Whether it’s cheese, platform heels, or cars, who doesn’t love a little wedge? Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Fiat is as wedgie as they come, but will its price low enough that someone should un-wedge their wallet?
Did you enjoy yesterday’s trip to Japan? It’s good to get out of your comfort zone every now and then. don’t you think? Truth be told, 62% felt a good bit of discomfort about the prospect of paying twenty-four grand for the 1972 Honda 1300 GTL we visited there.
If that car were here in the U.S., it would probably go for a good 40% to 50% more than that, so in this instance I can’t say I share your opinion regarding this JDM’s home field asking.
Honda’s products have always been known for their thoughtful designs and exceptional engineering, but you what I think is one of the best designed cars out there? That’s right, the Fiat X1/9.
I’ll get to that in a sec but first about that name - X1/9. It’s weird and by now iconic, but it’s foundation is rather mundane. The breakdown is that the 850 Spider replacement was the 9th design out of Fiat’s X1 (passenger vehicles) model range. The Lancia Monte Carlo was originally going to be the X1/9’s bigger brother, replacing the 124 Spider, and its Fiat name was to be X1/20. Yeah, I like Monte Carlo better too.
Now back to that design. The X1/9 is amazingly packaged, with two trunks, a two-seat passenger compartment, spare tire and fuel tank, and the engine all sitting within its diminutive 150-inch length.
This 1976 edition is a little longer than that - by about a foot and a half - owing to its US-mandated bumpers. Other than that, it’s amazingly compact, like something off a charm bracelet.
Here, presented in fly yellow over a brown and wheat interior, the car’s ‘70s origins are laid plain. One other factor about the X1/9 that should be noted is that the cars seem inexplicably intent on disassociation, seeking to return to their elemental constituents as rapidly as possible.
This one, with just 23K on the clock, seems to be an exception. Even the interior, usually a cacophony of burst seams, cracked plastic and enfeebled switchgear, looks amazingly tidy and ready to rock. Also those seats have been recovered in leather. Nice.
Oh sure, there’s an aftermarket radio snood in the center of the dash, and don’t ask me what’s going on with that wire bunched up in the driver’s doorjamb. At least the latter is color coordinated with the car.
The ad says that this is a one-owner car bought new in ’76. That’s kind of sad to see car and owner part after so many years, but these are often the best examples out there to find. The present owner has apparently kept the little sportster in the garage every winter, and has also kept up on the maintenance, flushing the coolant, mending the brakes etc. Overall it sounds like it has been well cared for.
The engine too is claimed to be in good shape. That’s a 1,290-cc SOHC four from the 128, and it shares a 4-speed manual with the family hauler too. There’s a few boogers in the paint here and there, as documented by the seller in a very comprehensive Photobucket spread. None of those are deal killers, but all should be checked for encroaching road rot. Lastly, the car comes with a car cover for when you want to do secret squirrel stuff in it.
I guess actually the last bit would be the price, which in this case is $6,500. Those dollars buy you Bertone styling and build, mid-engine handling - these cars are pretty amazing - and a targa roof. But is that enough? What do you say about this classic Fiat and that $6,500 price? Is that a sweet deal? Or, is that price as appealing as a junior high gym class wedgie?
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