Weekend Edition – See if you can resist this lovely brown 1981 Fiat X1/9…

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It’s Sunday, and it looks like I will continue to highlight some of the Facebook sightings I seem to be doing in my spare time. Did you know that there is not only the Brown Car Appreciation Society, but a Yellow Car Appreciation Society, a Blue Car Appreciation Society, a Red Car Appreciation Group, and of course, the ORNCH Car Cult. I really hate Facebook because of all the time it kills, but that is the burden I must bear…

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This was buried within the Brown Car Appreciation Society, with it listed inside the “For Sale and Wanted Forum Group”. I have to tell you that while I appreciate the Fiat X1/9, I would never own one because a past acquaintance owned one, and what a pile it was. But, that is another story for another time… Let’s look at this one, just in the nick of time because Bertone just declared bankruptcy, and according to the forum listing:

This is not the normal level of car that we advertise, but is a true survivor with a lot of inherent value that we’d like to see land in the hands of an accomplished, or first-time FIAT enthusiast. While the color and cosmetic condition of this car has a lot to be desired, it is a solid, functioning daily driver that has a lot going for it inside and out. The body problems are cosmetic, not structural. The motor, transaxle, suspension and interior are where this car shines, at 80-95 points per item even with its high miles.

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This car is worthy of the cosmetic body work required for saving. As these cars get harder to find, we’ve seen enthusiasts world-wide successfully restore non-running, non-driving Fiat X1/9s whose starting condition we, as a company, would identify as “salvage only”. While the part-out value is likely twice our asking price for the entire car, I can’t bear to disassemble a vehicle that functions so well.

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This particular X19 would be a good “starter X” for someone wanting to learn about the cars, or a daily driver that you won’t worry about errant shopping carts or salty roads. To the right enthusiast, this car is worthy of additional investment, such as new paint and body work / flares to become a prime driver or custom toy, or buy it to transfer all of the mechanicals, electricals and trims to a pristine body.

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It has a 1500cc fuel injected engine, 5-Spd trans and alloy wheels. It even includes a good condition front grille, air dam and brake reservoir! Complete factory air conditioning is intact, although does not work. This is important, as retrofitting AC to a non-AC X19 is a very challenging task. Motor runs great, starts at the first turn of the key, even in subzero temps, with no knocks or smoke out of the tail pipe.

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– New clutch master and slave cylinder, with excellent feel.
– 5-speed transmission shifts perfectly up and down with no synchronizer or reverse problems.
– Bearings are quiet and it does not whine or hum in any of the 5 gears.
– Hubs and wheel bearings are quiet at freeway speeds.
– Fresh brake pads at all four corners, car stops well.
– Steering and tracking are nice and straight at freeway speeds, with no slop or shimmy in the steering wheel.
– KYB struts in front, stock struts in rear.
– Hub-centric 4×98 Alloy wheels with 165/70-13 tires.

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Electricals are stock and “uncut”. Headlights, turn signals, tail lights all work correctly. Heater blower fan is in-op, although heater core itself is in good shape and works correctly. Cooling system holds pressure and runs at 190-195 at freeway speeds even though the fins on the radiator are a bit rusty. Dual fans cycle as needed and keep the car at 200 when idling.

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The interior is in remarkably good shape, a testament to this car being stored inside most of its life. It has an uncracked and blemish-free dashboard, with excellent condition door cards. Passenger seat is in good shape, the driver’s seat has some tears in the seat bottom. Carpet is decent.

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Structurally, it is solid. The windshield frame is clean, with minor surface rust in spots. It has an original factory windshield that is clean without chips, cracks or lamination problems. The rear drains near the engine cover are solid, and rear shock towers good. The front vertical shock tower areas have some minor rust peeking through. This car has cosmetic rust issues in the fender arches, is missing both rear trunk pockets, and has deep rust on the leading edges of the doors. Decklid and hood are in great shape with no underseam rust. Nose is good with no collision damage. Front fenders appear solid. It will need new floorpans, but they are not open to the ground.

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Asking price for Forum Members is $3,500, and the seller states that if it doesn’t sell, it’s off to eBay. So, what do you think? Is this Brown Italian Stallion ready to call you it’s next caretaker, or should you run for the hills? See the forum listing here, and let me know what you think…

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