Fiat’s X1/9 was always a lightweight,nimble, driver’s car that appealed to the enthusiast who wanted something a little offbeat. Mid-engined and pared to the bone, the X1/9 had a lot going for it. Maybe a bit underpowered, sure, but there are always ways to find a bump in grunt—a bike motor in this case. Though downsized, the 1,000cc motor from the Yamaha R1 pumps out a smoothly-delivered, scintillating 175-odd horsepower, which is more than enough to get the featherweight up to speed.
Once it’s moving along at a decent pace, it’s the eye-catching bodywork that keeps the Fiat on rails. While big teams piss through fortunes to develop an aerodynamic package that will stick the car to the asphalt without causing a lot of drag, but not Albano Fabbri. With modest means, the clever man developed his own form of F1-inspired DRS to allow the car to be quick in a straight line and a monster when the brakes are applied.
For those who’ve glazed over after reading the last paragraph, notice how the rear wing is constantly moving to provide a mixture of slipperiness on the straights and downforce in the braking zones and corners. When Fabbri applies the brakes, the rear wing’s horizontal plane pivots forward to snatch up the airflow and press the Fiat’s rear into the pavement.
Whoever thinks they’ll have to take a second mortgage to develop their car’s aero package should take a look at this ungainly little Fiat. It might not be the most elegant machine to grace the racetrack, but it’s remarkably quick and shows where a little creativity with sheetmetal can take a dedicated amateur.