At $12,500, Could This 'Restored' 1974 Fiat X1/9 Restore Your Faith In Fun?

Nice Price or No Dice 1974 Fiat X1/9
Photo: Craigslist

The seller of today’s Nice Price or No Dice X1/9 calls it “restored FUN.” Let’s see if the price has similar restorative properties.

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Yesterday’s 1986 Volkswagen GLI proved to be a pretty perplexing candidate. Its adoption of VW’s 16-valve engine, along with a number of other tasteful mods (including real Recaro seats) made its $4,200 asking price within the realm of possibilities for many of you. Others felt that the mods, the car’s age, and its unknown history made that price too much of a risk. In the end, the naysayers were outvoted, as the car took home a decisive 55 percent Nice Price win.

A lot of people say that hot hatches — and by extension their small sedan siblings such as yesterday’s GLI — were the cars that killed the small, inexpensive sports car. That’s the general consensus, and while there is a lot to like about practical sporty boxes, there’s even more to like about purpose-built sports cars, even those with only modest performance potential.

Illustration for article titled At $12,500, Could This 'Restored' 1974 Fiat X1/9 Restore Your Faith In Fun?
Photo: Craigslist

It wasn’t potential, or lack thereof, that killed off the Fiat X1/9. It was Fiat’s inability to screw them together in the first place, or to keep them from turning into piles of iron oxide within just a few years of an owner taking possession. Hell, despite these issues, the X1/9 was such a neat little car that it outlasted its maker in the U.S. by nearly a decade, continuing under the Bertone brand name.

And why would it not? Here was a mid-engine Italian sports car with an all-weather removable roof, go-kart-like handling, and styling by the guy who penned the Lamborghini Countach. And all this could have been had for little more than the price of an econobox. Oh sure, the 1290cc SOHC four that gave the early X1/9 its grunt could only muster a mere 66 horsepower, but it handled so well that even modest speeds could feel exhilarating.

Illustration for article titled At $12,500, Could This 'Restored' 1974 Fiat X1/9 Restore Your Faith In Fun?
Photo: Craigslist
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These days it’s getting ever harder to find decent X1/9s on the used car market. The cars did tend to both break and rust, and were cheap enough that many owners tended not to keep them up as they should.

That makes this 1974 Fiat X1/9 an interesting find. This was the first year of sales here in the States and the car wears the simple nerf-style bumpers that were offered that year only. It also wears period-correct blue and gold California vanity plates that read “1974 X19.” That’s quite the coup, right there.

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Illustration for article titled At $12,500, Could This 'Restored' 1974 Fiat X1/9 Restore Your Faith In Fun?
Photo: Craigslist

According to the ad, the car received a restoration a few years back. Now it’s described as follows:

mechanical good, interior 90% - paint good with some small areas of rust coming back.

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These cars always rust. Everywhere, every time, even in drought-suffering California. Hopefully the road rot isn’t too crazy here. The Gandini-penned design looks smart in its medium-blue paint job. That’s been accessorized by aftermarket alloys, a luggage rack on the boot lid, and added-on rub strips down each side.

Illustration for article titled At $12,500, Could This 'Restored' 1974 Fiat X1/9 Restore Your Faith In Fun?
Photo: Craigslist
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Inside, cream-colored vinyl seats sit in the otherwise black interior. Everything is manually operated in the car so at least the electrics shouldn’t be too big a problem here. The steering wheel is an aftermarket unit that wears Ferrari’s Prancing Horse at its center, a cheeky homage.

Atop the cabin sits a targa-style fiberglass roof and when not in use, that may be stored on special pegs in the front boot (froot). The ad notes new tires and timing belt, and claims that a stash of extra parts, including the original steelies, comes with the car. The title is clear and the car carries just 72,555 miles on the odometer. What do you think a car such as this should cost?

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Illustration for article titled At $12,500, Could This 'Restored' 1974 Fiat X1/9 Restore Your Faith In Fun?
Photo: Craigslist

To help you out with that conundrum, I’ll let you know that the seller has set an asking price of $12,500. That should get you started. Do you think that its older restoration could make this handsome Fiat worth that handsome sum? Or, would you rather spend that cash on an equally fun hot hatch?

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You decide!

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Orange County, California, Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to FauxShizzle for the hookup!

Help me out with NPOND. Hit me up at rob@jalopnik.com and send me a fixed-price tip. Remember to include your Kinja handle.

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.

DISCUSSION

2ndgear
2ndgear

I have not been driving cars for as long as some probably have - only since 1997, so what twenty-four years or so - but I have to say I have NEVER seen an X1/9 driving on the road. Not once. I remember trying to find one as I’ve owned plenty of Fieros and just wanted another quirky cheap quirky rear-engined car, but could NEVER find one that was actually running. They were either sitting up, had been sitting up, missing half the drive train, a step away from salvage, etc.

For all of that alone, I’ll have to put NP, as I’m convinced there is not another X1/9 out there as clean.