Words & photos - Daniel Bevis
This boisterous X1/9 is a corking tribute to an also-ran of the 1970s rally scene. The nature of prototypes, of course, is that they’re experimental, transitory things, not built for the ages but simply to test the water for various ideas and processes – and as such, it’s hard to say exactly how many Abarth X1/9 Prototipo rally cars were built by the celebrated tuner on the jazzy little Fiat platform. The common assumption is that it was around five(ish, maybe), so it’s probably high time that someone took it upon themselves to build another one.
The prototypes ran 1840cc twin-cams with twin 44IDF Webers, offering over 200bhp in a package that weighed just 750kg. Each had a special nose with Fiat 126 lights replacing the pop-ups and, most fun of all, a sodding great periscope at the back. It's a beguiling whisper of Abarth ephemera, and you can read more of the model's history here.
Oh, and this one bears a striking resemblance to another that I wrote a feature on in Retro Cars a few months ago...
Spotted at the Retro Show - more photos here.