The Fiat-Bertone X1/9 was designed at Bertone, one of
Italy's finest design houses, the birthplace of such cars as the
Lamborghini Countach, Miura and the Lancia Stratos. It was first
launched in Italy in 1972, however it was not until 1977 that we saw
the arrival of the right hand drive version here in the UK. The
X1/9's mid-engined design was influenced by racing cars of the day,
and it soon became the biggest selling mid-engined production car,
which ultimately reached some 170,000 world wide.
X1/9's attracted the attention of the motoring
press and were frequently described as a "baby Ferrari". In 1981,
the X1/9 was voted by the American "Road and Track" magazine as "one
of the best ten cars for the eighties", despite the fact that the
car had already been on sale for nine years.
The only major change in the X1/9's seventeen year
production history, was in 1978 when Fiat introduced the 1498cc
engine and five speed gearbox from the Strada / Ritmo. This replaced
the existing 1290cc / four speed mechanics that had been used
exclusively up until this time. The X1/9 was available in various
special trim versions during its production run, which included the
1300 Lido, the 1500 VS and the Gran Finale.