Tag Archives: Sodano

Replica Prototipo – Bertone X1/9

After acquiring Lancia in 1969 the FIAT group found it’s self with two marques competing for honours in the Rally competition, Lancia with the Fulvia that was to be replaced by the Ferrari powered Bertone designed Lancia Stratos HF in 1973 and Fiat with the Pininfarina styled 124 Spider that would be replaced in 1975 by the Abarth 131.

Just as those competition models were being changed Abarth also built the Abarth X1/9 Prototipo for evaluation in competition.

Bertone X1/9, Silverstone, Classic,

The X1/9 was designed to exceed the latest US crash test standards so the chassis was immensely strong however it was also a little too heavy for the initial standard FIAT 128 based single overhead cam 1300 cc / 79 cui engine that produced 75hp.

Abarth elected to replace it initially with a 200hp 1,834 cc / 111 cui twin over head cam engine 16 valve lifted from the competition 124 spider and later examples with a 1,756 cc / 107 cui version of the same engine.

Bertone X1/9, Silverstone, Classic,

So far as I have been able to discern the Abarth X1/9 Prototipo’s only offically appeared on two events in 1974 the first was the Tour d’France where three cars were entered of which the #122 shared by Fulvio Bacchelli, Piero Sodano and Sergio Barbasio was the only finisher in 8th place.

A month later Fulvio partnered by Piero Scabini was teamed up with Ferrari Formula One driver Clay Regazzoni and Gino Macaluso for an attack on the Giro Automobilistico d’Italia from which both cars retired with engine failure.

Bertone X1/9, Silverstone, Classic,

In all it is believed that alongside the original 1973 Prototipo four further examples were built 3 of which were used in competition in 1974 and the fourth is believed to have been built as a Stradale road car.

The Abarth X1/9 programme gave way to the Abarth 131 programme which secured FIAT three World Rally Championship titles in 1977, ’78 and ’80.

Bertone X1/9, Silverstone, Classic,

The Replica Prototipo seen in these photographs at Silverstone Classic, was built on a 1988 FIAT X1/9 manufactured by and marketed as a Bertone X1/9, but imported as a FIAT, with a 1500 cc / 91.5 cui single overhead cam 8 valve engine.

Thanks for joining me on this “Replica Prototipo” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Fantastic Futurist – Lancia Stratos Stradale

In 1970 Bertone built a futuristic concept car called the Lancia Stratos Zero, the car was so low the windscreen also acted as ‘the’ door !

The following year Bertone showed the Lancia Stratos Prototype at the 1971 Turin Show, this car was a little more practical with two side doors and a mid mounted tranverse mounted V6 as per the Ferrari Dino from which it was sourced.

Lancia Stratos Stradale, Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham

In all 492 of the road going Lancia Stratos Stradales like the 1974 example seen here at last years Classic Motor Show at the NEC in Birmingham were built between 1972 and 1974 when production of the V6 Dino GT also ceased.

HF competition versions of the Stradale proved particularly versatile in 1974 Gérard Larrousse and Amilcare Ballestrieri drove a Stratos to victory on the Targa Florio.

The Stratos is probably best remembered as a superb rally car, Sandro Munari and Mario Mannucci won the 1974 San Remo Rally on the Sratos World Rally Championship debut. By 1981, 4 years after the Stratos programe had been closed down by FIAT; Jean-Claude Andruet, Björn Waldegård, Bernard Darniche, Markku Alén, Tony Carello and Antonio “Tony” Fassina had all also helped contribute to a total of 18 World Rally Championship wins credited to the Stratos which included 3 consecutive wins for Munari on the Monte Carlo Rally, ’75 – ’77, and five victories each on the San Marino and Tour de Course Rallies.

Franz Wurz became 1976 European Rally Cross champion in a Stratos and sold his car, later fitted with a 3 liter / 183 cui motor V6 to Andy Bentza who won GT Rally Cross Championship in 1978.

In 1973 Sandro Munari and Mario Manucci won the mixed discipline Tour D’France, the following year Jean-Claude Andruet and “Biche” won the similar Giro di Italia with a similar bodied turbocharged example.

The final competition evolution of the Stratos was a turbocharged Group 5 long tail silhouette racer of the type that Carlo Facetti and P. Sodano drove to victory on the 1976 Giro di Italia.

Thanks for joining me on this “Fantastic Futurist” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow for a look at a couple of Lotus Indy Cars. Don’t forget to come back now !