1987 Fiat X1/9 Bertone


• Recent comprehensive restoration completed in 2020
• Rebuilt engine and gearbox
• Chassis fully stripped, acid-dipped and repainted 
• Every common X1/9 problem has been rectified

The Background

The Fiat X1/9 was designed by Marcello Gandini of famed design house Bertone in 1969, eventually making production in 1972 as a replacement for the Fiat 850 Spider.

Engineered to be a fun and accessible sportscar, the X1/9 is the only mid-engined rear-wheel drive vehicle ever to be produced by the Italian marque.

Later models, such as this one, featured an 85bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine and a five-speed gearbox, as well as improved electrical systems and exterior enhancements.

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The History

First registered in London in 1987, this lovingly restored example of the Fiat X1/9 was exported to the Isle of Man in 1990, returning to mainland Britain in 2001. Since then, it has passed through the hands of three Northern England-based owners to the current custodian in 2013.

Bought as a project for him and his son, the owner has recently completed a 7-year restoration process including rebuilding the engine and gearbox as well as acid-stripping the chassis before rustproofing and fully repainting the entire car. The project was fully completed in January 2020 and it has covered around 250 miles since, with the owner wishing to reclaim the garage space as a reluctant reason for sale.

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The Paperwork

Receipts for some of the most significant new parts and work carried out during the restoration process is available for the new owner, including a £2,260 invoice for the full chassis acid dip treatment.

Included in the sale is a full X1/9 workshop manual, sourced from the United States, perfect for enthusiast owners who enjoy tinkering with cars themselves. There’s also an X1/9 Haynes manual (for earlier models) and a tatty but original vehicle handbook. 

The V5 log book in the owner’s name is also present, and various receipts for items such as the new carburettor, rear suspension struts, hubs and other items complete the file.

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The Interior

The fabulously presented interior is mostly original to the car, with the exception of the seats which have been professionally upholstered to match the style of the originals. The dashboard has no cracks or sun damage and the door cards are all in very good condition, as is the centre console, handbrake, switchgear and dials. The heater works as it should and the inside gets nice and warm.

The entire interior carpet was also replaced during the project, and looks brand-new. Out of personal preference, the owner has not fitted a stereo, preferring instead to insert a leather cover where it would normally sit. However, all of the speakers and wires remain in the car, and should the new owner wish to fit a head unit, it would not be a big task.

All of the glass is in perfect condition (with the windscreen having been replaced) and the electric windows work as they should thanks to cleaned and regreased regulators.

The only potential downsides of the inside are a gear knob that has been changed to a non-original item and some general wear to the steering wheel, as shown in the pictures.

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The Exterior

During the restoration, the monocoque chassis was completely stripped back through heat and acid-dipping treatment before being epoxy coated in order to fully rustproof it. Dinitrol products were injected into all of the nooks and crannies to protect this car for many years to come.

After being returned to the owner, he carried out the painting process himself after taking over a year to sand down and prepare the chassis and panels. Epoxy primer was applied by hand as well as a base coat and a coat of stone chip, and it was finally finished in a sumptuous shade of Midnight Blue using MIPA 2K 2 pack paint for a tough and durable finish. 

New door rubbers have been fitted, while the exterior plastic and rubber trim has cleaned up very nicely. Together with the new coat of gorgeous blue paint, the car looks rather younger than its 34 years.

The owner notes that the paint job is not 100% perfect with some areas that could benefit from an additional cut and buff by a professional paint specialist. There are a couple of tiny dents on the passenger side of the bonnet that barely show up in the photographs, as well as a couple of scratches where the passenger door is catching on the door shuts (pictured).

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The Mechanics

As far as the owner is concerned, there are no mechanical issues with this car at all, owing to the amount of work that went into the restoration.

For example, the engine had a rebuild in 2016 with new bearings, piston rings and seals fitted and has only covered around 250 miles since. Items such as the timing belt, timing belt tensioner, exhaust manifold, water pump and alternator were also replaced.

The head was sent away to be professionally cleaned and renewed, with valves, valve springs and gaskets replaced. Now the engine bay itself presents in absolutely spotless condition and a proper heatshield has been fitted to correctly protect the cargo area.

As the automatic choke is known to fail on X1/9s of this era, it has been replaced with a manual choke (located between the seats) and an uprated carburettor that makes starting and idling significantly more reliable.

Because Italian electrical systems are known to be problematic, all of the wiring for this X1/9 has been replaced, with a modern electronic ignition system also installed.

Driving this X1/9 can be described as a complete joy simply because of the number of parts that have been replaced or renewed. The owner has managed to unlock the true potential of what is a fabulous little chassis by fitting new gas suspension struts and uprated springs that mean the car sits 35mm lower.

The lively 1.5-litre engine idles beautifully and pulls extremely well when accelerating, and the rebuilt gearbox (complete with new clutch, master cylinder and slave cylinder) operates smoothly with no untoward noises. A new brake master cylinder has been fitted along with an upgraded brake fluid reservoir. New brake lines, calipers, discs and pads all round mean it stops as well as it goes, too.

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The Appeal

This is a fantastic low mileage example of the desirable and rare late-model Fiat X1/9 that has been totally restored to a very high standard.

The fact that it runs and drives as good as it looks is testament to the years of painstaking love and attention afforded to this tremendous car by the current owner.

With so many new mechanical parts fitted and the car fully rustproofed and repainted, this is a magnificent opportunity to purchase a mechanically and cosmetically sorted classic with all of the potential pitfalls of X1/9 ownership already taken care of. 

Notice to bidders

Although every care is taken to ensure this listing is as factual and transparent as possible, all details within the listing are subject to the information provided to us by the seller. Car & Classic does not take responsibility for any information missing from the listing. Please ensure you are satisfied with the vehicle description and all information provided before placing a bid.

As is normal for most auctions, this vehicle is sold as seen, and therefore the Sale of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. All bids are legally binding once placed. Any winning bidder who withdraws from a sale, is subject to our bidders fee charge. Please see our FAQs and T&C's for further information. Viewings of vehicles are encouraged, but entirely at the seller's discretion.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1987
  • Make Fiat
  • Model X 1/9 Bertone
  • Colour Blue
  • Odometer 54,131 Miles
  • Engine size 1500
  • Town Long Eaton
  • Location Nottinghamshire
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
30 bids
  • fl•••• £6,600 19/12/21
  • Ti•••• £6,500 19/12/21
  • Ti•••• £6,400 19/12/21
  • fl•••• £6,300 19/12/21
  • Ti•••• £6,200 19/12/21
  • fl•••• £6,100 19/12/21
  • Ti•••• £6,000 19/12/21
  • Ji•••• £5,500 19/12/21
  • fl•••• £5,353 19/12/21
  • so•••• £5,250 19/12/21

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