The JDM Restomod Of An Italian Classic

The Tokyo Auto Salon throws so much at you. It’s both a visual and aural sensation; you’re bombarded with sights and sounds as you make way through the halls, and at times it’s quite tough to keep focused. There is so much to see that it’s easy to dismiss something prematurely, simply because you’ve already seen 35 tuned versions of the same car in four different halls. But if there was one car that wasn’t at all this like, it’s the restomodded Fiat X1/9 I found in the Enkei booth.

In all my years of attending TAS, I’d never come across one of these Bertone-designed, mid-engined specials at the show. The X1/9 is a car that I’ve always had a soft spot for; it was a superb idea – a compact two-seater with a normal production engine (from the 128 coupé) fitted behind the cockpit for an MR layout, with most of its performance and fun coming from the chassis’ lack of weight.

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But what makes this particular car special is that up until a few months ago it was nothing more than a bare, rusted-out shell.

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It was put through a ground-up restoration, which if the progress pictures on the display boards behind it are anything to go by, also involved a huge amount of custom fabrication. While being resurrected, the front and rear wheel arches were flared outwards and now accommodate a set of vintage-inspired Enkei92 wheels from Enkei’s Classic line. Through the spokes you catch a glimpse of the Endless brake calipers, which although look small, actually pack some serious stopping performance.

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Another detail that visually sets this X1/9 apart from others is the exterior plastic trim – including the engine cover, spoiler and front side intakes – which has all gone from black to being refinished in the same pearl white paint as the body panels.

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Only the little side grille on the B-pillar has been kept original, proudly displaying its Bertone badge.

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Up front, the Abarth scorpion replaces the Fiat emblem in a nod to race versions of the X1/9 that competed in the ’70s and ’80s.

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To complete what is an outstanding build, the interior has been trimmed in red leather and sports a pair of vintage-styled Bride seats, giving it all a true touch of class with a JDM twist.

I like this car so much I might just have to hunt it down and feature it properly. Is anyone else with me on this?

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino
dino@speedhunters.com

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50 comments

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1

Looks like a more stylish version of a 944 =)

2

FIENDSPEC you're right: this Fiat has pop-up headlamps too! ;)

3

FIENDSPEC
Or a first gen Toyota MR2..

4

Yes, clearly Fiat copied the first gen MR2....Oh wait, hang on..........

5

Yes Dino! Please hunt this down and do a proper feature on what is undeniably a very slick build...

6

yes please! I want to see Japanese take on Italian cars.

7

Oh wow never knew these even existed. Must have feature because there is much much more to reveal. Don't let us down Dino!

8

Back in '90, I had a TR7 and my close friend had a X1/9 both w/your typical aftermarket modifications.  We lived in a small town in central Texas and nobody was familiar with these cars.  We took quite a bit of money racing glass pack trucks and those incredibly slow v8 cars of the time.  Ladies loved the wedges, too. haha

9

Awesome little Fiat! Wouldn't mind getting my hands on one. Yes, please feature it and any others you might find.

10

I've always liked these, I scouted one out at a local car garage sitting out back getting mouldy and always wonder to myself what I could do with it. But since I cant weld I'm unsure that a classic fiat is for me if you know what I mean.

11

FIENDSPEC you mean 914, right?

12

yep, would love a feature. With some outside shots I can nab as wallpaper :)

13

Si dino, why do you have to ask when all our eyes go, "AWOOOGA!"

14

bluestreaksti its quite unusual to see. I was fortunate enough to have seen one live, in my humble (automotively speaking) corner of Kuala Lumpur

15

Very beautiful example! Absolutely love it!

Mesh wheels is the definitely perfect choice.
I noticed that looking at the front view had some feel of a Lancia Stratos!
No doubt, this is the best looking Fiat X1/9 I've ever seen.

16

I'm just not into that white engine cover. Everything else is basically perfect.

17

YES PLEASE DINO!! all your features are amazing and i really honestly cant wait to see you do one on a beautiful x1/9. i have one myself but i need some good inspiration. i read all your features mate and really you need to show an X some car feature loovvee

19

Yes, full feature please! Awesome car.

20

Great car, I own one. A full feature on this would be awesome. Would love to see what they were able to do with the engine.

21

Yes, full feature would be great.

22

Thank you for showing something truly original.

23

Yes please.

24

Holy what a masterpiece !
Now that's how you put on a wide body flare kit.... No screws showing

25
jbfromsiliconvalley

...just needs a 3sgte swap to be full circle

26

Finally. Ive seen this car at the show and was wondering what car make is it. As I was speeding up to check all the cars at tas which was very tiring if you do it on 1 day, did not have enough time to check the build pictures. Thanks for posting this Dino.

27

Was hoping they had stuffed a K motor in there or something, but I love seeing something different.. Please do a feature!

28

Not many left of those, wonder what engine it has.

29

@Mike I literally have never heard/read anyone seriously make that claim.  I can't even understand why it would even merit a respon... oh wait you're just making a sarcastic dig at MR2s.  This means war.

30

Perhaps if they had a crystal ball. The prototype X1/9s were roaming the streets of Turin in 1973.

31

A few thousand left in the US. Not sure of overseas numbers. Stock engine is a 1.5 l SOHC in late models. The Abarth X1/9 from 1974/1975 had a 1800 cc DOHC 16V.

32

Only if you promise to drive it and report back on what that's like ;)

33

There's one of these for sale around the corner from my work... I had thought it would be interesting to have, but now I need it.

34

Such a good-looking little sportster.

Getting a rare sight nowadays with so many of them succumbing to the dreaded tin-worm.

35

Thanks. I was asking about the engine in this particular one. U0001f60f

36

CRM1875 U0001f44dU0001f3fc

37

I saw one with a turbo h22 ages ago. Never saw it again however.

38

I much prefer the exterior of the posted one however....

39

Yes

40

Hell yeah Dino - hunt it down! This is damn cool!!!!!

41

Full feature needed !

42

This is how you overfender a show car!
Not pop rivets poking out everywhere making it look like the gimp from pulp fiction, but actually molded.
Extremely rare to see these anymore in Scandinavia, they are all rusted into oblivion because of our love with salting our roads.
..Oh yeah, thats right. Italian cars don't rust - it just develops crusts of soul!

43

Full feature Dino, down to the last detail, and with some great photos. I need to have it as a desktop please!

44

Full feature please!

45

i'm just totally dumbfounded by this beauty, built almost exactly the same as my car, and at the same time as well... I have no idea that there would be someone that would do the car exactly the same as how i did my car, but only better...probably have a larger budget and better workers to do such immaculate beauty...this car is astoundingly beautiful....here's pictures of my car...just rebuilt 1 month ago...spent 6 months restoring as well...

46

Drove my x19 to work today! Good to see some x love on speedhunters. This has nothing on the graverson x19 though. Google that beast

47

Please, please, please do a full feature!

48
Gianluca FairladyZ

Bellissima..! i remember the old HKS Japan website.. At the company introduction page there was an old black and white photo. They were standing in front of some shop cars and one of the was the X 1/9!   My dream car is a combination of japanese and italian engineering! this would kick ass!

49

Yes!

50

any pictures of this x interior?

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