Conceived by Carrozzeria Bertone and introduced in 1972, the FIAT X1/9 was the world's first really successful mass-produced mid-engined sports car. Of unitary construction, the X1/9 boasted all-round independent suspension by McPherson struts and disc brakes on all four wheels, and could be converted to open 'spider' configuration by removing the detachable roof panel, which was stowed in the front luggage compartment. Mounted transversely, the 1.3-litre engine was sourced from the FIAT 128 Rally and transmitted its 75bhp via an integral four-speed transmission. The X1/9's superb chassis obviously deserved greater power, which materialised in 1978 with the 2nd Series that used the Ritmo Strada's 1,498cc engine and five-speed gearbox. Now with 85bhp available, the X1/9 could top 110mph and reach 60mph in under 11 seconds. The X1/9 was developed by FIAT as a rally car, in which role it was fitted with an Abarth 2.0-litre 16-valve engine, but corporate policy favoured Lancia and so this promising project never got beyond the prototype stage.
The right-hand drive example offered here was purchased by the current vendor at Bonhams' Harrogate sale in November 2008 (Lot 606). It has been kept in museum storage since acquisition and will require re-commissioning before returning to the road. Finished in yellow with tidy black interior, the car is presented in generally fair-to-good order and comes with a good history file. Representing a wonderful opportunity to acquire a well-preserved example of this iconic modern FIAT, 'E900 EPN' is offered with expired MoT (June 2009) and Swansea V5 registration document.