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Bertone X1/9 – Great Jones and Broadway, NYC

December 16th, 2009 by Stu

Bertone X1/9We don’t pass by too many cars with a Bertone badge on the hood. While Turin’s legendary design house has skinned its fair share of production and concept cars over the last century, it was usually because they were contracted to do so by another automaker. But Fiat relinquished control of these capable little mid engine sports cars in 1982 after they decided to exit the US market – all manufacturing duties subsequently shifted to Bertone from that point forward. They even hired Malcolm Bricklin, the Yugo man himself, to distribute the X1/9 in America. However dated it may look now, the X1/9 is handsome little car in a Pontiac Fiero meets Porsche 914 sort of way. Too bad there are no affordable little mid engine sports cars like this now. That is until VW brings their hot BlueSport to market.

Thanks for the great images Dave!!

Bertone X1/9

Bertone X1/9

Bertone X1/9

Bertone X1/9

Bertone X1/9

Bertone X1/9


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10 responses so far ↓

  • nice write-up, stu. i was commenting to the photographer how horrid the chain-link license plate frames are…

  • thanks Drew-yes it is quite horrid – makes you wonder what made the owner put it on an otherwise immaculate car (or close to it)

  • Didn’t Fiat produce this car??

  • I guess Tom didn’t read the post. I would not have given this car a second look. But after learning a bit about its history I def become interested. Stick or Automatic? Is it a fast car? Light?

    • Stick or Automatic?


      Is it a fast car?

      depends on how you measure speed (my personal take: in a straight line, probably not very fast by modern standards).


      depends on what your baseline of a light car is (my take: less than the weight of a miata = pretty light).

      • pretty slow by modern standards – horsepower was prob somewhere near 100 – but it was fairly light and handled well because of the mid engine placement –

        the car was sold as a Fiat for several years (until 82) – then they backed out of the US market and bertone took over manufacturing completely – but even while fiat’s name was still on it, Bertone was still making the monocoque.

  • Ahhh yes, the Fiat/Bertone (designed by Bertone, built by Fiat, ignored by Ferrari) X1/9 A.K.A “Baby Ferrari”

    My X1/9 was a 1981, no AC, same wheels as the one pictured above fun car…. I miss that car. I’d love to buy another one and do a drive train swap. Maybe a an engine/trans from a Mini Cooper, FWD engine combos of all kinds have been slipped into these cars improving performance and maintaining MPG. Plus the chance to ditch the stock transmission would be a bonus. I blew a bearing on my car and had to order a new one from Ferrari of Italy (couldn’t get the part in the US, oddly I would have thought we would have had enough of a 308 part stock here in the US), these cars share parts with the 308. But alas my Triumph is my current project…..

  • I’m sorry but that car ain’t handsome. Who cares if it can go fast in a straight line…It should go back to the drawing board pretty fast.

  • […] brings us more joy than running into obscure mid engined Italian sports cars from the 70s like this Lancia Scorpion (known in Europe as a Montecarlo). Sure, it’s not […]

  • […] is not our first dance with the X1/9. Fiat relinquished control of these mid engine sports cars in 1982 after they […]