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The Fiat X1/9 was a benchmark car, the world's first mass-production mid-engined sports car. Designed by Bertone, and built firstly by Fiat, then by Bertone, the role of the X1/9 was to replace the Fiat 850 Spider.

By 1969, Bertone convinced Fiat that a mid-engined car could be produced to fulfil the role of the Fiat 128 Spider. For the 1969 Turin Motor Show, Bertone produced the Runabout based on Autobianchi A112 mechanicals.

From these origins, over the next two to three years, the X1/9 we know was developed. Proposed draconian crash laws (50 mph head-on and 80 mph rollover) to be brought in by the USA caused heavy crash protection to be designed into the X1/9, indeed the X1/9 passed these tests that were never brought in. Thus the X1/9 was designed with a body and separate crash-bearing members to withstand such enormous impacts, but with the penalty that the two-seater X1/9 weighed 65kg more than the four-seater 128 Sport Coupe.

Last Updated 3rd March 1998

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