My DOTS-detectin' antennae are getting more sensitive every day; I caught the briefest glimpse of something red and vaguely wedge-shaped down a side street out of the corner of my eye while riding as a passenger in a car and made a mental note: Possible Fiat X-1/9! Investigate later! Sure enough, when I went back to that block later on, here was a red X-1/9 and not a Toyota MR2 or Pontiac Fiero (not that there's anything wrong with either of those two, but they're not anywhere near as rare as the Fiat). This ability comes at a price, as I now drive at a maddening 15 MPH in Alameda- the better to scan for interesting iron- and I'm sure my car is hated by the impatient types who don't understand that I'm on an important mission.

I had the use of an X-1/9 for a couple of weeks when I was a teenager, and I recall thinking "Cool! Italian sports car! This will be much fun!" Then, a few minutes into driving the thing, I thought "Damn, this thing is miserably underpowered... and why are all the dash switches, window cranks, and climate controls broken on a 3-year-old car? And what's that unpleasant noise from the transmission?"

I grabbed a couple of these scoops from a junkyard to use on the Black Metal V8olvo, but we ran out of time to install them. Maybe we'll have them rigged up as brake vents for the Thunderhill race.


The '82 X-1/9 listed for $10,990, a bit more than the Mazda RX-7 GS. The Mazda was orders of magnitude faster and more reliable (provided you treated the Wankel right), but the Fiat got better mileage and came with Bertone styling. What would you have taken?

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