This Retrofuturistic Bertone Design Is the Mini Supercar of Your Dreams

An underrated sports car that was ahead of its time.

By the 1970s, wedges were the future. The pointier, the better. The movement for angular and low car design was championed by Italian design houses like Pininfarina, ItalDesign and Bertone, and seen in high-end, mid-engined exotics from brands like Ferrari, Lamborghini and Lotus to name a few; rarely was this low-slung style seen on accessibly-priced rides. The Fiat X1/9 is an exception.

The X1/9 debuted in 1972 as a replacement for the aging Fiat 850, and was designed by Bertone’s Marcello Gandini, whose body of work extends to other wedgy pieces of art like the Lancia Stratos and Lamborghini Countach. The engine — a fairly puny 1.3-liter inline-four at launch — sat in the middle, and the car featured a Targa top which satisfied both open-top sensibilities and impending regulations regarding rollover protections back in the early ’70s. Most importantly, the clean, angular bodywork looked like it was plucked from the set of a ’70s Sci-Fi flick like Logan’s Run. Same goes for the name: X1/9. More car names should have slashes and X’s in them.

I digress. So ahead of its time was the styling that it persisted mostly unchanged well into the ’80s. In fact, while Fiat stopped importing cars into the United States in 1982, the car was still sold here until 1987, badged as a Bertone. And that’s what we have here: a clean Bertone-badged example from the very last year it was sold with approximately 27,000 miles on the clock. While the seller notes a few dings on the hood, the bodywork appears to be clean, with same being said for the interior. Shots of the undercarriage seem to indicate no real rust issues, admittedly a problem on many Italian cars of this vintage. The engine equipped is the later fuel-injected 1.5-liter engine, which produced just 75 horsepower.

Of course, that’s not very much, but in a small, light and nimble package it can still be a lot of fun in a drive-it-like-you-stole-it kind of way. The X1/9 is decidedly not the kind of thing you’d want to drive on a daily basis but as a smile-inducing weekend driver that’s sure to induce smiles and acknowledging nods from passersby, you could hardly do better for the price. This being a particularly well-kept example it will likely sell for more than the average — somewhere below $10,000 — but its a rare opportunity to own a pristine example of an exceedingly rare and quirky piece of Italian design.

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