Here at CC, we do like to go against the grain a bit. And when I saw this green X1/9 posted by Foden Alpha at the Cohort, it reminded me that the little Fiat buzz-bomb was the runner-up as Europe’s CCOTY for 1974 (behind the Mercedes 450SEL). I know old Fiats have a very mixed reputation, but not when it comes to being fun to drive–especially regarding the X1/9. One of my co-workers in LA had one that he was converting into a weekend racer in the parking lot behind the TV station. Every once in a while when things were slow, we’d take it out up to Mulholland Drive. Now that was guaranteed to get the adrenalin going. He’d stripped the bumpers, and the motor had been warmed-over, so it ran like a scalding-hot Fiat was supposed to run.
Well, Fiat’s rep in the U.S. for reliability issues wasn’t exactly a conspiracy; they earned it, although anyone dedicated enough knew how to keep them running, if not from rusting. But then Toyota saw the light, and the MR2 soon filled the void. There are still a couple of X1/9s on the streets here, and one of these days we’ll do the long version of the X1 /9 story.