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1989 Fiat Bertone X1/9

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The Project

This 1989 Fiat Bertone X1/9 came into our Carrosserie workshop in June 2024 for Waxoyl rustproofing to underside of the car.

12th June 2024: There was a quick turnaround on this job, as the underside surface corrosion was removed on the morning and then Waxoyl applied by the afternoon. The car was collected by the owner on the same day.

Only true supercars and racing cars sported the engine between the driver and the rear axle, and the rest of us could only dream about such a layout.

And then along came the Fiat X1/9. Not that the Fiat cheapened the mid-engined design, but it did bring it within the reach of the masses. 

The X1/9 also opened the way for things like the Toyota MR2 (yes, a mid-engined Toyota). But here’s the difference now: While the MR2 is certainly admired by some sections of the car-buying community, the Fiat X1/9 is actually still seen as the real deal. By the time it reached its final Bertone incarnation, it was a bona fide performance car and actually drove circles around the MR2.

The engine for the X1/9 was a 1290cc four-cylinder unit with aluminium cylinder head and sump. It delivered 75bhp, which was enough to see the car from rest to 60mph in 12.7 seconds and on to 106mph thanks to the car’s aerodynamic shape. A four-speed manual gearbox was the only transmission option, and all X1/9s came with a removable targa roof panel to turn it from coupé to convertible in just a few seconds. The roof stashes neatly across the front boot space, and there’s another decent boot behind the engine bay.

For the first four years of its production life, the X1/9 was only offered in left-hand drive spec, which was not a problem for Fiat as most sales of its new mid-engined sports car were in the US. For a while, Britain’s Radbourne Racing converted cars from left-hand drive to right but this became redundant in 1976, when Fiat started building right-hand drive models. None of the converted cars are thought to still exist.

By 1979, Fiat acquiesced to demand for more power for the X1/9, replacing the 1.3-litre engine with a 1498cc engine from the Strada hatch. With 85bhp, it offered a useful 10bhp increase in power and saw the 0-60mph time drop to 10.4 seconds while upping top speed to 112mph. Three years after this, Fiat stopped making the X1/9 itself, but Bertone took over production and swapped the Fiat badges for its own. The Italian coachbuilder also introduced the VS model with two-tone paint, alloy wheels, electric windows, and leather seats.

The X1/9 carried on in this way up to 1989, when the curtain came down on this bold small sports car with the Gran Finale edition. This last hurrah for the X1/9 came with metallic blue or burgundy paint, and capped the car’s 17-year life span.

1989 Fiat Bertone X1-9 | Classic Car Restoration | Carrosserie
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I cant recommend Carrosserie highly enough, the service was exemplary from start to finish and the workmanship is second to none. I highly recommend giving the team a call for any work you need doing to your classic car, no matter what it is, you will not be disappointed!
Dr Tim Moss
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Thank you to all at Carroserie who have provided absolute commitment, professional expertise, the ultimate in personal service and 'tender loving care' for my 84-year-old car.

I cannot recommend Carroserie highly enough.
Nigel Cramp
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Great friendly and helpful team at Carrosserie. Highly quality work. This is the second time I've used their services.

Highly recommended if you want quality restoration or paint work.
Phil Sage
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The work carried out here is like magic, the standard the cars leave is fantastic, the cars they restore are works of art!

12th June 2024

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