A Century of Cars: 23. Solido 1972 Fiat X1/9 Sports
With a transverse engine and gearbox in
a mid-mounted, rear-wheel drive configuration, the X1/9 was noted
for its balanced handling, retractable headlights,
lightweight-removable hardtop, front and rear-storage compartments —
and for being designed from its conception to meet the late 1960s
U.S. safety regulations.
The X1/9 started life in 1969 as a show concept car called the Autobianchi A112 Runabout, with styling by Bertone under chief designer Marcello Gandini. It was designed around the all-new 128 SOHC engine and gearbox (transmission) from the front wheel drive Fiat 128, but used these parts in a radical way, moving the entire transverse drive train and suspension assembly from the front of the 128 to the rear of the Autobianchi Runabout, giving a mid-engined layout.