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.
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.
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.
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.
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 !