things constructive. As much as possible I'd also like to steer towards things that can be done to the existing X1/9 rather than overall replacements or complete redesigns of it entirely. In other words, ideas that could lead to actual projects for things that can be accomplished to enhance one's own X.

I suppose the range of "enhancements" should be defined a little. For the sake of this discussion it might be best to restrict ourselves to external aspects; the body, wheels, mirrors, trim, spoilers (although front spoilers were covered in one of the prior threads linked above), top, windows, lights, engine cover, grills, etc. We can start other discussions about the drivetrain, power, mechanical, suspension, steering, handling, performance, etc. Likewise for interior, upholstery, etc.

It can be purely for aesthetics, or function, or anywhere in between. Mainly to share random ideas, thoughts, images, concepts.

Please feel free to offer suggestions for a better way to do this thread.

I'll kick it off with some items I happened upon the other day while looking for something else.
Fender flares...
I've always liked the "boxed" flares that were popular on racers in the 80's and 90's. The Fiat 131 Mirafiori / Abarth Rally 031 is one example. It would be interesting to see what could be done to the X with something like it.



Almost 'Dallara' looking but more squared off and bolder, sharper lines. It could also allow for a much larger side scoop opening like in the first two pics above.

Box flares were also on iconic BMW racers.

Porsche 911 racers.


And closer to home, the Lancia Stratos Turbo (Group 5).

I've reached the 10 pic limit, so I'll start another post for my next favorite type of fender flares.
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True Classic
Another style of fender flare I've always liked is what I call "trailer fenders". I'm sure there is a proper name for this type but they remind me of these (trailer fenders):

In fact, that is a easy way to make them for just about any car; cut a trailer fender down the center and trim it to fit the body lines. I realize this might be a bit similar to some of the existing flares available for the X1/9. But I'm thinking a more exaggerated version. Bigger, bolder, wider. Here are a few examples, including some extreme ones.






True Classic
Well, obviously I'm starting with a flared body because like you, I like the custom look.


Never had the money or skills to do this myself but Craigslist is your friend and I found this car locally. Years ago I bought a flared X.


But unfortunately the body underneath was rotten and the car was unusable. I would like to add a ducktail to the trunk lid and I'm not sure what front spoiler treatment I'll use (not any lower than stock, the streets are in terrible condition here). Snorkels are a fun affectation for an X but they are impossible to find and I don't have the skills to make one.

Don't make a car so radical it can't be driven. Don't make it so compromising that you don't enjoy driving it.


True Classic
That's the reason I opened with 'fender flares'. I feel they make the single largest difference in customizing a car's design. Although they can also be one of the more difficult mods to make. I'll likely add more 'flare' images later; I have some great examples saved on my hard drive that I didn't bother to pull up.

But the next thing I'll mention is rear spoilers. We discussed front spoilers and air dams in one the the other threads (see link in my first post above). And rear spoilers were mentioned in another discussion awhile back (don't recall which one, maybe someone else will). But we can explore it further.

For the X I prefer a ducktail over an actual 'wing'. Although the full Dallara build does look good with its wing. But for something less than that, an old school flipped-up trailing edge works for me. The molded fiberglass one that's available to directly fit the X is nice. The one-piece deck lid with duck tail is even better (see first pic below). But I'm beginning to appreciate the 'fabricated' looking ones. They have more of a race car look, more function than style. At the last SEMA show I saw a lot of them and took some pics.




True Classic
Ideas for the targa top have been thrown around over the years. There is some good stuff in this thread:

A removable targa top is the perfect blend of convertible and hardtop in my opinion. My very first car was a targa; often considered to be the 'original' targa design (see first pic below), but it was British - also making it my last ever British vehicle. Having spent my life in SoCal, I was a huge fan of true convertibles for decades. But they certainly have their drawbacks. For that reason I always considered them to be more of a second car rather than my primary daily driver. The newer retractable hardtop convertibles are another excellent option. But there is always room for style improvements, even with the X1/9 targa top.

Refinishing the stock top with another type surface would be the easiest mod to restyle it. In addition to smoothing it out and painting it, how about covering it with a brushed stainless steel skin? Perhaps something like the old Cadillacs had.

Or some other type of finish? Ideas?

And on the subject of brushed stainless steel. I've always liked how Porsche covered the targa bar with it.

There have been targa type tops with either removable or opening rear windows, for even more of a convertible experience. So how about making the rear X window able to slide down, like a limo power "privacy window".

More extreme, how about a chopped top.
Fiat X19 big brakes added.jpg

Even more extreme, how about redesigning the targa bar completely. I love the classic Ferrari's with a more rounded hoop for a targa bar. This would be a true 'roadster', meaning no top. And it opens up lots of windshield design options (more on that in another post).


Or another more modern style of targa bar.


True Classic
Like your trailer, Carl!

I'll leave my renderings out of this thread, too crude and too extreme. Most of these pics you've seen but are good for commentary.


I would consider the Dallara X a box flare and the best version of one for an X, although it's more of an all body recreation that makes it work so well and wouldn't aesthetically work as well on their own. An X is an angular wedge and the Dallara version has softer lines. I'm suggesting that it works so well due to also softening most of the stock lines, even the sides of the sails. Hard not to love.
x 1-9 dallara.jpg

I think (custom) flares are particularly harder to do well on an X. The lower portion of the 1960s body makes it harder to integrate the flares into the body or into the front air dam although Brandon (and others) has done a good job of that, I think, while maintaining a classic feel. I would consider his custom as he combined a couple of different pieces and did some custom work to integrate them.

Avoiding integration can work well with distinctly separate pieces.

Have to throw this one on here and have looked at this X a hundred times. There are several things about this X I don't care for but there are several other things that I do like. Rest assured the owner loves his Abarth/Bertone
I'll just leave it at that.

Trailer Flares
Dr Jeff, I really like "trailer flares", also, and prefer the more angular simple curved ones over the more rounded versions. They fit the X theme better.

The most extreme simple curve that works for me is Graverson's. I would like to see a box flared version and think it would work well. And a toned down street version of Graverson's would be awesome, too.
X Graverson flare study.png
I like how these taper in more than the old styles, more like an enlarged eyelash fender. For me, the widest point would be moved in to align with the edge of the outer tread and maybe start the flare higher up on the fenders to end closer to the tire.

I also like the flatter extended version like Steve's rear flare but a bit wider and more raked for the street. Stiff springs needed! There's a Euro hill climber X that has them, I'll have to find it.

I'll throw tis in, don't have a finished pic of my last Honda but this fender is wider than stock in the front by 2 1/2", 2" rear. The finished version had about 1/2"" longer flare and stuck out a touch more with no rubbing. Very subtle, a flareless flare, sort of. Similar to using a flaring roller but more extreme. Destroyed in a hurricane. The rear fender was also double walled so could possibly transfer to an X?

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True Classic
Hasbro has prompted me to dig out a couple more of my save pics of X flares.

More views of Graverson's (love this car). Something of a mixed 'box' and 'trailer' design.


Couple more angles of the green car, second pic in Hasbro's post (this might be from earlier on, judging by the differences compared to the prior pic).

Some other interesting ones.



One thing about the original design of the X is the stock fenders can have something of a "flared" look to them, under the right conditions. As noted it is certainly a 70's style, tucking inward toward the bottom. But the top has an extension ("eyelash"), that projects out from the overall fender lines, and can give the illusion of a 'flared fender' with the right size wheel/tire, lowering (stance), and a little rolling of the lip to give a tighter fit. Unfortunately I can't find the picture I have in mind to best illustrate this. It can look something like the 5th car (red) down in Hasbro's post (although that one actually is flared) if done right. Here is another X (belongs to one of our members) that I'll use for illustration purposes (sorry for the poor art skills). Hope I haven't insulted the owner (certainly not intended, as it is a great custom X), only trying to show the point I'm trying to make.
Screen Shot 2017-10-18 at 6.33.39 AM - Copy.png


True Classic
On the subject of fender flares, there has been a trend with many of the newer styles of 'add-on' flares. It seems to have developed from track cars, attempting to reduce aero drag, where the rear most portion of a widened fender is left open.

The original (race car) ones just had an open hole or slats on the back portion to let the air escape. Typically with boxed fenders.

Touring Car Championship cars took this to the limit.


A common version of it on box-flared street cars has a simple opening on the back end of the fender.

But with some newer 'add-on' flares for production cars they have scalloped away the rear aspect of the flare to give a similar effect (or at least the look of it). This tends to also go along with having exposed bolts to mount the flares ("pockets"). Typically on widebody kits.

The blue car Hasbro posted shows a small hint of it.

The aftermarket flares for many Japanese cars have a more exaggerated version.

However this might be too modern for the X1/9.


True Classic
"However this might be too modern for the X1/9."

I think it could be done effectively. And more subtly. And one version with a small Stratos/037 sprung mud guard. :cool:
Good point about GregS' red X looking flared. It often makes me do a double take. Greg is a real craftsman (of which we have a plethora of on this board). The stock flares are well done on an X but they are never subtly enhanced. Perhaps because add on flares have been so prominent historically?


True Classic
What's kind of funny in a way, is the X's fenders are actually very wide if you include that top extension (eyelash). It requires a relatively wide wheel/tire to get all the way out to that point if you want to fill the wheel well (which I think is needed with pretty much any custom look).


True Classic
My mention of those fenders with the cutaway "air-vent" rear portion segways into a related topic, rear diffusers.

Again, this might be a bit modern for the X, depending on the overall look or style you are going for. That's a nice thing about the X's design, because it was a 'futuristic' style it can lend well into more modern touches better than most designs its age.

The whole idea of a rear diffuser on a X has to be mainly for aesthetics in my opinion. I really can't imagine there being any true functional benefit to it. You aren't going to gain a bunch of aerodynamic downforce with just that added. However I have a rusty X that I refer to as a "outlaw" (like Carl's "rat" X). It isn't worth trying to restore or make into anything nice. But it could still be functional enough to make a fun play car. Something of a track day look; gutted, trimmed, lightened, form follows function, bare bones. The rear lower aspect of the rear wheel wells, the corner pockets on either side of the trunk, much of the rear trunk's lower area, the rear apron, etc, are pretty much gone - rotted away. So I'll just trim back what's left and leave the rear area open. Adding a diffuser of sorts will help fill the big void that's left and hide the remaining rear undercarriage.
Monterey 09 067.JPG


And while I'm discussing the rear end of the car, and air vents, I like the idea of opening up the rear taillight panel and covering it with a grill of some sort. Either the entire rear panel with custom taillights added, or just the area between the stock taillights.

Monterey 2012 054.JPG
Monterey 2012 022.JPG

Alfa Custom, Best of Fr & It 2010 6.JPG

Air vents in general is another design element I really like. There are some great examples on vintage exotics, racers, classic supercars, and the like. Maybe at a later time I'll post some pics. But I'm not sure how well they tie into the X's overall style.


True Classic
^ Big fan of rear grilles! What is the last car?

I'm putting this on here for several reasons;
-I don't know how to pull a still pic from a video
-the designer presents good reasons for customizing a relatively rare car
-a "rear undertray wing" has always attracted me. It may apply well to the very busy rear due to the X's muffler layout.

I like a custom designed car to be subtle with clean lines and the undertray wing is more subtle than say a wing. Lotus models usually had a very smooth underbody which is a big aero item.

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Frank L. Di Gioia

True Classic
Great topic!! Dr. Jeff please make sure you've got several backup versions of your photo library. I lost a great bootleg music library I pilfered from YouTube years ago due to a crash or maybe it was YouTube collecting their music back. Food for thought:
There is nothing new under the sun.
Form follows function
Tomorrows street car is yesterdays race car.
Too much is just enough.
Speed costs money; how fast do you want to go?
One mans junk is another mans treasure.
Thanks for all the interesting pics and great ideas. I was/am going to finish my '67 850 Spider H production race car pretty much stock bodied.....now damn it you've all planted the "what if" seed.


True Classic
What is the last car?
It was at a car show I attended a few years ago. If I recall correctly it was a custom built one-off using Alfa mechanicals. I have a couple more pics of it I'll send to you in a PM. Maybe someone else on the forum has more info about it? Many of our members were at that same show (Best of France and Italy, about 4 years ago).


True Classic
That explains it. Figured it was a kit. Beautiful from that angle. Looks like he has to remove the entire rear clamshell to access the mechanicals or it all gets dropped.

"I was/am going to finish my '67 850 Spider H production race car pretty much stock bodied." Don't blame you Frank. I would be hard pressed to drastically alter the race car I'm picking up from Pete, too nice to cut. It comes with some Fazas? and 13x8 steelies so that might be the extent of body work. But the second X gets a major workover...
X Bert Fazas.jpg


Erwin Timmers
Hasbro has prompted me to dig out a couple more of my save pics of X flares.
Great topic Dr. Jeff. I think flares look great on an X. I wanted to add these pics to the discussion, since I think they really look good. I'd love to find who makes/made the kit...
black fender flares italian.jpg

The image came from the Italian X club, but I can't find it any more. In my opinion the kit fits so well with the car, the angles, the shapes, the radius on the corners, and I really like the fill in panel below the air intake. I posted it here once before, but the discussion focused on the giant indicator...

There was an X for sale in Italy that had something similar, but not identical, no flares, but a fill in panel and a different front.

A current Italian site member also has a similar treatment.


Erwin Timmers
I like how these taper in more than the old styles, more like an enlarged eyelash fender. For me, the widest point would be moved in to align with the edge of the outer tread and maybe start the flare higher up on the fenders to end closer to the tire.
That's a nice car. Are those flared? It's hard to tell, very subtle...


True Classic
Those are definitely custom, a lot of work by a good body guy.

Erwin, re. your top pic, I went on their forum five or ten years ago to inquire about those body pieces. No one could provide me with any useful info. Perhaps there is still info available but at least it's worth studying anyway.
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True Classic
Saw these on GRM and thought the Lambo design has numerous details to reconnoiter. The Ford GT70 is just cool.