If you're going to make a really small city car, you've really got only two options to style it: unashamedly utilitarian or out-and-out clamshit crazy. It's pretty easy to see which way Fiat went with their 1972 X1/23 concept, and, personally, I think it works.

The X1/23 started out as a non-running styling exercise shown at the 1972 Turin Motor Show. It seems to have made enough of an impression that by 1976 Fiat had a working electric prototype of the car. It had a front-mounted 13.5 HP motor driving the front wheels and a battery pack — of somewhat unusual for the time nickel-zinc batteries — mounted at the rear.

The little alien-gumdrop-shaped Fiat could allegedly go about 45 MPH and 50 miles/charge, but the fundamental technology wasn't really ready yet, so the strange little X1/23 remained a funny-looking little footnote.


There's lots of interesting details on the car — the triangular marker light on the A pillar, the round door handle, and the novel little wheels. This is a weird looking car, no doubt, but it's a clever one as well. It's was a risk, and ultimately a failure, but its the kind of risk that I'd love to see more of in my favorite segment of the tiny shitbox.